I’ve heard Famous Dex came on so many other artist’s albums that it didn’t occur to me until “Dexter 2031” that we hadn’t reviewed him on his own. I even used the search bar on the home page of RapReviews to check. NOPE! There are no shortage of reviews that mention his guest appearances, but nothing from Dexter Tiewon Gore Jr. all by himself. His time has just come.
Dex hails from the South Side of Chicago, a description which for some will evoke images of fellow rappers like Common and Open Mike Eagle, or even famous athletes like Kirby Puckett and Mr. T, while for others it will evoke thoughts of drug dealing and turf wars. South Side deserves the latter image no more or less than any other Chicago neighborhood though — every hood in Chicago has problems, and every one differs from street to street and block to block. The only association that Dex has with South Side that matters is that his rap style is straight up drill, just like Chief Keef and Lil Durk before him. It’s informed by problems that can be found in areas of the South Side but which occur anywhere there’s poverty and inequality.
“My diamonds be real
Your ones are super fake
I got the shooters en route
They shootin like super mates
Baby, get back, you better relax
I’m fuckin’ that bitch and she knowin that
All these n-ggaz so lame, huh
You can call him a lil quarterback
You run up on me, I ain’t havin that”
Drill music is not typically cheerful. It’s full of heavy beats and dark threats. It’s full of more beef than a slaughterhouse. On occasion those conflicts will spill out from one mixtape to another, from one block to another, between rival artists and crews. There’s only one thing that seems to take Famous Dex’s mind off the endless cycle of violence — getting turnt “Off a Pill” and finding a girl “to put dick in her throat” and get sexual gratification. Even here the threat of violence still looms in the intro and throughout the track: “I don’t give no fuck about all that shit n-gga, I been ten toes down n-gga everywhere I go n-gga, I don’t give a fuck n-gga, ain’t no diss song this real”.
Finding a positive outlook on releases like “Dexter 2031” can be challenging. That’s the point though. The life Famous Dex has lived from birth until now at the age of 26 was a challenge, and the ominous nature of the music reflects the situations he’s been in and continues to go through. For Dex, being “Famous” hasn’t made things any easier, it’s just brought increased scrutiny into what goes on in his life now that everybody wants a piece of him personally or professionally.
The best drill music and drill rap artists are unapologetic about their work. The beats are hard, the raps are hard, everything’s harder than diamonds. Pressure may bust pipes but it’s what turns carbon into diamonds too. Dex is one of those diamonds in the rough, and “rough” is exactly what “Dexter 2031” is. It’s a straight 15 minute trip through Dex’s life without filtering or edits. It doesn’t even sound like he wrote anything down ahead of time – he just stepped into the booth and let it flow. That’s one of the best things about drill whether you are a fan of it or not — giving voice to those realities that you’d rather not look at, think about, or deal with. Dex is in it to win it though. He’s South Side and he’s not going anywhere.