DJ Drama returns with a classy effort, as Quality Street Music embodies the essence that is often amiss in mainstream Hip Hop music nowadays. Where some may not fully understand why a DJ would release an album because it would appear they do nothing more than drop their customary adlibs at any given time on a single song. There is a little more than just dropping adlibs on a song to those who do release full length albums, which are compilations at best.
With Quality Street Music, Dj Drama has managed to create a project that offers non conventional pairings with everyone and anyone who’s hot in Hip Hop right now. Unlike the Rick Ross, Wale & French Montana pairings that have been pushed so much that we don’t even anticipate who will be next to jump on a track with Rozay. Drama puts him in a new circle with Pusha-T, Miguel & Curren$y on the players cut ‘Clouds’ that sees the rappers flexing on their girls as they boast about the high life. Miguel also compliments the track with a flawless falsetto backed by luxurious guitar strings. Pairings such as these really give QSM an advantage over other DJ releases that already boast the typical matches we’re accustomed too. DJ Drama shows first and foremost that he is a tastemaker for the culture, with polished street cuts such as ‘Goin’ Down’ which features Fabolous, Yo Gotti & T-Pain and ‘Never Die’that featuresJadakiss, Ce Lo Green & Nipsey Hussle. It’s evident that DJ Drama has struck a balance between street anthems that are reflective of his mixtape work and a glossy finish that’s required for radio play on Quality Street Music.
However it does at times present collaborations that add little to the album as a whole, for example contributions from Fred the Godson on ‘Moniques Room’ is misplaced as the closing track on the album and serves as an anti-climax to the strong tight knit sound and content that has carried listeners through 15 track LP. The song prior to‘Monique’s Room’ is ‘My Audemars’ featuring Meek Mill, Birdman & Gucci Mane and suddenly we’re left with dreary rap ballads to round off a very stellar effort. It’s simply a good movie with an ending that leaves a lot to be desired.
In spite of the lazy finish, the heavyweight cast that boosts QSM to the top of the DJ releases this year, the album is sonically rooted in its title. We don’t experience the overzealous monstrous productions that have been taking its reign in music in the form of trap music. There are also no bargaining tracks that attempt to go the dance/electroroute and for that, QSM is a cohesive project that executes it’s aim and fulfils its purpose with arguably one of the most authentic sounding Hip Hop albums to come out this year.
Despite the favouritism regarding DJ Khaled, DJ Drama and Quality Street Music should not be slept on. The album is tough and a better release musically. It may not have achieved the mainstream success but it is the music you want playing in your car and your iPod when you’re out, on the way to the gym or wherever it may be. DJ Drama continues to show his strengths as a DJ, producer and A&R.
Album picks: Goin’ Down, Clouds, My Way, Never Die.