You’d think by his third studio release Blackbear would realize that it’s time to lay off the drugs and club girls, but he hasn’t changed a bit… and I’m not mad about it. Heartbreak, drugs, sickness, and sadness make the perfect cocktail for the sadboy album of the summer.
The album title Digital Druglord is no joke. Every single song references some sort of mood altering substance and the girls using. Blackbear himself only seems to have two moods (though he has a whole song describing a multitude of two moods): sipping Hennessy and doing “enough lines to spell your first and last name” in a single sitting. Despite this heavy focus on substance abuse, and perhaps because the emotions this helps Blackbear explore, this album is an emotional and comprehensive release.
“hell is where i dreamt of u and woke up alone” opens up the album with Blackbear exploring what it’s like to be in love with someone who no longer occupies your bed, as well as if his lifestyle that’s fueled by this emptiness is going to kill him. This song is an outlier on the album, not in subject matter, but in tone. It’s a very melodic and calming compared to what is to come.
Three minutes later, we finally get the first beat of the album with “moodz”, and it’s a punch in the face. The bass heavy drumbeats call for you to pay attention to Blackbear’s struggle with being the kind of guy who says “sleep is for the weak”, but also is “sleeping for a week”. The rest of the album continues at this level of self-deprecation and back and forth between being sad that the woman he perhaps loved is gone and being happy that she is.
As if his prior two releases didn’t give us enough insight into the type of girl who’s ruining his life, Blackbear delves into who she is, and what he misses about her, in “i miss the old u”. The ballad that wouldn’t be out of place at any dance club in the country describes a very ungrateful girl who can only be viewed as “the more the baddie, the more the bratty”. This becomes repetitive as we continue through the album to “do re mi”: another dance ballad about moving on from the same ol’ girl and onto “wish u the best” where he tells her that she won’t ever do better than him (quite the ironic statement from someone who constantly talks about how much of a piece of shit he is, but I digress). The same theme occurs throughout the rest of the album, and at some point it does become tiresome. It gets old to hear about a guy being so hurt by the same type of person over and over again and looking to drugs and Hennessy to numb his pain, but I guess there’s not much of a reason to listen to Blackbear if you can’t relate.
The album does have two saving graces: Juicy J and “if i could i would feel nothing”. Juicy J makes an appearance on a track aptly titled “juicy sweatsuits” and we’re incredibly blessed for it. If there’s any time that we need to have more Juicy J appearances, it’s 2017. The world is better for Juicy J appearing on this track, because it goes from being another dance track with the same beat as the one before to being another dance track with the same beat as the one before WITH A SHORT JUICY J VERSE… You can’t really complain about that. “if i could i would feel nothing” is by far the stand out track on the album. It’s an incredibly raw track about the desire to silence your feelings and become completely numb to the world. We see this vulnerable part of Blackbear where, in a very rare instance, he acknowledges the fact that he is actually incredibly ill and death is knocking at his door and how that actually affects his life (“I’m so sick of being tired. I’m so tired of being sick”). It’s not like seeing Blackbear’s emotion is a rare thing, but this level of honesty is the kind that makes you say “oh shit” and think about what’s really going on in this man’s life and how the toll the women and the weed are really taking on him.
It wouldn’t be a Blackbear album if it wasn’t focused on sadness, bad bitches, and copious amounts of drugs in a way that made you feel like your booty should be shaking the entire time and Blackbear definitely delivers, yet again.