Year In Review: "Still Waiting" @DarkskinDeVante

2017’s cup runneth over with good music, of all kinds.
From fun to enlightening. From singing to rapping.
From our hometown to yours and everywhere in between, we are dedicating the month of December to reviewing and reflecting on the music that helped make this year so important.

Devante (FKA Envy Hunter) is a great friend of mine. We are great friends because I heard his music one day then we talked about, now here we are.

First things first, you’d be hard pressed to find a pure spitter of higher quality than Devante, anywhere. And the progression his music has shown over the last few years is to be greatly appreciated. "Still Waiting" is a display of Devante’s transparent nature and raw lyrical ability; the production, supplied by Lix, is top notch and every second of the 10 track, 35 minute album is worth listening to. Really, really listening to. 

"Still Waiting" is one of those albums better appreciated in it's entirety from front to back, just as it is. At least the first time through. Skipping around could cause you to miss important parts of the story Devante is telling or under-appreciate the cohesive greatness of the album. There is a certain air of transparency through the entirety of "Still Waiting" that may make some uncomfortable. That is absolutely a part of what makes the album, and Devante as an artist, a strong force of every essential element of great hip hop. Hell, of great music period. 

There is no more appropriate way to begin an album like "Still Waiting" than a sample of Erykah Badu's Window Seat. Rightfully named Windows of My Soul, this intro finds Devante opening up his soul for anyone who is listening. His resonating voice and formidable words immediately command attention, not just ears. 

In case you pressed play on "Still Waiting" with any doubt to how talented Devante is, the moment he is done with Windows of My Soul, he starts spitting. Nah, let me say it again. He starts SPITTING. Without A Doubt, Night Show and Mindset are the definition of show and prove.  Mindset is a standout track that you may want to listen to a few times on repeat. As soon as you get to feeling comfortable, puffing your chest out, Devante's few moments of flex come to an end as quickly as they began with Savannah. Savannah comes in like a wrecking ball for your whole soul. After all those bars, an even more emotional aspect of Devante is opened up. What sounds and feels like a methodical shift in energy is yet another high point of "Still Waiting" and sets the stage for my personal favorite song on the album.

 Jarele Taylor Photography

Jarele Taylor Photography

If you are just scrolling through this review....


The combination of honesty and superb lyricism on Feedback still has me in awe when it comes on, which happens very frequently over here. Another moving aspect of "Still Waiting" is how natural it feels; Feedback is the perfect example of that. Devante spits an immaculate verse. Then the hook, then George Young spits an immaculate verse as well. Then the hook again. After that, the song fades out while I’m still wondering how I can live my life after this sort of emotional transparency has been laid on my ears. No part of "Still Waiting" feels forced; not one feature, not one beat, not one bar. As you move forward in the album that is even more apparent.

Still On It should be playing in all of your favorite clubs, honestly. It also marks the last feature on "Still Waiting" with show out performances by Mayalino and C-Striggs. The humble flexing done on Still On It creates a space for Devante to back door with even more fire. Friend Like Me and Look At What You Made Me Do are reminiscent of every artist you ever fell in love with, yet they hold their own and present a sound that is uniquely Devante. Both tracks make you take a step back and just, listen. Look At What You Made Me Do in particulate should be appreciated for the effortless way Devante gives us bar after bar packed with so many things we tend to disregard in everyday life. Not to mention the ode to HOV, it is flawless.

King is the first track I ever heard from "Still Waiting", sometime in early 2017, and from the intro to the first line, “ain’t that a b*tch how I been lacking inspiration lately?”, this song resonates to me stronger every time I hear it. Devante’s words on King surface a unique perspective on life and just, extisting that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

All in all, every part of "Still Waiting" is necessary. And dope. Listen to it in order, then go back and listen to whichever song caught your attention the most. Do this as many times as is necessary to process every part of it. Whether you are confident in where you are headed or weary from where you have been, Devante opens the floor for transparency and acceptance.  Devante’s "Still Waiting" is therapy and celebration, you shouldn’t finish 2017 without listening to it.

Stream below. 

Come back tomorrow and every day in December for Year in Review!