42 Dugg – “Free Dem Boyz” review

42 Dugg is a 26 year old rapper, singer & songwriter from Detroit, Michigan breaking out a few summers back off the strength of his debut EP 11241 Wayburn. This would catch the attention of both Yo Gotti & Lil Baby, who jointly signed him to their respective labels Collective Music Group & 4PF Music shortly after. Dugg’s profile continued to grow in 2019 when he dropped his debut mixtape Young & Turnt, which was followed up last year by the sequel Young & Turnt 2. However, it’s all been leading up to his full-length debut over here.

The intro is a short, violin-laced trap banger much tells all his homies to call him whenever they need anything whereas the next song “Turnest N***a in the City” goes into a more hyphy direction as Dugg proclaims himself as such. The bragging continues on the brief, keyboard-laced “We Know” before he & Roddy Ricch hop over a Scorpions sample for “4 da Gang”.

Future tags along up on the atmospheric “Maybach” to talk about putting it on for their respective hometowns & the Einer Bankz-produced “Bestfriends” returns to a more Bay Area sound with the lyrics paying tribute to Dugg’s childhood friends. Lil Durk pulls up on the dreary “Alone” to express falling outs & being street cats forever & even though I like the heartfelt subject matter on “Still Miss My N****s”, the Rylo Rodriguez verse is atrocious.

The song “Free Merey” is a guitar ballad about how he & Merey will always be together while the Antt Beatz-produced “Quez Free” is a thumping anthem about what Dugg’s been up to lately. Right after that, “Please” is a cloudier cut saying that he’s “still got shit down” & then EST. Gee helps him get on the drug dealer tip on the grim “Rose Gold”.

“Judge Please” is a 2-minute hyphy banger crying out for help while the Fivio Foreign & Rowdy Rebel-featured “Still Catching Cases” feels like an off-the-cuff drill joint. Taz Taylor incorporates a piano & hi-hats on “It Get Deeper Pt. 2” as Dugg goes on about how he can’t be outscored & then the Murda Beatz-produced “And I Gangbang” is a lively gangsta rap cut.

The next 2 songs are all homages to 42 Dugg’s friends Woo & Skeet with the production sounding eerily similar to one another, but then we go into Bay territory one last time on the closer “Free Me” which is him showing y’all how life works.

I think to safe to say that Free Dem Boyz is without question Dugg’s most mature effort to date. Pretty sure we all knew he was gonna stick with that signature modern Detroit sound à la Sada Baby, but the lyrics are a lot more personal than they were on previous efforts.

Score: 3.5/5

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