YERR! Donnie Durag & Kimchisawce Take It Back To The Roots
Tre Yung, a.k.a. Donnie Durag never stops working. Earlier this year he dropped the critically acclaimed album Dark N’ Sharp. It was a beautifully-crafted cohesive album wherein he displayed originality, lyrical skill, and mass appeal. It made a strong case for why he deserves to break through to the next level of recognition.
Then, on October 20th, he proved it again by dropping Yerr, showcasing the same skills, only this time packaged in a more organic soundscape crafted by fellow Brooklyn based producer, Kimchisawce. You’re in for a relaxing ten tracks laced with catchy lines and hooks, some of which are provided by the familiar and equally talented collaborators. Just press play and enjoy the ride.
The first track lets the listener know what they’re getting into. If you don’t appreciate Hip Hop in its most traditional form, you’ll be uninterested in this project. “Chicken & Waffles” serves as a preface that weeds out uncultured ears. Short and sweet, Donnie and High Grades go bar for bar between Kimchi’s muddy kicks and snares. It sounds like a quiet and peaceful brunch. A nice intro.
“Fronto” is similar to the prior track in regards to its introductory motives, but has a harder edge. Donnie gives us more bars that speak to reality, both present and future: “Charismatic nigga but I hate being social/ but how else am I gonna take this shit bi-coastal? Like I know I’m ‘posed to…” Sky Johnson’s delivery and flow in his verse are particularly smooth. High Grade's verse contrasts nicely. As he mentions in his verse, his delivery can be described as “heavy-bodied.” All three of them sound like masters of the craft. No hooks needed. Just flawless rap skills.
"Blamo," the project’s lead single, carries the torch with an extremely crowd-friendly hook that rides Kimchi’s beat perfectly. The hook, like the verses, never employ melody, and the beat has a modern bounce, with organic yet crisp drums. The sample is a very simple melody, with bass to match it exactly. It’s not necessarily an important part of the beat. This means that this song is perfect for remixing. Live bands can play the track with the same drum pattern but can fluctuate the melody. Donnie has played with live bands before so upon hearing the track, this idea came to mind. Hopefully one of you readers will be lucky enough to see him perform this song live. If so, you’ll be in for a real treat.
“I got one foot in the door, I got one foot in they ass…” Donnie’s self-awareness shows on "Need It, Get It, Got It." He’s a wise man sharing his own experience and giving listeners free game. Also, I don’t know who mixed and mastered this project, but the beat used for this song is even cleaner than the last. This gem of a track is followed by a humorous sound bite involving someone paying for an expensive slice of pizza. It’s the little things, you know?
"Pepper Jack & Sawcelito" is simply a raw track. The beat’s sample is ominous, with drowned out drums and minimal high hat placement. High Grades comes for blood: “The weed give me angel wings, the liquor give me horns, and my heart turned me king like a crown full of thorns.” This is definitely a song to play in the night time. Afterward, "Parkside" turns back the hands of time to a song that’s reminiscent of a purple and pink evening sky. Employing a jazzy main sample, Kimchi delivers a thick and bassy canvas for Donnie to paint on. On this track particularly, they sound like the second coming of Curren$y and Ski Beats. No biting, just inspiration making way for new and highly enjoyable creation.
"Jiffy" brings the edge back with another dark sample, this time paired with distorted 808 bass notes. Both follow the same rhythm but with slightly different melodic directions. A guest appearance by Chubs reminds listeners of the importance of trimming fat. Speaking to the Lord, he states “there’s only so much weight my life can carry.” Relatable indeed.
"Push Ups & Kool-Aid" is a banger. There is something to be said about rappers who follow in the footsteps of the greats. When I think of why Rakim was so important to rap in the late eighties, I think about how he carefully chose words and phrases that perfectly (or almost perfectly) fit together. I’m not just talking in terms of rhyme schemes. Listeners could tell how smooth his lyrics came out as they were recited. Donnie and Sky Johnson are students of the game with their sonically pleasing verses over yet another hypnotic sample-driven Kimchi beat. “She say we friends, I fuck her once, now she want more than that/ her older sister bad as fuck and she ain’t holding back.” An effortless and sinister cut.
"Mutumbo" is a testament to the come up Donnie has created for himself in 2019. The mood of the beat mirrors Donnie’s tales of endurance, inspiration, and focus. This time Donnie gets a bit meta with lines like, “Kimchi with the sauce, wait till we get sample clearance, talents lowkey overbearing/ Ya girl love my music I can see she always share it.” The seriousness returns quickly with another guest verse from High Grades: “Flows aquarian but the words spread like cancer.” Then after a hard day of lyrical labor, the project ends like a sunset with "Herbs For Thought," a climax similar in style to the intro. “I done seen some reach the top then crash back to the floor/ Took my notes so now I know how it go moving forward.” A gentle closer, the track exemplifies the themes of the project as a whole: beats, rhymes, and introspection.
Yerr! was a pleasing project. Far from a solo effort, the chemistry between all artists involved was put on full display. With that said, the star of the show is Tre Yung, the flower who blossomed twice in one year.
Tap in here. Enjoy!