In this age of Hip Hop, there really is no boundary or limit on what you can do. Everything is fair game and you can combine any genre you want to. Because of this, nothing is really too surprising when it comes to new sounds in the genre; anything and everything is expected. Once in a while, though, an artist comes along with a completely unique and different sound that blows me out of the water in the best way. RMR is an artist that has been able to do this; I really have never heard anything like this guy. RMR uses old school country music-style vocals and melodies and puts them tough and dark beats. He also sort of gives me acoustic R&B vibes in a way; his bringing voice sort of reminds me of Babyface or Keith Sweat or Boyz 2 Men. RMR uses these sounds that are not traditionally used in Trap music and Hip Hop music and makes them sound so naturally apart of the genre. RMR also does not sing about the kind of things you would typically expect to hear in traditional country music and old school R&B. He sings about his life experiences as a drug dealer, drug addict, pimp, and overall trap star from the hood. RMR is able to take his experiences and sing about them in a way that is very unlike any other artist making music today, and it creates a super cool experience that I can not get enough of. With that being said, here is my review of RMR’s debut EP Drug Dealing Is a Lost Art. Please let me know if you agree with my review in the comments below, and also let me know what your favorite songs are from the EP down there too!
Right from the very start of this EP, it is clear that RMR’s DRUG DEALING IS A LOST ART is unlike any other “Trap” record you’re going to hear in 2020. The first song, which is called ‘WELFARE’ and features Westside Gunn, is about as heavy and dark as any Trap song you will hear this year. The melody is provided by a beautiful piano riff, is so somber and cold; even though it is sad, something about this melody is soft and inviting and it still draws the listener in. Westside Gunn hops on the instrumental right from the jump, using his gruff and scary vocal style and super hard lyricism to set the tone for the song. RMR’s vocals shine on this funky and melancholy melody; if there wasn’t a trap beat on this song, the RMR’s singing is so smooth and sweet that it would definitely sound like it came out in the early 90s when acoustic R&B was popular. Lyrically, this song is about RMR trying to get rich so he can get his mom off of welfare. He has watched her struggle his whole life while she tries to provide, and he will do anything possible to make we happy and wealthy; this includes dealing with drugs, killing, and robbing. ‘WELFARE’ is a hell of an introduction in RMR’s world, and it does a great job of getting the listeners’ feet wet before they dive into the rest of this EP. ‘DEALER’ is a Trap song with a part old school country/part old school R&B feeling to it that is super catchy and unique. I’m not going to talk about it a lot yet, as the remix for this song is also on this EP so I will cover ‘DEALER’ in-depth when the remix comes up(Hint, Hint. It’s really good). Following ‘DEALER’ is the song ‘NOUVEAU RICHE, ‘ which is probably the song on the album that has the most “normal Trap music” sound and feeling to it. In this song, RMR is so going about how he was broke his whole life and just came into some money recently. He is praying to God that he doesn’t mess it up and try to do everything in his power to make sure he stays rich. ‘NOUVEAU RICHE’ has a Psychedelic Trap feeling to it that reminds me a lot of some of Travis Scott’s most trippy work. The funky guitar riff that provides the melody sounds a lot like the music on Travis Scott’s Rodeo, and the flow that RMR uses is similar to some of Travis’ older work as well. One thing that does stand out, though, is RMR’s vocal performance on this track. The notes he hits on it are so sweet and pure, and once again found like your favorite 90s R&B singer. No artists making Hip Hop right now can sing anywhere near as well as this, and I would even say his vocals somewhat rival The Weeknd’s and Frank Ocean’s. RMR can straight up sing, man, and his voice adds so much emotion and adds so many layers to every song he is on. ‘I’M NOT OVER YOU’ is the kind of song that really makes RMR stand out in Hip Hop. As we all know, there has been quite a few artists that have tried making Country-Trap over the last few years. From Lil Nas X to Young Thug to Lil Gravy, artists have been trying to combine these two genres in very interesting ways as of late. RMR’s version on Country-Trap that he displays on ‘I’M NOT OVER YOU’ is probably my favorite take on the sound so far. This track has an old school Country ballad kind of melody that only the best and most confident singers would go in on. RMR sings as smoothly as the best Country singer over this melancholy melody. The Trap beat and heavy lyricism give it a great Hip Hop feeling to it that any fan should love. ‘I’M NOT OVER YOU’ is unlike anything anyone is making right now, and it shows that RMR has a sound he can go further into that really makes him stand out.
Go ‘head, sip it, bet I’ll keep on sippin’
Drinkin’ bottles after bottles, feelin’ all exquisite. Fuckin’ models after models, all these hoes junkies. Can’t see me, tinted inside my Bentley. Fiends in the club and they swear that they litty. Lines in the bathroom, big drug dealin’. Codeine got me in my feelings. Codeine got me in my feelings… – ‘DEALER’
In the next song, ‘SILENCE,’ RMR takes a quick departure from the Trap-infused sound that most of the rest of this project has. ‘SILENCE’ is not necessarily that unique or innovative, but it is a lot different from the rest of this record and it shows off yet another sound RMR can excel at. This song has a groovy Neo-R&B feeling to it that is equal parts retro and futuristic sounding. In a way, this track reminds me a lot of Frank Ocean; particularly, it sounds a lot like the music on his Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape. On ‘SILENCE,’ RMR is lyrically doing something that The Weeknd has been known for over the last few years: comparing a girl he wants to cocaine. He knows that she is fun and that he will have a good time with her, but ultimately she will lead to his downfall and he’ll get addicted to her. ‘SILENCE’ definitely is not the most original song on this project, but it does show off another sound that RMR can excel at. If there is any track on this project that could be considered filler or a throwaway, I would say ‘BEST FRIEND’ is the one which hits that mold. To me, this song just sounds like a pretty typical Melodic Trap track; there really isn’t anything very special about it. My favorite thing about ‘BEST FRIEND’ is probably the weird trumpet sound that comes in at the beginning of the song when the best is hitting. Don’t get me wrong, the vocal performance on this song is great. RMR definitely sings better than any Melodic Trap artist in the game right now and he does it with no autotune at all which is very cool. Compared to the other songs on the EP, though, there’s just nothing that’s going to bring me back to ‘BEST FRIEND.’ it sounds too much like so many other artists and nothing really makes it stick out. Following this is the aforementioned ‘DEALER’ remix, which features Future and Lil Baby. I was a big fan of this song before it got remixed, and I love it almost as much with the additions from the two features. ‘DEALER’ is a song with a melody and vocal style that sounds so much like early 1990s R&B. If you didn’t pay attention to the lyrics and if the Trap beat was taken away, I really do think this could be mistaken for a Keith Sweat or a Ginuwine song. Lyrically, this song definitely has a Trap feeling to it. One thing that’s interesting is the fact that it sort of seems like RMR is going back and forth between the persons of the drug dealer and drug user. It seems like he is just as addicted to selling the drugs as he is to doing them. It’s no surprise that Future and Lil Baby both sound excellent on the instrumental as well. Both of them excel at heavy and dark Melodic-Trap, and even though ‘DEALER’ has a little more of an R&B feeling to it than they are probably used to, they still make it work and provide excellent performances. ‘DEALER’ is such a great song and it’s such a low key banger; I really wish it had gotten more traction after RMR’s initial blow up since technically it is his first original single. Speaking of his original blow up, the last song from this EP is the song that made everyone discover RMR in the first place. I am sure you have heard it by now because ‘RASCAL’ has become one of the biggest viral hits of 2020. This is the song that got everyone excited that RMR could really change the game and switch things up. It is a “remix” of sorts to the piano-driven Country Ballad ‘Bless the Broken Road.’ On ‘RASCAL,’ RMR sings in a Country music kind of voice and sounds so natural on this instrumental, but the lyrics are anything except what you would expect from this instrumental. Lyrically, this song has the energy of a Trap anthem. The fact that it is sung in such a traditional country manner is so weird and cool and unique. I really hope RMR pursues this kind of music and sound more in the future because I think he’s on to something very special with ‘RASCAL.’
I have to say, RMR’s come up has been as strange as it has been lightning quick. He went from never having posted any content online to being a viral sensation overnight with his song ‘RASCAL.’ Quickly, he started posting photos of him at record labels and in the studio with producers like Timbaland. In a span of three months, RMR went from an artist with no songs or following to having an EP produced by top producers, with top-notch artists featuring on multiple songs. I’m not going to say DRUG DEALING IS A LOST ART is perfect by any means, it seemed like he got sucked into making similar Melodic Trap like everyone else for a few songs and they are just not that memorable. But RMR does have an excellent singing voice and the ability to pursue sounds and styles of music completely different from what one would expect from him. The songs on this album with old school Country and R&B sounds to them are awesome. I would really love to see him pursue these sounds more in the future. DRUG DEALING IS A LOST ART is an excellent introduction to RMR as an artist and shows that he has so much potential. I can’t wait to hear what he can do on a full-length album in the future If he keeps thinking outside the box and keeps pushing boundaries with his music, RMR will be a star for a long time.