As one of New York’s emerging lyricists, comparing Deem Spencer to the mainstream’s typical emo-trap/rap emcee’s can seem like a bit of a stretch, but the Queens protege has been quite vulnerable on his last two projects, stemming from personal upheaval, despair and emotional struggles.
On 2017’s, “We Think We Alone,” Deem Spencer showcased a foggy and grieving account of his psyche after the death of his grandfather. 2019’s, “Pretty Face,” illustrates another emotional turmoil that Deem faces, but from a different set: his ongoing battle to sustain the romantic relationship with his long time girlfriend.
If “We Think We Alone” engulfed Deem at his darkest state, then “Petty Face” certainly strips Deem at his core, revealing the introvert’s most heartbreaking and tormentuous feeling of love lost. Which I would think seems as a rarity for the emcee’s stern, some-what cold demeanor, that Deem portrays both on and off the stage.
For the duration of the album, Deem attempts to salvage what’s left of his 4-year relationship, which is painfully expressed through his emotional depth, quirky muted vocals and a gloomy creative approach. The record is laid out over a statement that Deem gnarly croons in repetition on the album’s first track - “Really, I been tryna tell shorty how beautiful shorty is to me but shorty not tryna hear it from me - “ which is ingenuously the album’s track list read out in a sentence.
With its aesthetic storytelling and lyrically raw honesty, this record displays Deem at his best, and yet worst ways, as he struggles to identify with his own vulnerability and grief over a solid and beautiful production that carries the young emcee on every track.
Some of our favorites on this record are “Is,” “Tryna Tell” and “Not Tryna Heart It.” All excellent tracks that you can add to your playlist this weekend.
Listen to “Pretty Face” today - out now on all music streaming platforms.