Bar Exam: Dru Bex – In God’s Good Time (Album)
A One Listen Album Review – Dru Bex “In God’s Good Time”
Dru Bex’s “In God’s Good Time” is my newest exam. Excited to share my thoughts on this record with you this week. As you know, I was able to interview him recently and we talked quite a bit about creativity and how the goodness of God has an affect on everyone’s story. This is a theme that is heavily represented on Dru’s two most recent projects, and a magnificent launching pad for worship. Lot’s of inspiring things happen when you decide to fully surrender to God. Check it out.
“Lessons In Time” is the first track of the album, featuring Mission. The intro is reminiscent of an orchestra warming up, with some guitars and flutes layered on top of each other. There’s a vocal sample with sopping wet reverb on it that comes in, alluding to time just before the beat drops. There’s a brass section that’s prevalent in the instrumental here, and the tempo really picks up as Mission brings in a melody. It’s fresh.
“Give God control you stop drop and roll this that fire/that rock and roll/The grave had a rolling stone we lift Him higher”
All kinds of vibes on this one man. These verses come at you fast, and the hook is in a falsetto tone that is quite endearing. You’re getting a lot thrown at you right here at the top but it’s packaged perfectly.
Mad Man With The Wordplay
We jump into track two, “IGGT.” There are some breaks straight away, a split second before Dru brings his lyrical heat to the table.
“Me and my bros like the Rat Pack/But the beef Frank this Sinatra old back pack/Rap this is buffalo backs that/you can track back and watch a buffalo back track”
Crazy wordplay on this verse, and the instrumental drops us in nicely to the chilled out R&B hook. I love the juxtaposition of the crazy verses that smack you in the face, but then the finger snappin’ soul on the hooks. Dru talks about an exchange he had with Andy Mineo, and this struggle of feeling like you’re ready before God really says you are. “It all comes around in good time.” Ain’t that the truth?
“Clockwise” starts in with some tongue clicks and an ear worm type hook that stays with you. “Never turn back, only go clockwise.” “Go Ham, never chicken out/never go popeyes” He’s got me smirking at some of these punchlines here. He has so many cultural references, from Justin Timberlake to Mr. T. “Need a hit they call me.” This song is about moving forward, letting the past be the past and keeping your feet moving forward. Shopé stops by for a tight verse.
Next up is “Gotta Go” featuring Jeremy Rodney Hall and Wande. This beat rides nicely. There’s a whooshing sound over the top of it, almost like a bus slowing down to let passengers off. There’s so many levels of Dru Bex represented here. He starts this one off with an upbeat but a pause heavy verse. The first time this hook comes in, it’s a little difficult for me to digest. That whooshing sound paired with a very forward and intense vocal performance from Jeremy isn’t working for some reason. Another thing that I notice with this track is the concept is very similar to the last song. Placement of songs on an album is important, so this is probably on purpose “I can’t stay here, I’ve gotta move on.” Dru’s performance once again is on point though. Not losing any energy here, just maybe hitting speed bumps at this point. All of this leads into a spectacular verse from Wande. Yeah she kills it. The outro is a bit shaggy, but the fade out is a good move.
Pedal To The Metal
It’s a good move because on the next track Dru keeps the foot on the pedal. “Buzzer Beater” doesn’t give the listener a breath before bringing in the hook. This bass is banging and rumbling underneath this crunk-style of a beat. Roy Tosh is on the first verse, and he laces it with part bars, part melodies for a very well constructed performance. Phil J slows up the flow with confidence, and picks up the swag masterfully. Dru closes out this track not without this beat switching up though and I’m gawking at this heat. There’s some back beat and reggae feels here, with Dru’s melodic flow over the top. This is a dope track.
“Number” has an unknown vocalist singing this Chorus. “I’m a brother from the east side/please can I get your number.” For real though I am thrown back to high school and TQ’s track “Westside” with this chilled out hip-hop/pop vibe, it’s super nice. It’s all melodies on this track and I’m okay with it. The beat is filthy, and verses are incredibly soothing.
The next track is entitled “Delorean” and I’m hearing a lot of Drake influences suddenly. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing. Conceptually he’s asking someone to take a ride in his car. “Get out of my dreams, into my car” kind-of-thing. It’s a straight up dance floor type of vibe. It makes me wish I could dance.
Bro, musically this album is terrific. “The Times” keeps the bar high on the instrumental beds. Hyper Fenton brings in his buttery vocals to kick this one off. Dru uses this song to issue a plea to a perceived significant other to not lose their mind when life is hard. All the layers that are thrown in as the song progresses are chilling. The drum beat started out simply, but moves to double time, keeping the listener engaged. 3/4 of the way through the song there is some sampling and phasing that switches up the track. This is a fun track. Dru is firing on all cylinders here.
Once again I submit how important song placement is when constructing an album. When I first heard “Midnight in Miami” I didn’t know what to do with it. But here, tucked in a stream full of melodies and chilled out pop textures, it works for me. While I find it to be “At The Bar” compared to the rest of Dru’s work on this project, it’s great to let this song shine before people hear it in the context of the album. It gives people context for what to expect for the rest of the album. Here I feel like it might be a slump buster because of the familiarity here compared to the rest of this section. I will say I’m ready for more bars now though.
“Up At 1am” is another JAM. Jeremy Rodney brings another hook. I don’t find the EQ on his voice to be as intense as before, and he sets the precedence for another introspective R&B joint. “No one’s around to talk to me.” Man, throughout this album the music keeps grabbing you in all different ways. I’m not sure we stay with the same loop for longer than a minute. It’s refreshing and keeps anticipation high. Alana brings some smoothness in a verse. I love how the melody climbs and how she brings more heart to the performance the higher she sings. This song sounds like another instance of pondering and navigating the difficulties of a relationship. The beat changes, bringing in a totally different vibe from the rest of the track, and we’ve got Dru spittin bars again. “Wait on the Lord.” “they don’t see you when you’re praying they just think you’re lacking faith.”
All Of The Vibes
Another southern beat with some dope vocal samples laid in, “Closing Time” keeps rolling with melodic perfection. “You ain’t gotta go home, but you gotta get up/closing time/time to see yourself out.” Dru is rapping at a muse about his pride and ego. “Turning tables over this type of whip ain’t a car.” I feel like this song is a commentary on the brokenness of people who we put on a pedestal. It’s a great song, and the flavor here is so different from what I’m used to vibing with. All above the bar.
The final track, “Maybe Then” begins with synth and keys that grow into the first verse. the hook comes in before the beat drops. I love this choice. The melody captures you in a good way, and when the beat comes in it’s another bump up. The topic here is feeling like eventually you will be fulfilled. Just a little more money, just a few more people at the concert, just a nicer car… and “Maybe then” I’ll stop trying to live up to my own expectations. “Maybe then I’ll just let go/Maybe then I’ll stop comparing and just let go.” I love the way he frames this concept, it’s like we’re inside his thoughts, rather than him talking at us.
“Who cares that I’m not the saddest/Who cares that I’m living way above the average/Who cares that I work with Dru Bex making matters/Who cares that there’s lots of folks that wish they had this/I should not complain but it’s not like I planned this/I thought that at my level I’d escape the madness”
Quinten Coblentz speaks the truth for the last verse of the album, and it’s a cherry on top of a spectacular project. “God is good/do I need more?”
I’m not sure I could point out my favorite track. There’s so much versatility present on this one album, and every beat is different from the others. This was an outstanding sonic experience and I couldn’t be more happy to say it’s Above the Bar and one of the best of the year.