• Mon, Sep 27, 2021
Reviews

Dxvta Takes A Thoughtful Approach

7.0

album Reviews Jul 23, 03:58pm

His EP ‘Umar 18’ is rough around the edges but there’s plenty to like

Delhi rapper Dxvta is a relatively fresh face in the scene; his EP ‘Umar 18’ is a bit of a statement in that regard. Early releases from artists don’t have the unfinished and unsure nature they once did. These days, artists take the time to put in a lot of effort both musically and sonically before they put out a project that announces them on the Indian indie stage, so to speak. Hell, most of them even have marketing campaigns before they have anything even resembling a catalogue. Well, Dxvta might not have all that, but he does have some great verses on here that are backed by some pretty sick production and some decent storytelling. Would one expect much more than that? Probably not.

The production is a huge part of why this EP works. There is a nocturnal and almost conversational flow to his bars, and that’s by no accident given the sounds they’re set against. Melodic leads, drums that are sometimes boom-bap and sometimes trappy but quiet all the same, small little flourishes of tone; there’s some meat to the instrumentation here. Of course, this kind of woozy, nocturnal presentation screams one thing: introspection. Most of the things Dxvta talks about are related to the mental health troubles he lives with, his early life and his current state. Music is cathartic for the person who makes it at times, and that spirit of survival really shines through on the EP. The first track ‘Cheekh’ is easily a standout here; everything comes together beautifully. The light autotune on his voice is a little plasticky but his sincerity is palpable. ‘Khwaab’ is a much more subdued number. The drums don’t really pop but it doesn’t sound like they’re supposed to, as he talks about the more overwhelming emotional moments he goes through and his helplessness in those times. ‘Wafa’ has an absolutely delicious acoustic guitar sample that pretty much hard carries the song. Besides that, his delivery has a bit more steel and venom and the drums slap more than usual. ‘Humble’ is where he shows off his chops and speed; the very 2018 soundcloud rap-type instrumental both compliments it and also doesn’t have enough oomph, it feels like. The EP ends with the title track which stays in the same emotional space but seems to solve the problems that pull down the previous track to an extent. The trap drums pop and the sample seems to stay out of the way instead of being a full accompaniment to his flow.

There is so, so much, potential on this EP. Dxvta shows that he can hang with the best of them while attaching an amount of emotional resonance to his music. This particular aspect of ‘Umar 18’, its honesty, is its biggest asset. There are, of course, a couple of foibles; some of the ad-libs are a bit tacky and even when they’re not, they’re miles back in the mix. His flow is strong but there are times when everything else doesn’t compliment it as perfectly as it could. But these are small things, and the big picture is that this is a good, solid release.

 

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