Album Review: DJ Drama's "Quality Street Music"
There are few claims that artists make that actually hold weight in today's musical climate. Most artists claim to be the best out, but don't have the track record or the drive to back it, while others claim to spend normal allotments of show money on new drapes (no diss though; Jay-Z is actually about that life). Honestly speaking, there are several artists relevant right now because of their creative exaggerations... But DJ Drama is not one of them.
Being one of the few people who has figured out an efficient way to combine quantity and quality, Drama has been on a tear the last couple years especially, pumping out great mixtape after great mixtape. With the title of his project being Quality Street Music, on the surface it would be a big name to live up to; if you're familiar with Drama; however, you'd know that all it would require is for him to continue doing what he's been doing the last few years.
Choosing to speak through the music instead of atrocious ad-libs that grate on listeners nerves (no shots to any other DJ out right now), Drama at times puts together mixtures of artists that make sense, such as throwing Ludacris, T.I., Future, and Young Jeezy on one track to make it an Atlanta affair ("We In This B*tch"), remixing it and adding Drake ("We In This B*tch 1.5"), or making a Pop-like anthem and featuring Wiz Khalifa, Planet VI, and B.o.B. ("Pledge of Allegiance"), or even adding Cee-Lo to the mix with Jadakiss, Nipsey Hussle and Jeezy for "Never Die." It stays away from the formulaic label while still remaining logical.
At the same time, Drama also experiments with unorthodox combinations and pulls them off with the same amount of skill. The surprise of this group of songs is easily "I'ma Hater", the Waka Flocka and Tyler, The Creator collaboration that just reeks of pleasant ratchetness that makes you wonder why the hadn't linked up before. Taking another chance, "Same Ol' Story" features an unlikely assembly: Kid Ink, ScHoolboy Q, Cory Gunz, and Childish Gambino, but - like the other songs - it just works somehow.
Even though there are more highlights than not, the album still has a couple songs that seem more like filler than anything. “So Many Girls” flips a familiar sample, but Roscoe Dash, Wale, and Tyga fail to add something special to the track (coincidentally, Wale has rapped on this sample before on “Mama Told Me”, the second track from his debut LP, Attention Deficit). In addition, “Real N*ggas In The Building” has an old-school Southern bounce to it, but Travis Porter and Kirko Bangz sound uninspired as they tackle the song. And "My Audemars" is just not that great of a song to begin with. Thankfully, there’s a Kevin HartChocolate Droppa skit in the midst of it all that’s sure to entertain even the most stoic listener.
It’s refreshing to see that DJ Drama doesn't take the braggadocious route for this LP and lets the music speak for itself. Although it may not be the “best” compilation album to drop this year, it is indeed the most well-rounded, as Drama refuses to make the same song twice (with the exception of "My Audemars"). It's an album that isn't formulaic as others, while including some great musical highlights that's sure to garner replays, either now or down the road. Even with the few misfires present on the tracklisting, it’s still Quality Street Music, and that's undeniable.
AllHipHop Rating: 7.5 / 10