Trenton, New Jersey based artist, Duece, dropped his latest EP “Foreign” in October. Working closely with executive producer DJ Juelz Flavour, the EP was recorded in Europe. While writing and recording the EP, Duece had the pleasure of meeting artists such as Aboogie with da hoodie, Petey Pablo, YBN Namir, and 6ix9ine who all gave their insight on the direction of “Foreign”. If you like tedious over produced beats with nursery style rhymes about nothing important than this is not the EP for you. But if you like top notch lyricism over dope beats then grab this album immediately. Duece is a clever lyricist who upgrades tracks and can flow on almost any type of beat and sound great. At the same time he employs all the trendy trap tricks and effects, as well as a fair amount of melody with just a slight tinge of emo.
The record alternates between moderately-paced, confident declarations of intent, and slower, more vulnerable attempts at understanding struggles. Interestingly, if an ongoing motif exists in the confines of the EP, it’s that the nature of the wide-ranging production swings like the movements of a pendulum.
Each song, while sprinkled with luminous energy underneath the brooding melancholy, features luscious hypnotic and dreamy production. There’s an element of organic warmth on most songs that complement the emotional and immediate nature of “Foreign” quite well. It’s a great record to listen to when you’re going through some shit of your own and you want an uplift.
From the moment the EP opens with “Intro – They Not From The Town”, it has an odd soothing quality to it, like the soundtrack of somebody genuinely trying to get better. It’s mostly an intimate and endearing experience.
Both “Crusin Thru” and “Racks To Riches”, is proof you can write emotional and introspective rap lyrics without sounding like an out an out egoist, or person trying to draw attention to himself. Its mood music that is efficient for what it is and it reflects thoughts many people on a serious grind feel. The EP has an emotional sophistication and a brutal honesty that is often absent from a genre that too often indulges in over-intellectualizing allegories.
The result is straightforward and relatable track like “Run It Up”, yet loaded with inherent meaning. “Somebody” has this visceral singalong quality that anyone going through a rut can sing at the top of their lungs: “Somebody hatin’ on me. Somebody wanna be me. She searchin’ for a nigga like me. But baby that nigga ain’t me.”
Duece’s ability to provide a rounded and clear-eyed exploration of his emotions and feeling, speaks to his artistic capabilities in producing a cohesive and well-structured project. This is arguably also accentuated by the styling of the EP – smooth instrumentation, drawn out, often melodic lyrical delivery.
The “Foreign” EP has a specific style and aesthetic that the songs all seem to fit within – but there’s enough variation and uniqueness throughout to stop claims of repetition or a lack of variation. “Stan” is another standout, with a simple drum beat and a dispersed piano acting as the backdrop for Duece’s catchy melodic approach to the song.
There is a great level of artistic focus shown with regards to the track listing, with a relatively cohesive shift from song to song, helping the project sound great as a whole. The skill in dealing with both the positive and the negative in such a clean style of writing makes “Wrong” an easy listen, while “On Me”, Deuce rapidly unpacks his issues in an intense rhyming style.
While the EP has its fair share of singing, it is filled with solid rapping and lyricism that. This along with the myriad of instrumentals that are included throughout “Foreign”, make for a well put together and captivating piece of work.