DuhPhxnk is a known liar. If he wasn’t famous for his extreme amount of exaggeration, “Music 2 the Mind Levitation” would never have come to my attention. Apparently at one time you could actually buy this album from CD Baby (presumably printed on demand), but when I checked their website it appears they’ve entirely changed their business model. They now offer themselves as a conduit for aspiring artists to get digital distribution for a nominal fee, which would probably be the route DuhPhxnk would go if he was coming out today, but back in 2015 some people still wanted to release physical media.
DuhPhxnk really shouldn’t have bothered. Lying about your stature and connections can be chalked up to “fake it until you make it,” and DuhPhxnk said he was working with everybody from Soulja Boy to Future in the lead up to this release. That’s fine. No, seriously. It got people talking about him, and if he could have parlayed that into an incredible album, then all would have been forgiven. Instead his album features songs (and I’m using that term generously) like “Another Day.” His delivery is monotonous, he slobbers through syllables, and it sounds like he recorded them over the mic on a headset he used to play Call of Duty. He’s also as clearly as young as he looks on the album cover. “Next day in class, all you hear is ru-mors/people chatting it up, and passing notes to one an-other.” It makes it even more awkward when you hear him calling someone a “thirsty bitch” and talking about “getting your stacks up.” Maybe get your grades up first?
I thought modulating his vocals might help, but “Radar” proved me wrong with the the chorus, and the entire performance needed a rethink. He has no concept of flow whatsoever. He raps too fast and trips over his words, then has long awkward pauses where no one says a damn thing. His guest rapper Rich Thug sounds better in one verse than the alleged star does on the entire album, and make no mistake about it that’s fucking embarrassing. I’d sooner listen to a Rich Thug album than ever listen to one more song by Duh. Come to think of it, the first syllable of his rap name is turning out to be awfully apt. Songs like “Dm’s” were written by someone who says “duh” a lot. He’s got the juvenile obsession with a girl sliding into his lane on social media, but if they heard his song they’d stay far away from him on all platforms.
“Music 2 the Mind Levitation” actually crosses the line from being a serious attempt at rap to being outsider music. The production ranges from mediocre to awful, the lyrics are terrible, and the combination of the two is so amateurish that it’s weirdly fascinating. It makes me think that Duh is incapable of conceiving that the music he makes is any different from the artists he admires. In his head they sound exactly the same. If he could tell there’s a difference he wouldn’t put out songs like “Trees.” He’d listen to them and recognize he doesn’t have what they do. I don’t want to hear about this man child telling me how much marijuana he smokes. He’s play acting his way through all the tropes of being a rapper, thinking imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When he runs out of things to say, the beat continues on without him, making for the best part of the whole CD.
I’ll say this much for DuhPhxnk — I admire the cajones it took to put himself out there in such a public way. He made a bunch of incredibly bold claims that he couldn’t back up, then released an album any way that he could, no matter whether or not it was any good. I can knock him for his lack of self-awareness but not for the fact he actually tried to do something, which is at least better than talking all that shit and doing nothing. Unfortunately that just means he gets marks for attendance. He showed up. That’s all the laurels he gets. He signed his name on the test, and at least tried to answer the questions, even though he didn’t pay attention in class and didn’t study when he got home. DuhPhxnk might not be any better if he tried, but it’s clear he couldn’t be much worse.