DJ Drama is too legit to quit. In a day in age where the DJs struggle to stay relevant and the art-form has been diluted, Drama refuses to stop making records. His first two albums were named after the Gangsta Grillz series that has made his name, but his third installment is appropriately titled, Third Power. In his own words, the project is his “biggest and best yet.” Well, with 12 tracks, the first part of that statement is already untrue…
As a fan, you go into an album expecting a certain sound from artists – which can be a good and bad thing. When the first track “Oh My” begins to play, there is no surprise for the listener. And that’s a bad thing. Typical production matched with uninspired lyrics is a running theme, and unfortunately, it’s evident from the first song. “Aint No Way Around it” (aptly titled) and “Me and My Money” featuring Future and Gucci Mane, respectively, are both monotonous and sonically below average. The same goes to “Self Made” with Red Café and Yo Gotti. There are so many moments on the LP that drastically kill any momentum it begins to gain.
It sounds like DJ Drama spent an entire album searching for a ‘street anthem,’ instead of letting such just simply happen. For those who look hard enough, there are a few hidden gems on the record: Freddie Gibbs on “Rough”, Pusha T on “Everything That Glitters”, J. Cole on “Undercover” and all three artists (Young Chris, Meek Mill, Freeway) on “Lay Low” perform well. But this is about it. You glaze over everything else. All the songs follow the same braggadocio motif that beings to get tiresome after track 3. And, every song has the same production setup, with those quick-strike snares and synthesizer heavy instrumentals. It’s boring.
While the production is the main issue, so are most of the artists in the seemingly stellar lineup on Third Power. Simply put, few really brought it. There are no standout verses, standout beats, or standouts songs, and that makes for a very uneventful album. It’s hard to tell what happened; it sounds as if DJ Drama threw 12 okay mixtape tracks together and called it an album. And maybe this is the problem. There is no cohesion here; there is no groove, no emotion, no hunger, no message. You get it. It’s not a great album. Is this what we expected out of DJ Drama? Perhaps…however, even his Da Art of Storytelling Pt. 4 held its own on at least a few tracks. Apparently, the third time (or power) isn’t the charm.