ΠΔV is 32 year old rapper, singer, songwriter & producer from Toronto, Canada who came to my attention in 2016 after signing to The Weeknd’s very own Republic Records imprint X♥O Records & his verse/production on “beibs in the trap” off of Travis Scott’s sophomore effort Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. Even though the first brown boy to get it poppin’ has dropped a total of 3 full-lengths along with a 5 mixtapes & an EP since, I think that it’s been made pretty clear that I personally haven’t been the biggest fan of ΠΔV’s music up to this point. Primarily because of his robotic delivery, insipid lyrics & generic production choices (especially on Reckless & Bad Habits). However I did find the Wheezy-produced Emergency Tsunami to be ΠΔV’s best work to date, albeit not by much. I also think he’s always been a pretty solid producer so when I found out he was gonna return behind the boards for his 4th album over here, it definitely had me intrigued.
“Count on Me” is a psychedelic opener produced by Mike Dean talking about self-trust whereas “Baby” takes a more symphonic route thanks to Boi-1da telling his girl to relax & play her part. Lil Uzi Vert tags along for “Dead Shot” comparing themselves to that of the DC Comics villain of the same name over an uninteresting Pro Logic instrumental, but then Lil Baby & Travis Scott come into the picture for synth-trap hybrid “Never Sleep”laced by Tay Keith talking about building their respective legacies.
Continuing from there with “Last of the Mohicans”, we have ΠΔV over a cloudy beat asking God to protect him & asking why he took Lil Keed this past spring prior to the Future-assisted “1 Time” coming through with an intoxicating Wheezy instrumental talking about smashing bitches. BenjiCold brings a rage vibe to “Demons in My Cup” resolving his problems with lean just before “Playa” with Gunna has a more meditative flare to it boasting.
“Weirdo” shoots for a more woozier aesthetic talking about your favorite rapper winking at him whenever he speaks while “My Dawg” with Lil Durk has an aquatic vibe to the beat discussing loyalty. “Don’t Compare” dives into more heady turf talking about giving his girl the real him while “Interstellar” with Uzi weaves some wailing synths into the fold saying everything they do invasive.
Meanwhile on “Loaded”, ΠΔV jumps over a rich trap beat bragging that all of his pocket have exploded while RealestK gives us the weakest feature on the album on “Lost Me” despite the piano instrumental & themes of betraying one’s trust. “Reset” with Bryson Tiller is of course a decent trap/R&B fusion expressing their desires to start their relationships from scratch while “Mismatch” with the current King of Detroit himself Babyface Ray finds the 2 over dense Wheezy production asking not to be judged for their past.
The song “Wrong Decisions” was another solid choice for a single with it’s cloudy instrumental & it’s subject matter detailing the cons of fame while the penultimate track “Destiny” keeps the spacious beats coming talking about being who he was meant to become. “Ball in Peace” however is maybe the best closing track of a ΠΔV project yet, as it serves as a heart-wrenching tribute to his homie jayxxclusive3 that passed away earlier this year.
Although I’m a little disappointed that it’s not primarily self-produced like he originally said it was gonna be because ΠΔV’s always been a great producer in my eyes, Demons Protected by Angels is a surprisingly decent listen & quite possibly his most consistent body of work thus far. The songwriting is getting better, he sounds less robotic & more human than he did on a lot of his earlier work, the production’s more detailed & almost every feature comes correct also. Fingers-crossed that he’ll continue to improve from here.
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