Continuing to prove large streaming numbers don’t actually mean shit, Duzzo Dave dropped a mid-size classic in 2015 with “The Pretty Boy Dave EP.” The seven-track mountain drive of an album is constantly understated — Dave’s too-cool-for-school attitude often comes at the expense of properly appreciating and announcing his talent. It’s a project that could’ve dropped as a mixtape on DatPiff five or seven years ago that would’ve garnered thousands of downloads.
“Radar” is the first track and serves as a table-setter for Dave who takes the time to sing to a hopeful lover, “You on my radar / I spent my whole life looking for u” A boom-bap beat with soaring strings provides a heartfelt backbone for Dave’s endearing singing.
With “Yep, You Wallin,” Dave makes a full introduction, talking about his upbringing in Connecticut. “We ain’t have no rep / We ain’t have no set / We ain’t have nobody that thought that we was the shit / But now we on, we on.” After years of not being able to rep himself, Duzzo Dave is putting his life into his music, and he is ready and excited to show himself off to the world.
With “Wyf?????,” Dave flips on the flirtatious switch, spitting game “To all the fine girls tryna do they thing in the club / And they don’t wanna conversation with them lames in the club.” Dave appears to be in a similar lane as much of Isaiah Rashad’s music on this one. He doesn’t jump off the page with aggressive flows or loud vocals, but rather his technical talent and storytelling carry this track. And it helps that Dave’s the type of rapper with a smile that beams through the microphone, making it easy to hear exactly where he’s coming from.
Now, no modern rap album would be complete without establishing itself as diametrically opposed to Plato’s “white is right” preachings. The fourth track on “Pretty Boy Dave” is titled “Black Girls” and serves as an ode to his love for black women in spite of his Spanish friends telling him that’s not how it’s supposed to be. It only improves his presence on the track to be willing to completely shift the focus away from himself, and he does exactly this when he sends unlimited love to black women.
Dave takes a left turn on the next track, bringing the listener to an anti-social space that closes with “That’s why I’m tryna get away / Get away, get away-ay.” The song, “No Friends,” paints a fuller idea of Dave when he’s not out flexing at the club or whatever. It’s great to hear this perspective because it adds credibility to his more upbeat tracks. Somewhere, everyone has these kinds of feelings, and it’s impressively vulnerable of Dave to represent this sentiment so directly.
“Manners” displays Dave right back in his rapping bag. He gets right into his flow and wastes little time getting into some philosophical quandaries. He tells a story about feeling like Nietzsche: too stuck in his head, making him reconsider how he sees people, wondering if his impulses are valid or not.
“55 Cedar Street Part II” contains Dave’s best verse on the album. It’s another low-key delivery, but the lyrics tell another story. The second verse sees Dave taunting the ones that hesitate to be friendly with him, how that shows bad intention, and he probably won’t fuck with them. The song comes to a close with a repetition of “fuck bitches, get money, that’s my testimony.” It’s such a dumbing-down of his talent and lyrical prowess but could be a statement about how people are remembered. It’s like you can only be memorable if you’re repeating the “fuck bitches, get money” motif over and over again.
“The Pretty Boy Dave EP” was released five years ago this June, but don’t let that keep you from adding it to your freshest playlists. Over consistently strong production from Nahhg, Duzzo Dave portrays an uncompromising and full reflection of self, all while maintaining impressive vocal talent.