Dumbfoundead has been making a splash all over the web with his witty and often hilarious freestyle battle videos, typically courtesy of Grindtime. I’ve only heard him on an audio release one other time (on HepDMC’s last mixtape) and it was oddly underwhelming to say the least. However I was still looking forward to hearing what dumb could do when given a full album to work with and to see whether or not he was capable to be both a dope freestyler and a good artist. So whats the verdict? Find out after the jump!
Intro – A cool way to kick things off. Just a mash up of voice overs, samples and scratching. It’s the proper way to start off a hip-hop album. Also gives a glimpse of what’s to come from DJ Zo.
Night Riders – There’s something about this song that almost has me lovin’ it… but it never quite gets there. It has a booming bassy sound to it complete with knight rider samples but it never really reaches anthem status. I think the sloppy hook and repetitive beat causes me to tune out. Too bad, this song had potential but just ends up being OK.
Rapper-O’s – This is the type of track where dumbfoundead really shines. It’s off-center, goofy, tongue in cheek and completely facetious. It allows dumb’s wit to really come through and never takes itself too seriously, which mirrors his battle style. Kato was behind the boards on this one and matched dumb’s lyrical content perfectly. It’s a fresh way to call out all the wack mc’s out there.
Cockblockers – It took a couple listens for me to appreciate this song but overall it’s pretty funny. I’m not completely sure about the beat selection for this track but dumb is on point with the lyrics. The content is pretty self explanatory and he takes the time to describe three different but common situations. The intro is kind of annoying after the first couple times but the rest of the song holds up pretty well, especially with DJ Zo’s contributions. I think it would have been better if the intro to the song were made a separate track so I could skip it easily whenever I wanted to.
1st, 2nd, & 3rd – I really thought this song was genius. The concept is fresh and a little difficult to describe but it’s definitely worth a listen. Plus I’m feeling the underground vibe to the instrumental. Nothing about this track is ostentatious or in your face but it somehow begs you to pay attention. I really think this song is borderline brilliant.
Fun with Zo – This track is just Zo on the 1’s and 2’s, chopping, mixing, and scratching lines from all of dumb’s different freestyle battle opponents. To put it simply, Zo murdered this joint. This guy has got some skills, not just as a DJ but as a turntable artist. This song would make an incredible live set.
Favorite Song ft. VerBS & Open-Mike Eagle – Opening with an appropriate Ren & Stimpy sample this song quickly jumps into a cool bouncy vibe. Ironically though, the lackluster hook almost makes the song forgettable. Each MC delivers a good verse but it just loses it’s momentum everytime the chorus comes back around. It’s not a bad hook, just bland and unmemorable… and that’s actually probably more dangerous. I think if they had let Zo take care of the hook it would have made what is a pretty good song, great.
She’s Built – We have another humorous song, this time dedicated to the built women of the world. The cool jazzy swing of the song sets up an appropriate soundscape for the rhymes; a good job by Cool Calm Pete on production. The song is silly but has it’s charms, filled with samples from most notably the TV show Home Improvement. I’m not sure if this track really needed to be 3 and a half minutes long, but it manages to get the message across without wearing out it’s welcome too much. Once again, the hook is probably the weakest part of the track but it’s definitely better executed than some of the earlier songs.
Bullets of Truth – This may possibly be the only completely serious song on the entire album. Dumb takes the opportunity to share his thoughts and feelings on different aspects of contemporary culture, society and politics. This cut really exemplifies the early spirit of Hip-Hop, as an expression of truth as perceived by the artist. There’s nothing flashy about this song, but it’s raw and it switches up the goofy tone found in the rest of the album. Plus it has a pretty decent hook. He is in top lyrical form on this one. Impeccable delivery.
Lets Smoke! ft Alpha MC – Tokimonsta provides a pretty intriguing swing influenced instrumental that sorta goes to waste as a quick skit dedicated to kush. Too bad.
She Don’t Care – I’m really feeling dumb’s flow on this one. It’s a pretty clever flip on the concept of gold diggers, as this one is dedicated to the “broke diggers”. It’s a cool song that stays fresh and humorous. I like the piano based beat too.
One Day ft Abstract Rude & Aceyalone – The beat is real nice and the MC’s definitely deliver a fitting performance. Once again, I have mixed feelings about the hook. Dumb shares mic time with two underground favorites and I would have liked to see how much stronger this track could have been with a more engrossing hook. Overall the song doesn’t quite match up to the sum of it’s parts, but perhaps I just had too high expectations.
Here Comes Trouble! ft D-Styles – This is an alright song. Kind of filler but at least it’s not bad. Dumb talks about everything about him and nothing at the same time and there in lies it’s biggest fault. It’s neither here nor there and somewhat uncommitted. Plus the hook is blah.
Outro – It’s funny, once. Luckily it’s short.
She Don’t Care Remix ft Intuition & Nocando – I’d say I like the remix a bit more than the original. Well first of all, the beat selection (Lupe’s Paris, Tokyo) is a great choice but also having two guest mc’s helps keep everything fresh. It’s sillier than the original, and I think that’s a better fit.
Junior College – OK, so anyone who’s listened to the radio in the past few month’s has had to have heard Asher Roth’s ‘I Love College’ song. This song spins off the same beat and instead is made more personalized as dumb makes it more relatable to his own life. I’ve heard lot’s of people say they feel this song more than Asher’s but I suppose it really depends on which song you can relate to more. This track may not be super original but it still has plenty of charm. It’s a good listen.
Blue Ball Blues – The song goes back and forth between being funny and being dumb. It’s definitely a humorous topic but I think it’s hard to pull it off well. Dumb is able to do it for the most part but it’s not perfect. Although I gotta admit, dumb’s flow is pretty strong here.
K-Town Story – Using a classic Montell Jordan sample dumb spins the tale of a k-town hood rat that grows through different situations. It’s a cool listen mainly because it’s the most story driven track on the album. I wouldn’t say it’s the best song on the album but I think it’s one of the more interesting cuts.
Dumbfoundead vs Tantrum (Audio) – It’s just the audio to the great battle from late last yr. A welcome bonus track.
Conclusion: At a healthy 19 tracks, this album is definitely packed pretty full. And thankfully it’s a pretty decent listen too. Dumb comes off as a mixture between Eminem, tablo (from Epik High) and perhaps a little bit of Slug (of Atmosphere). Although he’s not as strong as any one of them, he does have certain elements of each and it shows a lot of potential. I’d say dumb’s biggest weakness is the crafting of good hooks. What he delivers here is servicable but his choruses tend to actually detract from the overall song more often than not. However, his delivery, energy, and flow in all of his verses are typically great and full of wit and humor. There is a certain charm to the album as a whole that makes it a strong underground-style release. I don’t see too many people who love mainstream rap feeling this one but I doubt that was dumb’s intention anyways. Having DJ Zo contribute to this album was a great decision as the entire release felt organic in nature, plus Zo is an incredible DJ and really blesses every track he’s on. For your average top 40 listener, this one may go straight over their heads. But for someone like me who appreciates some good ol’ fashioned hip hop, I’d recommend this one. I wasn’t blown away, but it still gave me a fair amount to appreciate.
Must Listen: Rapper O’s; 1st, 2nd, & 3rd; Fun with Zo; Bullets of Truth; She Don’t Care Remix
a-Tunes Score: 8/10
10 thoughts on “Critic’s Corner: Dumbfoundead – Fun with Dumb”
wow, i just saw this, hahaha. it’s pretty interesting to see differing opinions on the same album; very fresh! thanks for referring to my site/blog, i’m very flattered.
ps) k-town story is actually a koreatown version of slick rick’s children’s story, which montell jordan sampled off of also, haha. just thought i should clarify!
word. thanks for the clarification. good to know!
I agree with your review of Night Riders (yeah, it’s a song that’s almost there but never becomes a worthy single imo) and Rapper-o’s as well as a few other songs. However, I feel like Here Comes Trouble is easily the best of the album and where Dumb’s lyrical skills, flow, and delivery truly shine and puts him apart from the rest. Definitely no filler.