It takes blackbear more than three minutes of runtime before he includes a beat on his new album digital druglord. Once he does, he doesn’t stop, delivering 10 extremely well-produced songs on his third full-length solo album.
For an artist who has already had a busy beginning to 2017, blackbear, born Matthew Musto, isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Released Friday, digital druglord marks the third project from Musto in the first four months of the year, the other two being his solo EP Salt and Mansionz, the self-titled debut album from Musto and Mike Posner’s hip-hop duo.
The rapper follows his trend of creating angsty trap ballads (see “Idfc”), and while the content of the music might not be for everyone — one of the songs is titled “hell is where i dreamt of u and woke up alone” — the level of care and attention that is given to the production on digital druglord is noticeable and makes the album worth listening to.
On the track “do re mi,” each individual component of the song can be heard separately and all at once, a testament to the skill that went into mixing and mastering the song.
Musto also shows off his vocal abilities on digital druglord. The first track, the aforementioned “hell is where i dreamt of u and woke up alone,” is primarily vocals and noticeably lacking a beat.
The album also includes the pop radio-ready “make daddy proud,” complete with a catchy bridge of “how do you cope with it/ how do you sleep with yourself at night,” a question he seems to be directing both at himself and the listener.
The album has a forgettable feature from Juicy J on “juicy sweatsuits” and a verse from 24hrs on “moodz” that fits in well with the song and the album.
Another standout is “chateau,” which was made to be played in the club. The song has some of the strongest production on the album, mixing a crisp beat with reverberating vocals to create a track with a completely different vibe than the rest of the album.
While the album is an enjoyable listen, blackbear fails to find a cohesive style; he plays with a lot of different sounds on digital druglord, including EDM, electronic indie and R&B.
In a lot of ways, the diversity of sounds works — the vocals could function both over a folk or electronic beat. While its sometimes borderline-dark content might be a turnoff, digital druglord is a beautifully produced project that is worth a listen.