You may remember Dreezy as one of the few reasons that Common’s Nobody’s Smiling was worth listening to, along with other newcomers who deserve more of my time like Vince Staples and Lil Herb. She’s a young Chicago emcee whose defecation on the Chiraq beat earned her a place in the national hip-hop conversation. By that I mean, some blog (whose name has yet to turn up in my mind’s lost-and-found) referenced her as a good up-and-coming female emcee, later she appeared on Sway in the Morning, then Common’s album came along with her feature, and now she’s been tapped to rhyme during one of the upcoming BET ciphers. But I’m no front-runner! I’d already downloaded Schizo off the strength of that blog and the Chiraq verse it cited.
So that was sometime in May or June, yet this review is just now happening. Part of that is due to scheduling and laziness, but mostly I was trying to give Schizo a chance to grow on me. I expected this to happen much faster because, after Chiraq, which you should have played at least 3 times by now, I just knew that Dreezy was going to be my new rap hero. Then I watched the Sway interview, heard that Dreezy used to write poetry, and found out just how young this girl is (19 while writing Schizo). Worry began:
I wonder what her poetry was about? She’s young as hell, it was most likely love. What were my thoughts on love at her age? …Oh god, this tape might be horrendous. But she did Chiraq! But she can’t possibly do Chiraq repeatedly for a whole release. At least part of this tape is probably horrendous.
Now, horrendous may be too strong of a term, but there’s definitely a lot to not like on Schizo. A good two thirds of it is in fact about love, and I did in fact get bored with that portion extremely quickly. There’s a lot of sung hooks by Dreezy, which are very not great but not bad, except when autotune makes them nauseating. The topics are all fine, if very familiar, but something else is glaringly missing from the lyrics. They’re basic descriptions of feelings and situations, without the nuance and lyricism that are needed to add relatability and interest to this type of song. Adding more sub-surface detail would probably go a long way towards breathing life into these tired subjects, as would addressing these topics in story form instead of description. There needs to be more work put into the lyrics to make these songs palatable. And the beats on these songs are extremely sugary. Basically, there’s nothing for me like there.
When Dreezy falls into bragging on songs like Zero and Ain’t For None, things get way better but still failed to truly grab me, because I was looking for Chiraq-quality verses. Not once on Schizo does Dreezy destroy a beat with skills comparable to that song, so these are major disappointments too.
You might now be asking if anything on Schizo is worth the time to listen. I’d answer yes but the list is really short. The Realist is more about general relationships than love and the drum loop punches in a way that counteracts some of her usual sappiness. Better is Dreamer Pt 2, another topical song but without the relationship drama. Dreezy tells the story of her rise and explains what her current and desired positions within hip-hop are over an airy, wispy beat. But the best song is All the Time, which has a mainstream club beat and Dreezy coming the closest to matching the beautifully disrespectful lyricism of Afghanistanacago.
Verdict: I’m perfectly willing to admit that Schizo may just not be for me. As Dreezy is a woman and a good amount younger than me, it wouldn’t be surprising if our tastes just don’t converge often. So maybe this isn’t really a bad mixtape? But since this is my review, this is what I want from Dreezy: more lyricism on the love songs, more stories to make the love songs personal, and the beats on these songs need a much stronger hip-hop foundation. And she needs to demolish every boasting song, because Chiraq is the bar she’s set for herself. As for her overall direction, I’m not against Dreezy continuing the love theme while also doing songs with bragging, but she has a lot of work to do in finding a style of love song that works for her. Off the strength of Chiraq, I’ll be listening to her next few releases in hopes that she eventually gets all this right.
1. The Realist
2. All the Time
3. Dreamer Pt. 2