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As a Dump Gawd, Your Old Droog has steadily built up one of the most interesting and consistent discogs in the New York underground. From his 3 album run in 2019, to the fully realized Dump YOD: Krutoy and conceptual Time, to a series of collabs with Tha God Fahim, Droog commands the mic with constant punchlines, references, and stories of the come up. Nicholas Craven, meanwhile, is one of the most sought after and immaculate producers in the scene; Having big time credits with the likes of Ransom, Mach-Hommy, Eto, Westside Gunn, and Tha God Fahim, as well as his new solo comp Craven N 3, he drops such lush and beautiful beats straight from the crate. Ergo, linking with Droog has been an inevitability and the result is a short, flawless listen.
YOD Wave opens with “Fela Kruti”, which sees Droog dropping a flurry of clever bars (“You bound to have lapse in judgement if your mind racing”) which build up his unique persona over a warm, nostalgic sounding beat. Craven seems to want to prove that he can actually make songs with beats; It may be subtle, but there is a different overall sound on this project than his past work. “Fela Kruti” works well as an intro track since Droog tackles a lot of different subjects in vague terms, giving a taste of what’s to come. The next track is “Scooby Snacks”, which features Mach-Hommy crooning over an old timey soul sample.
My childhood was like a computer with no mouse, never had the right cliques
Never scared to break em off like Twix
One round, son down, the fight’s fixed
Now he playing the bitch like the Wayans in White Chicks
I told him get the fuck up, I ain’t done, pussy
“.500” stands out as one of Droog’s best songs ever given how personal it is; Craven laces him with a lowkey string sample which sounds like a dark, lonely walk through the city. Droog goes back to his days as a starving artist (a la “Please Listen to My Jew Tape”), grinding for the money and the love, and how he maintains that hunger in the game today. It’s apparent in the quality and frequency of his work that there’s more for him to accomplish, but not necessarily anything to prove. Another memorable track is the projects single, “Purple Rain Freestyle”. Droog gets back to straight shit talk and punchlines over a retro pop sounding beat, with a clever tribute to Prince on the refrain.
“Black n Red Huaraches” has what might be the best beat on YOD Wave, going through multiple progressions and with lots of layers. It also features a solid verse from Tha God Fahim, who has such great chemistry with Droog as their verses bleed into each other. As nice as Fahim is, it almost would’ve been nicer to just have more Droog on such a short project though. The next song “Lost Love” is back to the dark, thoughtful tones and is a great storytelling take on a relationship gone sour. The vocal loop from Craven is chilling, cleverly chopped, and fits the theme perfectly. Finally there’s “Body Right, Mind Right”, which has such a clean beat from Craven; A simple piano loop and the light drums he’s beginning to master make for an introspective soundscape that Droog and Fahim float over. It’s a perfect closer, speaking on fulfillment at all levels of our being.
Overall, YOD Wave feels like a victory lap for both Droog and Craven. Proven as some of the most prolific and consistent in the scene today, it was a pleasure to finally hear them link for a full length. Whatever’s next for both of them will be mandatory listening.