Philadelphia rapper Devon B has a lot to say in his debut album ‘Fresh-Man Year’. The short and sweet ten-track album is the perfect way to introduce Devon B as an aspiring young artist who is just trying to make his way through life’s struggles. He accomplishes to paint a wonderful picture of his background and aspirations throughout this album in different ways.
The first track, titled ‘It’s Just An Intro’ is a fast-paced first track that shows Devon just warming himself up for what’s to come. We are introduced to his snappy flow layered on top of bold instrumental. If anything, this track is enough to grab anyone’s attention on the album’s first play. The next two tracks labeled ‘A Child’s Hood 3: Top Prospects’ and ‘A Child’s Hood’ are perfect pieces to contextualize Devon’s background. He talks about his upbringing and motivations in life. He can craft a vivid atmosphere through imaginative and clever wordplay and verses oriented around story-telling. These are the most introspective tracks of Fresh-Man Year’s first half.
The next two tracks are distinct in their soulful and spiritual undertones. We are introduced to Sashea butter smooth vocals over a heartfelt piano instrumental. Both Devon and Sashea have wonderful chemistry throughout the track. Devon leads us into his headspace throughout the track and sprinkles some profound experiences in his lyrics. The fifth track, ‘Fresh-Man Year: March Madness’, is where I encountered my first hiccup. Although it is minor in the greater picture, I had a mixed reaction towards Devon’s heavily modified singing. The chorus in itself was quite catchy, and the rapping made up for the distorted singing. The content was very refreshing in terms of being a spiritual experience. All in all, the fourth and fifth tracks are all about putting faith in God, and the grander scheme of things.
The sixth and seventh track is the peak of this album for me. ‘Top Prospects 2’ has a tonal shift in terms of the beat and lyricism. In my first listen, I did enjoy how things took a turn at this point in the album. The atmosphere Devon crafts is dark and sinister. He is able to ride the beat almost perfectly, all the while dropping references of a darker and grimmer life-style. His reference to ‘Good Kid M.A.a.D City’ was the cherry on top for me. The next track, ‘Finesse’ follows suit with a bass guitar and strong instrumental. The number of shifts in the beat made me think that Devon was talking about finessing the bread and the beat as well. It was great to see how Devon is comfortable in playing around with beats and showcasing his flexible rapping.
The eighth and ninth tracks were had lighter acoustic instrumentals with Sashea’s beautiful singing. ‘In The Mirror’ served as a beautiful conceptual track while ‘Prevail’ had powerful singing and a positive anthem for working hard. The curtains closed with ‘Moment’ which was the last track of the album. If I had any qualms or doubts about Devon’s singing, they were quenched with his performance in ‘Moment’.
All in all, I enjoyed listening to ‘Fresh-Man Year’ and look forward to hearing more tracks from Devon B in the future. The album will be released on November 1st. Follow Devon B now!