For a moment, or rather from this day forth, let your mind forget about this man's association with the OFWGKTA camp or whatever "beef" that may have ensued. None of that is pertinent at all; to either partys' music, to hip-hop and most importantly, yourself. brandUn DeShays' debut album can't be measured by the kind of pithy quid pro quo you would find on the album of a bitter artist. He has no reason to be bitter. Nor is it some magnanimous, self-abasing metaphorical white flag. He has no reason to apologize. Simply put, he's back and it's like he never left, but really, did he ever leave? The answer to that is a resounding "No!"
It has been a year and a half since DeShay dropped his anomalous Volume: Three! To Get Ready mixtape. With the exception of a few, in fact a very few, notable production credits in the last year not a lot has been heard from the up and comer. Leaving listeners to wonder if he had something brewing in his own musical cauldron, or if he was lost in a cave somewhere buggin' out with Smeagle. Thank God it was the former.
All Day DeShay AM couldn't have a more fitting title. While many listeners may think to hear something new within the content of his lyrics after such a hiatus, he really doesn't offer much more than he did on his last mix tape, but this isn't a bad thing. Make no mistake, his flow and wordplay have certainly grown and, as always, the production is superb. Swagger is definitely an element of DeShay's music, but what separates him from that lexicon of braggadocios emcees is his humility. For that characteristic alone this body of work is, for lack of a better phrase, "a breath of fresh air".
From start to finish, the central theme and message throughout screams perseverance. On the intro track "Shay loves to ball", brandUn wraps up his verse by saying, "New Collab, but this is far from a game, you can't win, you can't lose , you can only remain. I give thanks to all the cat's like Hov that's still in it, giving me a harder record to break, I'm gone win it." Here, not only has he acknowledged that his goals are still a work in progress, but he also pays homage to those that set a new standard for hip-hop and thanks them for giving him something more to work towards.
DeShay recruits the talents of fellow Chicago native Rockie Fresh on the track "They Notice", a mellow, jazzed out head nodder.
A recurring theme in DeShay's work are the interlude's. A reflection of his own apprehensions, these segues serve as interesting and refreshing food for thought. On "Now! OVA", DeShay cites the renown author Shel Silverstein on his poem "If The World Was Crazy". All Day Deshay AM surely isn't a concept album, but the breaks within each body of work help to add to a building idea overall, giving listeners something familiar to look towards next time.
The following track, "Ur Fresh!", hits like a ballad-rap from hip-hop's golden age. Although his space-age influenced sound design bleeds through on every track, it is safe to say that the man knows his history. To make an analogy, DeShay is the Plato to Pharrells' Socrates. As he has proven time and time again with songs like Dom Kennedys' "Locals Only" and Sir Michael Rocks' "Ground Up", boom bap is a term not foreign to his vocabulary or musical ability. Add a beat like that with witty lyrics and a flow with a solid cadence, and you've got yourself a jam.
"Canopy", another banger on the album designed to keep your head bobbing reiterates DeShay's everyday struggle to change his life for the better; something we can all relate to. He begins, "I had to ask God why do he be testing me daily, coming home to a zoo like it was Barnum and Bailey's. Work is bullshit too, these fuckers driving me crazy. Askin' me for the same shit, don't they know what my aim is? I am more than this retail. At the point of no return like I ain't lookin' for resale."
What this album makes clear is DeShay's understanding that achieving any dream takes patience, persistance and a little talent. Albeit, DeShay hasn't quite reached his peak, All Day DeShay AM affirms that hes moving into that position, but more importantly, he's enjoying the ride on the way there. One could argue that brandUn is one of, if not, the most influential up and coming producer to bless the hip-hop world producing hits that have helped bring rise to artists like Curren$y, Dom Kennedy, Sir Michael Rocks, Danny Brown and L.A. emcee Casey Veggies. This just demonstrates that he is far more than a producer. Not bad for a guy that took a year and a half off.
*Check out the back cover album art and tracklist after the jump*