Aspiring emcees are plentiful in the hip-hop world. Such an abundance fosters creativity and in general is a good thing for the music as an art form. Occasionally some of these aspiring emcees join the ranks of rap superstars or underground heroes and contribute to hip-hop on a larger scale. But amongst those few diamonds found out there is a large pool of emcees who could metaphorically be referred to as “the rough.” This mass of rappers ranges from the awful to the average to those who need some polish before they can be categorized into either. DruNK falls into that category of emcees that needs some polish before his full potential or lack thereof is revealed.
“The Story of DruNK” is basically an autobiographical work that takes a very personal approach to Hip-Hop. DruNK is not afraid to speak his mind or talk about his life on record. The opening track, “Leavin’ Cali” details DruNK’s problems at home, especially with his father, and his eventual journey away from the sunshine state. “My Sunshine” is a track which is very critical of commercial hip-hop and finds DruNK expressing his basic disdain for the new school and love for the old school. “Fell Off” is an angry track directed at what seems to be a former member of DruNK’s crew and a few other people. “Above the Law” is self explanatory while “Keep Marching” finds DruNK explaining how he is like a soldier. The common factor in the topic matter is that it resembles the issues addressed by Eminem on his albums. While a comparison to another emcee can be a compliment, in this case it brings down DruNK’s album. Not only does he cover similar issues as Em, but his rhyme style closely mirrors that of Eminem. The cadences used by DruNK and the flow on most songs are signature Eminem, except not done as well. On “Leavin’ Cali” he spits:
“Sit back and listen
As my raps drag you in them
My life years ago, here it goes its time I spit it
time I gritted my teeth down and time I ended all the problems with my past
That I’m presented with, [unintelligible]
I’m grown now, I know now the past is finished
I still got a lot of things bothering me
still got a few problems bottle up obviously
So I write about it, though my life’s surrounded by bullshit
You’ll get the truth, but I doubt that you’ll understand it
I was young but managed to stay afloat
Though every day I woke I panicked
My folks were frantic…”
The flow used on this verse closely mirrors Em’s fast-paced stutter-stop flow, though DruNK can’t keep it up without becoming unintelligible at times. It’s not that the entire verse is hard to listen to, but certain parts aren’t very well defined and extremely difficult to decipher, even knowing where DruNK was trying to go with the song.
Some of the production also sounds like it was influenced by Eminem. The production on “Keep Marching” is similar to the murky beat on Em’s “Soldier.” The guitar-influenced “Fell Off” also draws comparison’s to some of Eminem’s rock influenced tracks. The overall feel of the CD mirrors Em’s dark, murky, and simple beats.
I don’t mean to detract from DruNK’s work by writing him off as an Eminem wannabe, but from the material on this EP this description is appropriate. As an emcee DruNK does show potential and can flow decently on some tracks. But his attempts to mimic Em’s style not only showcase his own weaknesses as an emcee but also fail to show what he has to contribute as an individual. The production isn’t bad, but it also comes off as mimicry rather than original work. There is a thin line between being influenced by a rapper and mimicking that rapper, DruNK mimics on “The Story of DruNK.” Rather than write off DruNK and his producer Strings as clones, I would propose the two head back to the studio and attempt to break from their influences the next time around.