Rick Da Don hails from Detroit Michigan, and has been emceeing for over 23 years. His multiple college degrees both help explain his range as an artist, and ability to think outside the box. Rick started out as a young hustler on the blocks of Joy Road and Hubbell (a rough Detroit neighborhood). On Joy Road, he had to pray, hustle, fight, sell, and stay strapped in order to survive the many challenges he faced on a daily basis. He dropped his first project in 2011, entitled “Immunity”, and then followed that up with “All State Press” (2012) and “The Rick Da Don LP” (2014). Now in 2017 he completes the trilogy with the album entitled, “The Last Laugh”.
Hip-hop is now in its fifth decade, and so well established that it can produce its own nostalgists – artists still in love with the ‘golden age’ of hip-hop and talented enough to reproduce its intrinsic values in an updated modern style. Such is Rick Da Don, a rapper whose sound and style has no fear of measuring itself with that of the “golden age” of mid-90s hip-hop.
His flow flits between then and now; he re-purposes classic-styled rhymes gone by and spits braggadocio of today. Of this album’s 12 tracks, many feature, retooled, revamped and reloaded sounds that will get the pulses of hip-hop heads racing. Rick Da Don is bright and sparky, and the organic-sounding instrumentation is in contrast to many of today’s programmed-sounding electronic rhythms.
At an age when most people are just beginning the thought process of where they’ve gone with their lives, Rick Da Don is not only staking his claim in the hip hop realm but has also taken up the hefty task of throwing it on its back with the release of “The Last Laugh”. “Can he deliver? Will he stray away from what brought him to the table?” Thankfully for Rick Da Don fans, he sticks to the script and basically picks up where nineties hip-hop left off.
These banging but melodic soundscapes allow Rick to do what he does best. A Rakim-styled lyricist, his strength is that he evokes plenty of emotion to go with the words. While most rappers today are either banging on wax or selling fictitious amounts of drugs, he’s delivering a heartfelt ode to life and speaking words of encouragement to whomever is locked down in the system.
He’s also great at hooks, an art-form that seems to be lost on a lot of rappers nowadays. With this album, he’s giving you actual songs as opposed to just three verses with a hook to bridge them. The first two tracks after the intro, “Been Through It, Came Through It” and “Grey Fire” are nothing more than pure, early 90’s rap for a new generation. Hard rhyming and hard beats, with the former imploring the listener to do nothing more than check the style.
And Rick Da Don certainly has a distinct style. The tracks featuring Alicia Renee – “Oprah” (feat. Alicia Renee) and “Light up the Sky” (feat. Alicia Renee & Binks), are also prime cuts, due to the introspection and pensive rhymes that help Rick standout far beyond the comparisons to ’90s emcees.
“The Last Laugh” shows that Rick Da Don is out to make a name by creating music in 2017 that stands on its own, even if its foundation is rooted in his greatest influences of the past. Rick Da Don has released an excellent project that’s sure to be on many year-end best-of lists in and it may even inspire a new generation to dig into the crates for gems they missed.
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