Childish Major Is Ready To Be A Hometown Hero
Photo credit: @balaworks on Instagram
Childish Major begins his latest project Dirt Road Diamond with an emphatic self-meditation, rapping as if he’s looking directly at his own reflection in the mirror:
“You tryna be catchy, tryna catch you one huh? Angry emotions got the best of you huh? You talk ‘bout hell like it’s heaven, you second guessin’ the reverend. You let women get the best of you huh?”
This bold transparency bleeds unwaveringly throughout the entire 35-minute runtime of the rapper slash producer’s follow-up to 2017’s Woo$ah.
Although he’s seen relative success within the music industry as a producer — he was responsible for Rocko’s 2013 smash “U.O.E.N.O”— and more recently as a solo artist (his two full-length projects are critically-acclaimed and he made an appearance on Dreamville’s compilation album earlier this year), the South Carolina native born Markus Randle remains level-headed and down-to-earth. Like the rest of us, he’s experiencing the shortcomings of life while constantly being plagued by “necessary pressure.” At one point he struggles with being monogamous, another he navigates through the hate that comes with fame, at another he details his strained relationship with his father. He isn’t perfect and he knows it. If it’s one thing that Childish Major is for sure, it’s self-aware.
Major is in prime behind the boards on Dirt Road Diamond. His deeply personal anecdotes about various situationships, his tumultuous upbringing, feelings of inadequacy, and his uncertainty about the future are laced behind sultry, lo-fi chords and head-bobbing drums. He consistently flexes his versatility as both a producer and an equally viable artist. The sound is more polished and developed than his previous effort, and he sounds more comfortable in his pocket. Features from the likes of Buddy, EarthGang’s Olu, a standout chorus from Tish Hyman, and a surprising vintage verse from Ludacris help to round out the project.
Dirt Road Diamond is both a triumphant and meditative return to Childish Major’s roots. On “To My Little Homies” he pays homage to his rural hometown: “Watch your mouth about some Carolina shit. This for them boys still in the sticks, sippin’ gin and fightin’ pits.” You’d only know what he was talking about if you grew up where he did. There are several other references to Carolina throughout the project, and it’s evident through Major’s unapologetic country drawl that he didn’t forget where he came from — he takes pride in it.
Throughout Dirt Road Diamond, he progressively comes to terms with being a hometown hero and willingly accepts the pressure that comes with being a budding star. He confidently affirms on album‘s outro “Shine”: “Pressure on my shoulder, weight of world. Man, the world ain't fair. But put this on my life, I'ma shine this year.”