Branded: The Damon Winton Story

Branded: The Damon Winton Story

(CLASSIC STATUS)

branded

An album from Sleep

Production by Dope Antelope

Review presented by Warren Peace

Listen to Branded: The Damon Winton Story by Sleep.


The Intro

I heard of Sleep about two years ago. Along with Cocaine Chris, Sleep was one half of the duo known as 2 Man Cypher. The first time I heard either of them, it was on a song they did together. I enjoyed the song, but never really gave any of my attention to them again until I heard Lockland ’95 and Cain & Glory, solo albums Cocaine Chris (Cain & Glory) and Sleep (Lockland ’95) put out to give a more personal background to the 2 Man Cypher group. Several more albums and many, many songs later, Sleep is the general of an artist regime known as The Fraternity. Branded: The Damon Winton Story was released nearly a year ago, but I wanted to take the time to share an album that needs to be heard. Let’s get to the music.


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The Album

1- Question 1

The intro is something I have never heard before. It begins with a police officer speaking with the woman who was Damon Winton’s social worker. The cop asks about Damon running away from home. Sleep comes hard into the song, which has a dark, brooding beat. His lyrics begin explaining the story and his flow is solid. With a slight switch up to his rhyme scheme here and there, Sleep stands out on the track. He paints a picture of a rough childhood and the desire to get away from it. Sleep has my attention locked in, and begins the album with a track getting put on the Featured list. I’m ready to hear the rest!

2- Question 2

The conversation between the cop and social worker continue, as the cop asks about Damon cutting himself. This beat is awesome, and the hook fits it perfectly. Sleep continues Damon’s story, explaining why Damon cuts, how he gets the razors, and tells how ‘it fills the void’. Sleep gives everything to you so raw, you might believe he used to be a cutter himself. This song is so extraordinary, and is definitely going on the Featured list. Pair it up with an amazing video, and you have a hit that’s too graphic for the public. Be sure to check out the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG6SsCXhNtk

3- Question 3

Switching the direction a bit, but maintaining focus, this track starts with the cop questioning about Damon’s mother. Sleep’s approach to this song is unique. He spits the lyrics with a female’s voice doing the same over his. You would think having two emcees saying the same thing over one another would result in some confusion or distortion for listeners. It’s the opposite, though, as both of them can be heard very clearly. Damon’s mother deals with addiction, poverty, and how she gets her money in the verses of this song. A great addition to the overall picture of Damon’s life, this was a great way to deliver the story from a different, yet relevant, point of view. Also, I have yet to give credit to Dope Antelope for his production on this album. So far, the transitions between beats has been as smooth as possible, and the beats are easy to vibe with. Impressive, to say the least. Another one for the Featured list.

4- Question 4

We move into the next question the police officer asks the social worker; What’s up with Damon Winton being sexually abused as a child? The social worker ‘never heard about it’. The beat keeps a gloomy, dark vibe. While all four beats so far have the same vibe and/or feel to them, they all have had their own elements and unique touches. Paraphrasing Sleep, Damon was given liquor as a child and taken advantage of. The voice of the molester is creepy and intimidated. The touches on his voice were right on the money with that. I’ve heard Sleep do a similar track to this before, in a collab with Cocaine Chris, but to touch on the subject again in this fashion still made it incredible for me. A very taboo topic put out there for the world to hear, giving me no choice but to put this on the Featured list.

5- Question 5

Speaking of taboo topic, the album shifts toward Damon’s religious beliefs. There are none. When so many bad things are happening and you are crying to God but do not get an answer, it is hard to believe. That’s the message Sleep laces in his lyrically sound flow. The chorus is brought to life by a beautiful voice, giving Sleep’s more rough tone an even more harsh feel. Another track that brings some thought and time with it, something many people will be able to relate to even if they can’t admit it. This would be my favorite… if Question 2 wasn’t. Either way, we have another track getting put on the Featured list.

6- Question 6

As the conversation continues, we find out Damon Winton was bullied at school a lot because of his hand-me-down clothes and poverty. As a result, Damon lashes back by having a desire for nicer things and taking the material items however he sees fit. The beat will pull you into the story, and has more of a head-nodding appeal to it. This song, along with Question 2, are my favorites of the album, which means we have yet another track going on the Featured list.

7- Question 7

We find out Damon has turned to a life of selling drugs and running the streets. Sleep delivers a more ‘street’ flavored verse while showcasing his lyrical talents as much as any of the previous tracks, if not more. Dope Antelope’s beat brings even more of a head-nodding, get-hype feel to it, transitioning beautifully from the previous track. I did not think I would be saying this, but this is right up there with Question 2 and Question 6. Now here’s another track going onto the Featured list.

8- Question 8

Reaching the end of our tale, the officer only has one question left for the social worker. The question is “Why did he do it?” Everything reaches a climax with track, which is put together with vivid details locked into Sleep’s deep flow. Another great song, and another one going on the Featured list, making the entire album of Branded: The Damon Winton Story a classic, in my opinion.


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Featured Tracks

Question 1, Question 2, Question 3, Question 4, Question 5, Question 6, Question 7, and Question 8.

*Question 2 is featured on The Renaissance Vol. I


The Write Up

If I were to list the negatives this album has to offer, they would be as follows:

That’s right, there are none. While this album is only eight tracks long, it fully serves its purpose to the audience: Tell us The Damon Winton Story. With powerful lyrics, wonderful story-telling, captivating beats, and different changes of pace throughout the album, I can honestly tell you I think this is one of the greatest concept albums of my generation, and many previous generations. If you give this ONE listen, you’ll listen to every song. I appreciate the chance to share this with everyone, as this is a fantastic collection of art. Kudos.


Star Status

★★★★★

(5 out of 5 stars)

Sleep has also had his “The Definition of Insanity” and “The H.W. Bush/ Clinton Era” albums reviewed on our site!

Sleep was selected for the Artist of the Month!


You can find Sleep on Facebook and found on Twitter.

The Write Reviews is also on Twitter and Facebook.

Warren Peace writes...
Warren Peace writes…
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