Hip-hop is an ever-changing genre. With each passing month comes a select group of new artists beaming with potential, ready to take their place on rap’s mainstage. Many disappear just as quickly as they arrived on the same. One name that has been grinding successfully and releasing impressive projects for a couple of years is Damu 5avage. His projects, “In The Name Of Trap” and “Highway Hypnosis”, released in 2020, followed by last year’s “Rick 5avage” put him firmly on the map. Now he jumps right back in 2022, with a brand new 14-track album, entitled “Time Bending”.
Damu 5avage’s successes are the product of preparation and growth, allowing him to drop this latest album ripe with bangers to please the old heads and new generation alike. The versatility of his expressive voice and cadence, explosive delivery and witty humor make Damu 5avage an easy pick as one to watch closely. His immediately identifiable voice, distinct knack for catchy rhymes and an ability to swap flows on a dime back his bid to be one of the year’s best underground rappers.
As the first track, “Boondocks Freestyle”, kicks off the album, you get the impression that Damu 5avage has already matured in leaps and bounds since his previous project, and shows no signs of his growth slowing any time soon.
“Lean On Me” confirms that impression, as he rides the bass booming beat, while switching his vocals from a quick rhyme to a melodic soar. He ascends on the euphoric R&B infected “Drowning”, with an inscrutable attention to detail which nails all of his intentions.
The flashes of genre and stylistic transcendence, are carefully considered and engineered all throughout this album. Damu 5avage’s ability to construct them to inspire a sense of spontaneity is one of his most powerful gifts. He slides through “Skeezers” ft. EOD Juug & Brighten B and “Air It Out” ft. EOD Juug & Kountry Baby with effortless ease, demonstrating his leading-man appeal among sensational features who know their craft, and deliver the goods.
Moving forward, through “Mona Lisa”, “Dear Lord” and “Ole Face” ft. EOD Juice, Damu 5avage manages to deliver emotionally charged bars while still maintaining a ominous cadence and a melodic flow that will surprise a lot of listeners. There can be no doubt that the artist’s hard work and promise are paying off. Damu 5avage quick-witted, versatile flow and bravado promises more anthems up ahead, as every emphatically delivered bar is worth playing back again.
Next up comes the triple threat, “Right Now”, “Overview” ft. 10x Baby and “Icky Vicky”. Here Damu 5avage forges slices of rhyming wizardry and auras of ear-catching vibes, which blend beautiful with the groove-driven production work.
What makes Damu 5avage sound on this project distinguishable from his other projects is simply his vocal ability. He sounds like a much more confident and polished rapper. He shows his capability to apply unique vocal inflections that you do not see as often throughout other projects by his contemporaries.
The final three tracks, “Diana Ross” ft. EOD Bizzle, “Taking Risk” ft. D.Foster and “Better Purpose”, again shows how Damu 5avage is able to grab attention and hold it, a skill he proves again and again throughout this album.
His voice is his greatest asset, powerful enough to deliver sonorous hooks against cinematic soundscapes, yet delicate enough to bob and weave around simple instrumentation. “Time Bending” is an excellently put together record, between its overall superb soundscape, exciting features, and formidable performances from Damu 5avage himself.