As I always say beforehand with these reviews, listening to music is subjective. Just because I like something, doesn’t mean that you will and just because I don’t like something, doesn’t mean you won’t like it. Now onto the review.
So, my editor passed me along this project to review and gave a glowing recommendation of Alexander Dreamer and tells me that I should be satisfied with this project. Generally, my man has good musical tastes so I come into this project with high hopes and a bit of expectation. Let’s see if my first listen to Alexander Dreamer goes as well as my editor thinks it should.
First track up? “Hold My Head,” which is the intro. Now, I love a good intro. To me, it sets the tone of the entire project; it’s the project’s first impression. My mom (along with 4038348 other people) always says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The intro is a pretty spaced out beat with some strong horns mixed in to give the song that extra oomph. The person handling the hook does a good job of setting the scene as well. Between the beat and the hook, it’s like Alexander is coming to the plate with the bases loaded and all he needs to do is hit the ball and good things will happen. Unfortunately, his lyrical content and delivery strikes out for me on this first song. The beat is designed to allow his bars to take the lead and the words never grasp me or move me in any way. The intro is forgettable in my opinion, the workmanlike flow he presents just doesn’t grab my attention. By no means is it a terrible track, it just isn’t memorable either.
The next song is “Kill For” featuring Jax, in which Alexander is reminding himself of the good things in his own life and how other people would be willing to do the most to get what he already has. The autotuned hook and second verse is pretty standard fare, again not good but not terrible. The instrumental isn’t as good as the first and doesn’t grab my attention. However, Alexander comes with an impassioned first verse with lyrics such as “I got things people would kill for / If it’s mine then it’s still yours / I just went and got my own shit / So I wouldn’t have to steal yours.” At 2:30 the song comes and goes quickly, which is a shame because I actually liked this song better than the intro.
Up next, we have “Timeless” a stream of consciousness freestyle over a beat that reminds me somewhat of Kanye’s “30 Hours.” Nothing too special here, and that seems to be the theme going forth after 3/5th of this EP. Then we have “Math” another meh song UNTIL Bruce Slaughter absolutely kills his guest spot. Low key, might have gave my man Alexander the “Renegade” treatment with lines such as, “A warrior positioned the stature of a poet / Screaming peace and love with voices no one noticed” and his verses build a crescendo throughout into his passionate ending and him stealing the show on this EP. The outro, “Risk It All,” is more of the same stream of consciousness, freestyling over a sparse drum designed to allow the bars to shine. Although the context of this song is admirable – same can be said about the entire album – the delivery and execution falls well short.
You ever listen to a project rooting for yourself to like it? You’re replaying it over and over again trying to see if something grows on you and it never does? That last time I experienced that feeling was with J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only and it’s an annoying feeling. I got this same feeling listening to this EP. I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t find myself to give it more than a barely passable rating.