EP Review-Royalty The Prequel by The Dream
Amidst all the great little R&B mixtapes that have dropped into the universe this year you won’t hear a lot about Royalty. Not for lack of interesting music, by the way, more for the emotional neediness. This is a project so very off-putting that the hits Dream can just churn out in minutes and march into the world like the grand marshall of a parade are soaked in remorse. A song like Duet which should hum with sexual energy and bravado instead feels like its mojo’s been stolen and now it just exists naked and pawing.
I’m not sure how people “like” their Dream cause I’ve always found him off-putting. The persona he created for his music was ½ R. Kelly ½ Prince and that tastes like Hummus flavored ice cream to me. Royalty clears all that crap off the table: the sunglasses inside the building, the leather jackets that look like Members Only jackets. This collection is what’s left of an insanely talented writer/performer who has suffered immense and humiliating heartbreak now he’s not letting you leave until he explains it to you.
A song like Culture could have taken the shape of simple lifestyle brag but by the end he’s begging the woman in his life to experience so much more of the worlds wonders with him. None of these songs feel like they rolled off him into a snug radio friendly hook and planned music video. Outkast is not just a bizarre but fitting homage to the group but a really well crafted overly sincere rambling pick up line. Wedding Bells sounds festive but is loaded down with baggage “My sister like hell nah she ain’t right. She ain’t your type. We ain’t right for each other…F_ It! It’s nothing. If I was perfect I’m sure it’d still be something.”
The centerpiece of Royalty is the agonizing heartbreak of Cold. The Dream takes Mobb Deep Shook Ones beat and lets his relationship tribulations all hang out. We go from the wedding we all know wont work out to its ugly conclusion(over the course of the tape) and regardless of how jarring the expedition is it’s a complete passage. By the end of Cold you won’t have any questions as to how he got where he is. Dream has so much oozing talent that as purposely grating as the subject matter can be the songs still flutter and bounce at just the right times. This weird little free EP might be my favorite piece of music he’s ever put out. It has moments that feel like the tragic middle chunk of a one man show. You stare at the narrators face as tragedy sets in and watch as that person bites down and starts to recover.
Stream or download Royalty The Prequel below: