Going blind into an album is a liberating experience; with preconceived notions, it’s easier to take a raw listen at the actual material — without politics and BS. I had such an experience just this week with an artist name Donny DoomsDay. Everything about this guy is intriguing post-three listens. His latest LP, the hefty 17-song slice of hip-hop that is Reality Raps is loaded with positivism, a good amount of relatability, BARS, and unabashed nods to his Christianity.
To top it all off, he delivers a healthy tribute to the screwed up sound Texas is synonymous with.
What was most intriguing about the album was the layers I uncovered during my three top to bottom spins. Upon the first pass, I was taken in by the production. The project begins with “Moonlight,” which has an eerie/jazzy sound; “who’s the dealer and who’s the fiend,” he asks rhetorically. Elsewhere, I found myself running back “Fifth Wheel Motion,” his (sonic) salute to the style Texas became famous for, where you can almost imagine his dense wordplay getting a “chopped not slopped” treatment.
“Texas Made,” which walks you through life in the section was another one that got a few run backs, with it’s slick, atmospheric record pops.
Upon the second pass, I got deeper into his wordplay. He’s a Christian rapper, as I’ve come to know upon more research, but he doesn’t at all shove it down your throat; instead, he makes positive music. Not rainbows and shit, just … positive. Let me break that down.
“Graveyardz” follows him as he comes home from a literal graveyard shift at a plant, only to look at the face of his sleeping with and realizing his grinding is all worth it. “Selfish” is another example, where he raps about how he — despite circumstances — manages to stay out of jail, chases degrees rather than selling drug; he even raps about paying taxes on the second verse.
Keep in mind, the production on this LP is amazing, so he has these trap tinged, dark, southern tracks made for rolling around to in a candy painted Cadillac at midnight, but it is at points, (lyrically) swimming against the grain like a hip-hop salmon.
Then there are these really powerful records in the mix, like “Nothing To Something,” where he addresses the sameness of emcees in the game: “concepts are the same … the producers are the real artists, I’m a say it.” Another clear standout for me was “Villainy,” where he discusses the illusionary nature of the “things” that hip-hop culture consider important. This particular song is two-fold, also looking at the way he perceives himself as being viewed, despite being anything but a basic “rap guy.”
“You can run the trap; I’ll run to the bank with a business plan.”
“Many Blessings” was probably the song with the most overt show of his faith, though he does instill it into bars throughout the album, and you can’t overlook “Been Praying,” either.. Tracks like “Coach Store” and “Give It and Go” do throw you off the trail though, without really listening to the bars, a light listen of this LP lets a lot of amazingness go over your head.
There is a ton to love and unpack on Reality Raps, but it’s worth getting lost in for a day — or two.