Hip Hop Album Reviews (05/2016)

New Levels Bring New Devils

New Levels Bring New Devils

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An album by D Sloan

Review presented by Warren Peace

Listen to “New Levels Bring New Devils” by D Sloan

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The Intro

Just a couple of months ago, D Sloan contacted me about getting his album reviewed once it was completed. Needless to say, D Sloan sent me everything about two weeks ago for this review. Unfortunately, I have had some personal issues delay this process a bit, and I feel there is a need to address that and publicly apologize to D Sloan as well as other artists waiting to be reviewed. That being said, “New Levels Brings New Devils” is the title of the album released by D Sloan, and here is the track by track breakdown.


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The Album

1- New Levels Bring New Devils (prod. by Lexi Banks)

Really enjoying the instrumental that introduces the audience to the album and its title track, “New Levels Bring New Devils”. The beat brings plenty of bounce as D Sloan kicks everything off with a fairly catchy hook. Into the first verse, D Sloan dives right into lyrics about putting work in and staying positive as he moves forward. His flow is on point, rolling smooth and steady over the instrumental without trying to force his vocals over the music. His confidence is evident in his delivery and will be infectious with listeners. As the song progresses, D Sloan sticks with the subject matter and drops a few metaphors along the way. This is a very solid start for the album and narrowly misses giving New Levels Bring New Devils a Featured Track out the gate.

2- Put In That Work (prod. by Lexi Banks)

I am really feeling this beat, and how they hype the track a little to start the song. I feel D Sloan should have had opening lines with a stronger flow, but he quickly adjusts and usually his unique, unorthodox style to ride with the beat. The hook is as catchy as any hook I’ve heard all year. D Sloan is able to stay on the topic, but delivers bars that are more matter-of-fact than witty and lyrical. He repeats several lines, which always seems to insinuate the audience didn’t hear it the first time to me. He also repeats the same word around eight times to end back to back lines, and almost gives listeners the feeling that his vocabulary is becoming exhausted or something. I feel “Put In That Work” has a lot of upside, but in the areas it misses, it misses big time.

3- Alright (prod. by JCaspersen)

D Sloan is proving to have the ability to pick instrumentals that will easily get the audience moving with the music. The hook adds to the vibe of the music and gives D Sloan many open avenues for his verses. He continues to win with the hooks on the album so far. Flipping bars about being positive and overcoming hard times, D Sloan decides to shy from the negativity that is found in the majority of hip hop songs. D Sloan’s energy is contagious. Again, he isn’t very lyrical in his verses, but he doesn’t have any issues keeping the audience engaged other than that. “Alright” isn’t just a great addition to New Levels Bring New Devils, it gives the album its first slot on the Featured Tracks list.

4- Hella Active (prod. by Lexi Banks)

Attacking the beat without much direction in the lyrics, other than a few references about working hard all the time, D Sloan would really have benefitted from having more of a lyrical edge on this track. The instrumental and D Sloan’s flow go well together, and D Sloan drops another smooth hook that people can vibe with while mixing things up a bit. “Helps Active” isn’t a bad track, but I feel it’s not on par with what I’ve heard so far on the album.

5- International (prod. by Lexi Banks)

This is a concept a lot of artists have used over the years, but it hasn’t exactly been overdone. D Sloan continues rolling his flow along with the music, speaking alot about future expectations for himself and what he believes he will be able to provide for a woman. In every verse there is a little stumble to the rhythm of his flow and it stands out sorely every time. D Sloan has a way of working an unorthodox flow really well, and then there are times it seems to throw his rhythm off. The hook is catchy, but it’s borderline too repetitive. “International” is not one of D Sloan’s strongest tracks. I do like how D Sloan is branching out from the “work hard” concepts, though. It creates a nice change of pace.

6- All I Know feat. A-Train (prod. by Lexi Banks)

This beat goes hard, creating a hype feel from the very start. The hook is well performed, but immediately takes the audience back to working hard to succeed. D Sloan has the first verse and doesn’t have any problem spitting some good material, which would probably be exhausted to any other emcee. A-Train comes onto the beat in the second verse with authority, spitting bars with a quickened pace and providing a different sound to the album with his style.. He is a little bit of everywhere with his lyrics though, and his punchlines don’t connect as well as he seems to think they do. Spitting lines fast doesn’t make the quality of the content any better or worse. D Sloan comes back onto the beat before we hear the hook again, taking over for A-Train as an emcee would in a cypher. He concludes the song by spitting a full round of bars about working hard. His delivery is exactly how he says it is- “It ain’t complicated; no metaphors”.

7- Ain’t Picture Perfect feat. Fresh C (prod. by JCaspersen)

This song will grip listeners instantly. Using another entertaining instrumental, “Ain’t Picture Perfect” features another likeable hook. Both emcees delivery similar bars with a similar style with the only real difference between them being the sounds of their voices. Neither D Sloan more Fresh C use very lyrical verses, but both keep their content on topic really well and give the audience a smooth flow from the start of the track to the end. There isn’t much else to say about “Ain’t Picture Perfect”, except it has a spot on the album’s Featured Tracks list.

8- Burger Biz (prod. by JCaspersen)

The idea behind this song gave me something to laugh about and changes up the tone for a track like this in a unique way. The track is about rappers being sack in general, and D Sloan actually drops some of his hottest bars on this song, in terms of his lyrical approach. He switches up his flow and style as the song progresses, which is entertaining and impressive. The hook is well written and where I found my laugh out loud moment, as I’m sure most of the listeners will be able to spot easily. D Sloan hits a home run with “Burger Biz”, bringing quality from every angle while adding a fresh take on a topic nearly every hip hop artist has rapped about. “Burger Biz” slides right in with the Featured Tracks and is likely to end up being my favorite song on New Levels Bring New Devils.

9- The Source (prod. by Lexi Banks)

Another fresh change of direction, “The Source” addresses the people who have talked trash behind D Sloan’s back. The beat seems to be a good fit for the topic of choice. D Sloan doesn’t hit this track as hard as “Burger Biz” to me, but is still able to deliver a solid addition to the album. The hook continues proving the ability D Sloan has to bring an entertaining and interesting chorus for the audience time after time with very little similarities between any of them. “The Source” nearly hits the Featured Tracks list, but just misses the mark.

10- Celebrate Life (prod. by JCaspersen)

With the addition of “Celebrate Life”, I have to admit that I really enjoy the second half of this album as a whole, which has boosted its overall rating. The instrumental has plenty of bounce to it and carries radio quality production. D Sloan spits motivational bars that could be inspiring to a lot of people. His matter of fact approach with a down to Earth tone will be likeable to many, but there is a noticeable simplicity to the content as he expresses his thoughts. A couple times D Sloan is caught repeating his lines in unnecessary fashion and almost causing the repetition in the hook to be too much, and ultimately causes “Celebrate Life” to be the third track on the album to nearly miss being named a Featured Track. In the big picture though, Celebrate Life is a nice way of closing out the album while adding some diversity to the content and continuing to prove D Sloan’s ability to entertain an audience.


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Featured Tracks

Alright, Ain’t Picture Perfect, and Burger Biz


The Write Up

D Sloan definitely grabbed my attention with New Levels Brings New Devils, displaying an incredible amount of potential by the time the album came to a close. He is able to switch up his speed and style of delivery in his flow, although he hits a couple bumps along the way when he uses an unorthodox approach. The content was pretty one sided in the beginning, but was able to spread out well into other areas by the end. Lyrically, D Sloan could benefit from stepping up his wordplay and punchline areas, but does a really good job sticking with topics, bringing relatable material in his lines, and not having any rhyme schemes that sound forced except for the few times he repeats his bars. More than anything, I feel D Sloan’s on his way to creating a classic that will deserve recognition by all hip hop fans, and New Levels Brings New Devils is a huge step in that direction.


Star Status

★★★.5

(3.5 out of 5 stars)

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