As I mentioned in my write-up about him last week, DC The Don is an interesting and unique young start from Milwaukee who has so much potential to make it big. He is not an artist with a sound that one would normally associate with Milwaukee; he does not make the aggressive and goofy Drill music that Milwaukee rappers have been making over the last few years. Instead, he usually uses various forms of Melodic and Emo Trap that fit super well into the Hip Hop landscape of 2023. DC The Don first burst onto the scene when his song ‘Everything 1K’ went viral in 2017 due to current NBA player(and then college star) Lonzo Ball posting it on Instagram. Since that point. DC The Don has been on an upward trajectory, as he has been prolific with his output and has been getting more and more popular as time has gone on. In addition to a plethora of stand-alone singles, DC The Don has released several full-length projects so far in his career: 2018’s DC Dahmer, 2020’s Come As You Are, 2022’s My Own Worst Enemy, and 2023’s Sacred Heart(+). DC The Don has steadily improved as a Hip Hop musician since his debut, and it is easy to see why he’s already becoming one of the most successful rappers ever from Milwaukee. DC The Don just released his second album of 2023, which is called FUNERAL. This is how I feel about that record. Please let me know in the comments below what your favorite songs are from FUNERAL also comment on what you think about the record as a whole.

DC The Don gets this project started with the title track, ‘FUNERAL.’ When this song started, I got excited, as it had a sound that I would never have expected to hear. The beginning of the song sounds like a 2010s Indie Pop-Rock song. It has a bright and bubbly melody driven by a guitar riff and an upbeat drum pattern that reminds me of the Dance Rock by bands like Walk the Moon. Pretty quickly, the beat changes, taking on a triumphant Trap sound. The melody becomes heavily distorted and has lots of sound effects added to it, making the track feel all-encompassing and glorious. The beat switches back to that Dance Rock theme at the end of the track, closing the song out on a compelling note. DC The Don’s vocal performance is excellent on this track. The flow he uses fits the beat so well, and the hook on this track is such an earworm. Overall, ‘FUNERAL’ is a very engaging way to start this record that draws me in immediately. ‘LUV’ has a completely different sound than the track that precedes it. This track actually reminds me a lot of ‘Hate Being Lonely,’ one of the singles that came out in anticipation of this record. This song has a quick and funky beat that is put over a piano melody that is added to by various synths and vocal sound effects to make it feel full. The melody on this track has a warm and cozy feeling that makes me feel good when I hear it. DC The Don’s vocals on this track are so smooth and they add to the welcoming sound the instrumental already has. On ‘LUV,’ DC The Don demonstrates good of an R&B singer he can be when he puts his mind to it. ‘Story of MY Life’ is not too different from the first track on this record. It has a 2010s Dance-Rock melody that takes me back to some of the music that was popular when I was in high school. This melody is decidedly more Pop than the one on ‘FUNERAL,’ though; instead of being driven by a guitar riff, this melody is mainly driven by buzzing synths. The other way this song differs from the first track is in the beat; besides for a brief Trap breakdown about 75% through the track, this song has a fast Synth-Pop beat. DC The Don’s vocals on this track are not super special on this track, but they do fit the song well and help it progress nicely. ‘Story of MY Life’ is not the most exciting song in the world, but it is a quality Synth-Pop track with a nostalgic feeling. ‘Hate The New You’ almost feels like a continuation of the previous song. The melody and beat for ‘Hate The New You’ do not differ too much from ‘Story of MY Life.’ I do enjoy this song a bit more than the one before it for a couple of reasons, though. For one, the melody and beat are less cluttered and complicated, and this makes the song more fun-sounding to me. This instrumental has fewer sound effects and add-ons, and its simple nature makes it more engaging. I also am super fond of DC The Don’s vocal performance on this track. Not only does he show off how wide of a vocal range he has on this track, but his silky flow fits the instrumental so well. ‘Hate The New You’ is a Synth-Pop bop that I could see ending up being a hit in the clubs this summer.

‘URGENT!’ is a track that continues with the Synth-Pop sound that the last couple of songs have had. This track feels a lot more current than those tracks, though; in fact, it has a futuristic feeling to it. It is the kind of Synth-Pop I would expect to hear in a club or bar in some utopian futuristic city. The instrumental has a bit of a metallic and robotic element. The melody, which is very sunny and joyous sounding, almost sounds like it is being made up of beeping noises at certain times. It is honestly hard to describe, but I have to say it is nice to listen to. The beat on this track is rapid, and it makes me want to dance when I hear it. Similar to ‘Hate The New You,’ DC The Don’s vocals on this song are nice, but they are not special; they just help the song progress fluidly. ‘URGENT!’ is another fun Synth-Pop track that shows how talented DC the Don is at making this kind of music. DC The Don brings it back to Cloud-Trap music he is more known for on the song ‘Shawty.’ Even though they are so inherently different, there is something about this track that is similar to ‘URGENT!’ The melody for ‘Shawty,’ which has a vibrant sound, has a futuristic feeling as well. Like ‘Shawty,’ the synths that are used have a metallic and robotic element to them. I love how punchy the beat on this track is. The beat is so hard-hitting, giving the track a tough element that contrasts the vibrant melody. DC The Don’s vocal performance is awesome on this track. I like how he fluctuates back and forth between higher and lower pitches, as it gives the song texture. ‘Shawty’ is a banger that fits well into the landscape of Melodic Trap music today. Next, we get the aforementioned R&B anthem ‘Hate Being Lonely.’ This song has a Pop-R&B sound that reminds me a lot of the late 2000s. The melody, which is driven by sweet-sounding synths, is so warm and bright; it has the kind of sound that will put anyone in a good mood when they hear it. The beat on this song is hard-hitting and so danceable; it has the kind of rhythm that makes me want to move my feet and bop my head when I hear it. DC The Don sings so smoothly on this track, and the way he fluctuates his pitch and hits higher notes gives emotion to the song. ‘Hate Being Lonely’ is an R&B hit that has elements that bring the listener back to the R&B music that was big 15 years ago. ‘Bankrupt :/’ may somehow have the most innovative and off-the-wall instrumental out of anything on the record to this point. The easiest way to describe this instrumental is that it is like a HyperPop version of the Indie Pop music that artists like Hellogoodbye or Postal Service made in the late-2000s. The melody has a saturated and colorful Synth-driven sound, and the beat switches back and forth from having a rapid HyperPop sound and a fast Trap sound. It is the kind of song that keeps the listener on the edge of their seat because it is weirdly intense and almost has an anxious element to it. For most of the song, DC The Don sings in with a deep tone that contrasts the melody and beat in a cool way. ‘Bankrupt :/’ may not be a song for everyone, but it is innovative and shows how far against the grain DC The Don can go.

‘12AM’ is the other single that was released by DC The Don before this project came out. ‘12AM’ has quickly become one of my favorite songs of 2023 so far. This song has such a wild and distinctive sound. It fuses Emo-Trap with Future House and Garage music, which is a combination I have never expected to hear but now love. This song is like if Playboi Carti and his favorite producers did a song with someone like Disclosure. The melody on this track is so dark and dreadful sounding, and it is put on this heavy and fierce beat that sounds like it came from a different world. DC The Don demonstrates how versatile of a rapper he can be in this song, as he constantly switches his flow as the beat switches and demonstrates more elements of his vocal range. ‘12AM’ is an unconventional Emo-Trap banger, one of the best Hip Hop songs of the year. DC The Don completely slows it down on the next song, ‘Friends…’ I do not know if I should call this song “Acoustic,” because the guitar riff is complemented by synths and DC The Don’s are highly edited at some points, but I will say this song is slow, soft, and has no beat. It is like an Acoustic version of a calm Synth-Pop song. The melody is so inviting and cheerful; it has the kind of tune that will put a smile on anyone’s face that loves Acoustic Pop music. I love how much heart and passion DC The Don sings with in this song; his feelings are palpable through his vocals. ‘Friends..’ is a song that I would not have expected to hear from DC The Don on this album, but I like how it shows a different side to him and slows down the pace of the album for a brief moment. DC The Don immediately sends the energy of the record right back through the roof on the next track, ‘Working On Dyin.’ This is an underground experimental Trap banger that is powerful and brash. The melody has the kind of tone that reminds me of the kind of music that is played during battle scenes of old-school video games; specifically, it makes me think of the music that one would hear while battling in games like Tekken or Mortal Kombat. The beat on this song is harsh and extreme, and it matches the melody. This song is like the deepest unreleased cut from Lil Uzi Vert. Similar to Lil Uzi, DC The Don is constantly changing his vocal tone on this track. This approach goes tremendously with this instrumental and adds to the aggressive nature of the instrumental. ‘Working On Dyin’ is a vigorous Trap song that I will be coming back to frequently. ‘Used To Be/Me’ also sounds inspired by Lil Uzi Vert; it is like an even more ultramodern approach to some of the revolutionary Pop-Trap tracks Lil Uzi Vert has dropped. This song has a high-pitched and lively-sounding melody that is put over a strange beat that fuses Traditional Trap and Hyperpop. The instrumental on this one feels nostalgic(because of the Lil Uzi Vert influence and video game quality to the tune) and newfangled and the same time. DC The Don’s on this song goes so well with the energy of the instrumental. He is constantly changing the pace of his flow, giving the song an extra layer of chaos. ‘Used To Be/Me’ is a song that feels like the future of Pop-Trap in the best way possible.

‘You Forgot Abt Me’ is a song where DC The Don returns to some of the softer R&B tendencies that he displayed earlier in the record. When I first listened to this track, I immediately thought of the R&B that was big in the late 2000s. The instrumental takes it back to the music by Chris Brown and Mario during that era. The melody is driven by a pleasant and easy-going guitar riff that is added to by a bunch of synths that give it depth. The beat has a soft Trap rhythm to it, which gives the song a present-day element. I like how DC The Don sings with a low and deep tone on this track, as it contrasts the instrumental and makes the song feel full. I appreciate this change in tempo and style at this point in the album, as it calms things down for a brief moment and once again shows off this softer side to DC The Don that I appreciate a lot. As he has done so many times on this record, DC The Don shows off a different side to his musicality on the next track, ‘Going Stuck.’ On this one, he leans into the Pop-Punk trend that has become so popular over the last few years. This track is a bit more complex than most of the music by his peers in this genre, though. There are surprising components of this song that make me think of 100 gecs. The first half of the song has a somewhat cookie-cutter Pop-Punk sound, with a pretty tame Punk guitar riff put over a typical Pop-Punk drum beat. About halfway through the track, though, there is a breakdown where the beat has a Trap/HyperPop switch-up and the guitar riff gets chunkier and heavier. Eventually, the instrumental slowly morphs back to the more tame Pop-Punk sound it had at the beginning of the track, but this breakdown in the middle of the song is very cool and gives the song way more power than it would have had without it. DC The Don’s vocal performance on this song is great. Like he has so many times on this record, he shows off how wide of a vocal range he has on this track, and his flow on the track sounds great on this instrumental. ‘Going Stuck’ is a fresh take on the Pop-Punk trend that is big right now that truly engages me. DC The Don sticks with the 2000s-influenced Pop-Rock theme of the last track on ‘Fight or Flight :(‘ Similar to ‘Bankrupt :/,’ this song reminded me of the Indie-Pop music that was made by artists like Hellogoodbye in that time period. The song has an Acoustic guitar riff that is mild and light, and it is put on a rapid Pop beat that has a bit of a HyperPop quality to it. The instrumental for this song is simple and relaxed, yet it still somehow packs so much emotion. The way that DC The Don’s vocals are edited on this track gives even more passion to the song. The vocals on this song are weirdly perfect for the instrumental. ‘Fight or Flight :(‘ is yet another song that shows how varied of an artist DC The Don can be. DC The Don closes out this record with the track ‘intuition.’ Like so many other times on this record, DC The Don surprised me on this track. The best way that I can describe this track is that it is a true Country-Trap track. The melody of the song is provided by a slow and nice Country/Folk-style guitar riff that is complemented by some synths and a distorted electric guitar that is faded in the background. The track has a soft and low-key Trap beat that somehow fits the melody superbly. ‘intuition’ may have been my favorite vocal performance of DC The Don’s on this record, which is honestly saying a ton. He shows off all the things that make him a good vocalist in this song. His multiple flows on the song are all excellent, and his vocal range is wonderful as well. ‘Intuition’ is a great way to end this record, as it rounds out the record on a peaceful note and lets DC The Don demonstrate how good of a vocalist he can be one last time. 

I have to say, I went into this record with pretty high expectations. I have liked what I have heard from DC The Don in the last few years quite a bit, and it seemed like he was going to be able to take the next step into greatness with FUNERAL. Fortunately, DC The Don exceeded my lofty expectations with his performance on this record. FUNERAL is a fun and diverse record that shows off how wide-ranging DC The Don can be as an artist. When listening to this project, it feels like there is nothing DC The Don can not do. It is apparent that DC The Don can venture into any kind of music he wants to venture into and do it well. FUNERAL is a record that has music for so many different kinds of listeners. Unless you are exclusively into Metal music, there is probably something on the album that you can enjoy. FUNERAL is one of the most high-quality albums to come out in 2023 so far, and it cements him as one of the most exciting young stars in music today. 

FAVORITE TRACKS – ‘FUNERAL,’ ‘LUV,’ ‘Hate The New You,’ ‘Shawty,’ ‘Hate Being Lonely,’ ’12AM,‘ ‘Working On Dyin,’ ‘Used To Be/Me,’ ‘You Forgot Abt Me,’ ‘intution’



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