Battling the typical emotional strife that life has to offer can be one of the greatest challenges a human being can face in a single lifetime. It takes so much more than strength of character; it requires an almost omnipotent assist, and one that often comes solely through the connection one can rekindle with music, friends, or family.
D3X knows a little something about this, and in his new single “Vacations Matter,” the boldly talented songwriter delivers what could be the most poetic rap release of his scene this year on the back of what is undeniably a new favorite beat of mine. There aren’t a lot of predictable verses in this song for us to look at and ultimately tether to another artist within the pop music lexicon; truth be told, there’s nothing outside of the typical hip-hop balladry structure for us to link D3X’s sound to the mainstream here.
He has an almost classical interpretation of pop-rap aesthetics that feels more elegant and elaborate than it can be minimalistic or conservative – the latter of which has reigned supreme among the majority of American indie rappers I’ve reviewed this year. This Philly titan has his own plans for breaking out of the underground, and they’re working quite well for him in “Vacations Matter.”
The instrumental virtuosity, or perhaps lack thereof, behind D3X in this single doesn’t even come close to matching the emotionality his vocal presents us with, but I think this was completely deliberate on his part when constructing both the composition and the master mix. He’s competing with a sexy synth element and all the ribbonry a normal hard rap ballad is expected to come adorned with, but he never sounds like he’s vying for the spotlight; for it’s already transfixed on his every utterance.
He commands a lot of attention with his incredibly melodic lead vocal, and with the throttling performance he puts up here, there’s no room left over for bluntly synthesized elements – even if he had wanted to throw them into the pot. This is as pure a piece as he can give us without slashing away the barriers irrevocably created in any situation other than a live gig, and until we have the chance to see him on stage ourselves, this is quite the teaser to leave us with.
You can’t do much better as an independent artist than D3X is at the moment, and though I think we’re going to hear a lot more complete sound from him in the next couple of years, “Vacations Matter” doesn’t shortchange us on any of the obvious attributes he can take pride in sporting throughout his time in the limelight. There’s a lot of potential in his style he will need to be hammered out with a lot of experience touring around the globe – preferably starting as soon as possible – but based on what he’s doing so early on with this most recent studio effort (and sneak preview of his third LP), it’s hard to picture his getting anything but better as time goes on.