Tardy Album Review | Denaun – Letter 2 Sydney

This album was released on July 26th this year. Before checking this project out, I went back and listened to most of Mr. Porter’s previous releases, and I think he’s a really talented artist. I’m not a fan of D12’s music at all unfortunately. Devil’s Night is a really bad album, and D12 World is even fucking worse, but they’re all talented rappers—aside from Bizarre of course. Mr. Porter’s solo work is far more enjoyable. I think Porter Chops Glasper is his best work. It’s a great instrumental album from 2013; Dutch Master Roland is honestly one of the best beats I’ve ever heard. It’s amazing. I think he was supposed to release more instrumental albums, but they just never happened for whatever reason. It’s unfortunate. He also released two good extended plays that had him rapping more. Stuff in My Backpack is pretty great. I didn’t like his Connect EP quite as much, but it was still very good. I think I actually like God Bless more than anything that appeared on Stuff in My Backpack. That shit don’t matter though. I really don’t know anything about this album in particular to be honest. I’m going into it completely blind. I didn’t even know it was coming out, and I haven’t seen anyone else talking about it. Normally that’d be a bad sign, but I feel like he’s never really gotten that much attention in the first place. I think this’ll probably be pretty good. I’m sure there’ll at least be a handful of songs that I like even if it ends up being weak overall. Oh wait… Hold up. Huh. Okay, apparently this is another instrumental album. That’s probably a good thing. I think he’s a really good rapper, but I was wondering why this project was only 21 minutes long, so I guess that explains it.

To my delight, this thankfully ended up being one of the better albums I’ve heard from the month of July. I think this shit is really great. I’m gonna talk about the whole project in the proper order of the track listing. I think it gets off to kind of a slow start, but even the songs I won’t be returning to aren’t particularly bad. At worst, this album is decent, and at best it’s amazing. The intro is called Welcome to Planit Dope. I’m not exactly sure who runs Planit Dope, but I think it’s a record label. If I had to guess I’d say that Mr. Porter himself is the president of the company, but I don’t know for sure. The track seems to have kind of a strange concept. It mainly consists of what sounds like a female A.I. voice telling the listener that they’ve just awakened after a 7 year nap, and that they’ve arrived on “Planit Dope.” It eventually transitions pretty smoothly into the following track, 7Ayeite. I don’t think this beat is bad at all, but I’m not really crazy about the percussion loop personally. It’s a decent beat, but it just doesn’t really stand out to me much. It doesn’t really grab my attention. It’s just a typical Hip Hop beat. I thankfully like every other track on the album though, so it’s smooth sailing from this point forward. Track 3 is called Coach n’ New, and it’s not one of my favorites, but I obviously like it to some extent. It’s pretty smooth, and very melodic. That can actually be said about most of the beats on this album. Track 4 is called Fuck Me Drunk. It begins with someone saying “sometimes I fight with depression…,” and this message had me very intrigued. The beat itself is kinda just more of the same, but it’s still very dope. The fifth song, Funnel Web, is the first major highlight for me. It’s definitely the coolest beat on the album up to this point. It’s slightly more chaotic, yet still very jazzy. It’s very short, which is probably for the best since it doesn’t really evolve much. It’s dope af though. WaterFront Drive is an even better song in my opinion. It’s definitely one of my favorites on the album. The preceding track transitions into it really well, and to me it seemed like it had more Dilla influence than the other tracks. It feels like ocean breeze in the form of a song. The looped piano keys sound really nice. The song is longer and more fleshed out than the preceding material. It’s fantastic. Track 7 is called I Play 4 Her, and it feels more like an interlude than anything, mainly because it’s only 22 seconds long. It’s basically just someone—presumably Mr. Porter himself—singing while playing a piano. I actually like it. It transitions into the following track, Traffic, really well. Traffic is one of the weaker songs on the album in my opinion, but I still like it. It’s just another smooth, melodic, mellow instrumental. It’s a good beat, but I don’t have much to say about it. It’s just over half a minute, so it thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome. Track 9 is called Coordinate Black, and it’s pretty much just more of the same. It’s a lot smoother than any of the other tracks though. It’s slick as hell. It’s like the musical equivalent of a tuxedo. I feel like James Bond when I listen to it. Track 10 is called Found My Chick, and it’s another highlight for me. Denaun spends the first portion of the track talking about his love for A Tribe Called Quest, and the beat sounds very Midnight Marauders-inspired to me. I can definitely see Q-Tip spitting over it. In fact, it actually kinda reminds me of that Q-Tip collab that appeared on The Game’s Documentary 2.5 album, Circles. I think it was 2.5. It might have just been 2.0. I can’t remember. Anyway, the following track, Love in a Friend, is even better in my opinion. It’s one of the most detailed beats on the album. It’s dope af. It sounds more like a traditional boom bap instrumental than the other tracks, but it’s still smooth and melodic just like the rest of the beats. The following song, Don the Thief, is just as good, if not better. I think it’s one of the most creative & unique instrumentals on the album. The way the percussion builds up is really fucking cool, and the more melodic elements that eventually come in sound absolutely stellar. In terms of the instrumental tracks, this might be my favorite on the album. I think it’s amazing. The following track is called Tiara X23, and it’s a relatively basic instrumental, but I still like it. The melodic loop and boom bap percussion are just a little repetitive, and it never really switches up. You pretty much know what the entire track sounds like after hearing the first 20 seconds. It’s still good though. The penultimate song, Hayati in a Nutshell, is another highlight for me. It has some very nice guitar elements. The beat makes me feel like I’m chilling under a fancy umbrella on a beach watching the sunset while sipping a fruity alcoholic beverage. It is admittedly a little repetitive, but it’s only about a minute long, so I don’t even mind. I love it. The final song is the only track that features Mr. Porter rapping, and I fucking love it. It’s easily my favorite track on the album. I think it’s incredible. It’s basically an open letter to his daughter, Sydney, who the album is dedicated to. I feel kinda dumb for this, but I honestly didn’t really understand the title and cover for this album until I heard this track. It’s amazing though. I love how heartfelt it is. It’s beautifully written.

Make sure you hang around girls that fix your crown
And make sure you fix theirs too
I’m pretty sure some young boy will like you
Well shit, a girl might too
Hell, I can’t pick for you, but I will ensure you
Whatever you’re into, I’m there for you

I really wish I could just transcribe every single line of the song because it’s all fantastic. He gets pretty autobiographical with the lyrics at some points, and it’s just so well written. Every line had me hooked. His singing on the hook is really good too. Shit, his vocal performance on this track is so good that I didn’t even pay attention to how good the production was the first few times I listened. Everything about the song is stellar though. I think it’s a perfect outro. It’s really the climax of the album. It feels like everything else is just leading up to this one point, and it really pays off. In fact, I didn’t even notice this the first time I heard the album, but a lot of the preceding tracks foreshadow parts of this song. When I went back and listened to the other tracks I noticed that he included sound effects of himself writing the letter to his daughter. You can even hear him say certain lines that ended up appearing on this song. It’s a really awesome track. It ties the album up perfectly too. I fucking love it.

This album is fucking great. Honestly, the closing song alone makes this one of the best instrumental projects I’ve heard all year, which is funny because that’s the only song that isn’t an instrumental. The way he connected all the beats and sounds to it was kind of ingenious though. I really think Mr. Porter is a super underrated artist. The main reason he doesn’t really get that much attention is probably just because he doesn’t drop that much music. This is only his second solo album if I’m not mistaken. I’d really love to hear a full rap album from him because I think it’d end up being one of the best projects of whatever year it dropped in. I don’t think there’s anything he doesn’t do well musically. He’s a great writer, a great producer, and a great singer. The D12 albums haven’t aged well at all, but his solo career is full of nothing but hidden gems. I’m so glad that I checked this out because the closing song ended up being one of the best tracks I’ve heard all year. The fact that I almost missed this release is just tragic. He actually released an EP in September called While You Wait, so I’ll have to make sure I check that shit out. This album is really great though. Do not sleep on it.

Favorite Song: Letter 2 U
Least Favorite Song: 7ayeite


Grade: B+

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