Reported by Imani Wj Wright
"Until I'm big as Brad Pitt, Imma' be a savage. I had to steal mad shit, just so I could have shit."
The significance of vivid storytelling can not be overstated. Think about it for a second. We have forms of art like movies, photos, and paintings that give our eyes something to engage with and look at directly. We don't have to conjure any "idea" of what the visual is, in the literal sense at least– it is given to us. Though they may be the forms of art that provide the visual, they are not the only forms that create a visual experience. I can’t speak for everyone, but while I’m reading a book, I can’t help but imagine the text I’m reading. Is my imagination always aligned with the original vision of the author? EWho knows? But that’s the beauty of interpretation. The same body of text can create an endless amount of variations in people’s minds. And when you break it down, we’re all simply looking at black ink on white paper.
Though it isn’t a book, Old Bidges, an EP by artist Dre!, has the same effect.
While listening to this project, it is clear that Dre! wrote this piece with intent, and close attention. The focus put into this piece comes together from top to bottom. This is without a doubt a project. These were not a compilation of songs that were all thrown on a playlist. Quite the contrary, you're moving from chapter to chapter through 7 tracks. Feel the samples. The first soundbite you hear is from an older woman responding to the question of: "When y'all was younger, you wore lipstick like this?" She fervently responded: "Hell nah! That's for prostitutes. Womens that sell pussy on the street." Then immediately this cuts into the opening track: "Simple Life." These somewhat subdued, Retro Hip-Hop drums come into play and set the soundscape for what becomes a journey into Dre!'s multifaceted life. Remember when I mentioned our visual interpretation of something being skewed in comparison to the author's original vision? Well, we may have Dre! giving us a hint here with the EP cover. That lipstick on the woman's lips, is that the lipstick she claims she would never wear? Is that the lipstick she currently wears? There is some level of purpose behind that black & white photo, even through the mystique. The combination of his sound, along with this less than extravagant visual puts this artist into perspective– he's making us think, he wants us to think. This is clear within his lyrically dense verses and minimalistic production. However, his wit and obvious sense of humor does not only shine through his intricately woven verses, but also his fun hooks. This is prevalent on pieces like "Hollywood." Dre!'s monotone, but direct delivery on "Hollywood," gives us the semi-tone of a Biz Markie, with the lyrical style of a Slick Rick. This is a solid follow-up project to his 2020 release, Big Bidges.
Dre! Told SwanoDown:
I stuck to the same theme I used for the Dr. Bidges and Big Bidges projects, what I like to call self esteem music. I want people to listen to it and have fun, enjoy the stories, the wordplay, and most importantly make them feel better about themselves.
I definitely began with writing primarily to entertain myself, but now that my following has grown slightly, I keep [my audience] in mind, and I love to build off the momentum of the sound that got their attention in the first place.
Check out Old Bidges by Dre!: