Dumhi won’t sell a single copy of “They Call Me Bruce” because of the enticing packaging. For one, if the cover art actually isn’t a Photoshop job, they should have contacted me to do the damn thing for discount price. There’s precisely one “page” for the liner notes, the jewel case is the same 3-mm kind I get at Staples, and sweet lord, there ain’t even a back to the cot damn thing. The shit’s absolutely homemade.
But if you’re down with judging books by their covers, it just so happens that this cut and paste approach beautifully illustrates Dumhi’s charm. Its good ol’ fashioned trunk-hop; college radio bound, and far removed from the heinously overpriced shelves of FYE. Dumhi, all eastern denizens, sound much more like smoked-out left coasters than overly gangstafied Wu-wannabes. The emphasis is taken off of the bravado, and placed lightly on the art of chillin.’
Three tracks deep, Dumhi sound comfortable, and produce beyond expectations. If the ’70’s horns of “Bruce’s Theme” don’t arouse your crate diggin’ taste buds, it ain’t nothing the 007 xylophone strokes of “Yao Ming?” can’t make amends for. Emcee Plug downright melts, I mean straight OOZES all over Haj’s beat, providing gems aplenty. When he says “emcees livin’ on my nuts, building cities ‘n’ shit, like Sim City and shit,” you totally buy it; bro sounds that smoove.
“Bruce” certainly gets off the ground quickly, but if there’s one thing that beats a hot start, it’s a cold finish. Dumhi turn around to leave you high and dry, killing off a considerable head of steam with an early interlude and several skippable beats. Producer Haji Haj, who makes up for the entirety of “Bruce’s” beats, fades fast. He picks out great samples, whether they be spoken word excerpts or string selections from old action flicks, but his drum loops are uninspiring and flat out weak on several tracks, leaving too much pressure on the emcees.
Luckily, the rapping is generally on par, especially when Shameless Plug is feeling it, although Mash manages to steal a couple songs with his baritone flow. When all is right, and Haj is on the same level with his boys on the mic, its something along the lines of “Fresh Produce,” a relax number with a subtle backdrop behind Plug’s first person narrative. Conversely, a cut like “ZIGZAG” sounds like amateurs feestyling to a rushed beat, and “Name This Song” is monotony in a can. Finally, Haj makes the mistake of sampling “Paint it Black” on “RollingSTONED,” a task Danger Mouse may not be worthy of undertaking, leaving listeners buckling under the weight of yet another Mary Jane reference.
Haj shows promise from head to foot of the LP, but is far too inconsistent to even think about calling his production fluid. And although smoking weed might be the best story Mash Comp, Insightclopedia Brown, Flud and Shameless Plug spin on “They Call Me Bruce,” the emcees make up for their lack of conceptual creativity with raw skill and command. If anything, Dumhi easily avoid out-and-out cacophony, and have a lot going for them (namely potential), but they’re raw, and must learn how to put together a more cohesive LP before they reach the next level, whatever that may prove to be.