If the title of Dyme Def’s latest “Sex Tape” brings to mind early ’90s records by Digital Underground and 2 Live Crew, disappointment is all but inevitable. I’m not the first and won’t be the last to compare the Seattle trio to Cool Kids, although the likeness is most striking physicallyâ€”their flamboyant colors, plaid flannels, checkered prints, starchy jeans, bright fitted ballcaps, ’80s sneakers, and big sunglasses look like they came straight out of Chuck and Mikey’s closets. Some similarities abound in the two groups’ approaches as wellâ€”heavy emphasis on style over substance, big, heavy party beats, and a few nods to ’80s music that in all likelihood came out before they were born. However, to call Dyme Def a poor man’s Cool Kids would be somewhat of a misnomerâ€”a bankrupt homeless man’s Cool Kids might be more accurate.
As you might guess, “Sex Tape” is all about sex. Crafting a 47-minute record about sex is no easy feat and requires a special artistry to execute successfullyâ€”Too Short, 2 Live Crew, DJ Quik, Bushwick Bill, and few others come to mind. These acts each incorporated a signature brand of humor and charisma in order to spin yarns of smooth seduction, raunchy sexcapades, and lavish bachelor pads that served to build their immense characters but mostly just entertainâ€”because let’s be honest, it is pretty hilarious to imagine a three-foot midget a la Bushwick Bill having a threesome in a hot tub, even if you wouldn’t play such a record in front of your mother. Dyme Def fails to live up to such precedents, offering humorless references to their own potency without any of the silly stories and laughable experiences that should come with it. “Do Something” is an early example of the type of one-dimensional, pallid lyricism to be found throughout “Sex Tape”:
“Nice size bubble booty and she had the tits to match
Do somethin’, panties on, and the shirt from Tits to match
She’s touchin’ me, and rubbin’ me, and teasin’ me, and teasin’ me
And she’s like, ‘I can’t wait ’til you start pleasin’ me, start pleasin’ me’
She likes it rough when I don’t even mean to be, she seems to be
A freak to me, the way I slide in so easily, she’s throwin’ it
I lay back, let her take control and shit, now take that, got the cameras rollin’, shit
Fuck the tripod, I’m holdin’ it, I swear she goes like a motor, shit
She got on my favorite outfit, I’m tryin’ to get your sexy ass out of it
We run this town, when I lay it down, go ‘head and you can be loud as shit
No neighbors within miles and shit, so we can go ‘head and be wild as shit
All kinds of positions now she can sleep with a smile, shit”
Fearce, Brainstorm, and SEV hardly vary from this blueprint, and nearly all of the verses throughout the LP are interchangeable, with titles such as “All Night Long,” “Do It Better,” “First Time,” “Rockin the Boat,” “Wet Dreams,” “Wet Dreams Skit,” and “Wet Dreams 2.” Their flows are nimble but unremarkable, and each track is so similar that they’re practically indistinguishable. The beats, provided by BeanOne and The Bizness among others, are expansive, echoey, heavy productions made for the club. Autotune is employed frequently and the big hooks are generally clunky. While the sound is clean and polished, the tracks are simplistic and very repetitive.
Humorless, lyrically vapid rhymes about fornication are a tough sell, especially when combined with banal hipster club rap. If you’re making a sex tape and are in the market for a soundtrack, there are much better options. Completely forgettable and devoid of creativity and any semblance of cleverness, “Sex Tape” has little to recommend itself.