Dsmith – XIII: Far From Here
Released: 17 September 2018
(Intro) Far From Here / Next Time: 2.75/5
Daylight Freestyle: 3.5/5
Make it Back: 3.25/5
I Can’t Explain It (ft J-Louis): 3.5/5
(Interlude) No Pressure: 4/5
Watch Yourself: 3.25/5 (for some reason I get Jay Rock vibes here)
Jealous: 3.25/5 (amazing feature)
Save Yourself: 3.5/5
Twilight Freestyle: 3.75/5
Bigger Picture: 4/5 (dope feature by Ra$tra)
(Outro) Angels: 3.5/5
TOTAL: 3.39/5 Good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout
XIII: Far From Here begins with an upbeat, pop-like vibe on the intro “Far From Here / Next Time“. The production features some spacey synths along with an upbeat EDM-esque section. It’s not a bad song, but I much prefer Dsmith over the J-Louis/Soulection type production heard later in the album. The spacey keys continue on track #2, “Daylight Freestyle” where Dsmith delivers some non-sequitur bars in a lyrical exercise fashion.
“Make it Back” continues the Hip-Pop feel – trap drums and a hook derivative of Hip-Hop’s money obsession. In verse 1, Dsmith delivers a flow reminiscent of Drake‘s “Let a real nigga get number 1/….Schoolin ya ass like 1-on-1/” flow on “Pop Style“. Dsmith spits: “Took a chance but I run it up/ I cannot be with no runner-up/ Yeah yeah think I done enough/ But ima hit you with another one….Flex on em like on 1-on-1”. He also delivers a rare One on One sitcom reference (I haven’t heard one since Danny Brown salivated over a young Kyla Pratt on “Adderall Admiral“) and the feature slides into the track sounding like one of the Migos.
“Snakes in the grass – I JUST BOUGHT A JOHN DEERE” – Dsmith on “Save Yourself“
“Thx4Nxthin” is one of the album’s lowest points, featuring Wiz Khalifa and Lil Uzi Vert-esque crooning, resulting in grating vocals. It’s not until track #5 – where the album slows down in both production and energy – that Dsmith’s music begins to truly sound palatable. It begins with “Skylines“, which is followed by what sounds like a string of J-Louis produced songs. “Blame” sounds like a J-Louis cut fresh from the TRAPSOUL sessions. J-Louis’ drums and bass are unmistakeable and always provides a signature touch on the track, rather he’s working with Dsmith, Bryson Tiller, Zacari or other Soulection kin.
★★★Dsmith has a lot of energy. On the 1st half of XIII: Far From Here, he exudes this energy over pop-like production using aggressive and fast flows. But on the 2nd half, he releases this energy in the form of stories from anger and vindication, such as on “Blame“. The production on the 2nd half of XIII: Far From Here is also vastly superior to the 1st half.
Most of my favorite moments on XIII: Far From Here are on the 2nd half of the album; especially on “Twilight Freestyle”, where Dsmith spits an ill sequence of bars, reciting: “Straight to the point, like pencil meets paper/ That paper turns coins/ Them coins turns dough/ That dough makes bread/ Then bread’s gotta break/ To keep my niggas out the joint“. It’s a shame that XIII: Far From Here starts the way it does, because it’s not at all indicative of all that Dsmith has to offer on the mic.
★★★★★: Best in show; pinnacle release from an all-time great artist.
★★★★1/2: Stellar example of genre; peak potential.
★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre.
★★★1/2: Very good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout.
★★★: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.
★★1/2: Average; does little to establish the artist or maintain quality.
★★: Unexceptional; a few highlights but otherwise bland.
★1/2: Weak; unrecommended for anyone but major fans of the style and/or artist.
★: Seriously flawed; very poor work but relatively listenable.
1/2: Terrible; a true embarrassment and akin to audio masochism.