Thursday, May 17, 2007

XXXplicit

Devin the Dude
Waitin' to Inhale
Score: 6

Met with a title like Waitin' to Inhale, you might think Devin the Dude's interests include smoking weed, smoking more weed and ... uhhh, what was that other thing?

But what Devin really wants is sex. All the time. Even while you're reading this sentence. With you, even --- assuming you're a chick, and one who won't charge too high a price.

Devin's conquests fill much of the album's first half, and his delight in dishing the juicy details might make some people blush.

And it might make others abort the CD entirely.

"She Want That Money" will provide the first test. An uncompromising introduction to his pro-prostitution platform, it finds him having his way with a hooker on a big brass bed. "She Want That Money" has more bite than most tracks, though. In general, Devin's songs are light-hearted, meant to crack smiles, not grimaces.

He scores with his use of absurdity in "Broccoli & Cheese." When he tries to move his date's hand to his crotch --- because "it's the third time we've been together" --- she pulls away, worried about venereal disease. (Perhaps she heard some of his other songs.) Devin, clearly indignant, tells her, "Girl, this dick is so clean / that you can serve it with some lima beans."

Deep in his subconscious, however, doubt stirs. Amid a succession of skin dives, he says the situation's "gettin' ridiculous / I hope I don't get sick of this." And he's serious. Because if casual sex suddenly failed to thrill him, what could? The line hints at an emptiness behind his boasting. Here, a minor-key piano creep serves as a nagging reminder that such a development is not only possible, it's probable.

"Hope I Don't Get Sick-A-This" exemplifies the quality of the instrumentation on Waitin' to Inhale. Symbolizing the quest that Devin and his many producers take up, a recurring skit involves an engineer searching for a particular kind of "boom."

No doubt it's on "She Useta Be," a tale of "elegant to elephant." Over a sleepy sax riff and a rubbery beat that could've come from ToeJam & Earl's Funkotron, Devin recounts a surprise meeting at the grocery store: His boyhood crush --- the one who always turned down his advances in high school --- finally has the hots for him 10 years later.

Except now she's morbidly obese. "Seems like everything on her body just melted together," he says.

Surely, some will chalk it up to misogyny, and throughout the other tracks Devin and his guests don't offer much evidence to the contrary.

But when Devin reveals a moving vulnerability on the D'Angelo-esque "Don't Wanna Be Alone"; when he moans "Don't say goodbye / unless you wanna see a grown man cry, girl," it's hard to believe he misses her body alone.

Besides, if that was the case, he'd just buy a blow-up doll.

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