Welcome to LOOSIES, the debut project from R.Davis and Nast E. Beats who go by the name DON’T MISS. Throughout 14 tracks that span over 37 minutes, the duo wreaks havoc on the listeners showing why they are the next biggest thing in hip hop.
The record opens up with the sonically smooth but topically abrasive “Cigarettes.” Here, R. Davis raps over a jazzy instrumental from Nast E. where he shows how smoothly he can transition between flows and pockets while also showcasing the artistic ability we will see serve as the lead role for the record’s entire duration. The way he is able to converse with the audience, go on brief internal monologues, and come off as both comical and deranged is truly special, and something that may feel familiar but is far from the territory that feels stale.
The next song, “Haze,” turns stylistically into something much darker. The beat samples a phrase that sounds like it says, “only sunrise,” but the lyrics from R. Davis that focus on his struggles with mental health, which make the bright beams the instrumental projects feel so cloudy. This moment shows just how dictating and commanding R. Davis’s pen game can be. Something that I appreciate from Davis here is how honest he is about his personal struggles. On top of having the courage to talk about such subjects, he does not dramatize these issues, making them feel relatable and more understandable to their target audience.
“Manifest” might as well be DON’T MISS’S signature song with its memorable performance from Daivs, which is conveyed through his animated vocals and bars, summing up what makes the pairing of DON’T MISS so special. Nast E. Beat’s instrumental energy perfectly matches the vocals of Davis as his intense drums and sampling create the perfect firestorm.
“Crwn” is a gem in the tracklist with its soulful instrumental that allows R. Davis to play to the best of his abilities with an amazing hook and sets of verses that are hands down his best to this point. Between the conscious bars to the memorable wordplay, this young MC shows just how well-rounded his skill set is, bouncing between an array of pockets and flows during this entire spectacle. Similar to “Haze”, DON’T MISS’S honesty and openness towards their struggles have been some of the biggest selling points on the tracklist so far and puts the record in a position to grow perfectly from here.
“Black Boy Joy” continues to go into the more introspective side of R. Davis but focuses on African Americans and what makes their culture beautiful as opposed to just his own life. The empowering lyrics and vibrant production will make anyone listening remember what Rashad is saying while at the same time making them want to dance. The drum pattern on this track is amazing with its crisp sound and unmatched rhythm. The passion and fire in R. Davis’s voice show how he can step up and sound so mature when tasked with talking about something bigger than himself. With all of the messaging of self-love and empowerment in this track, it wouldn’t surprise me if this track is cited as the fan-favorite moment off the album.
“More Than We Are” focuses on a love connection that R. Davis had and how it ended up failing. He focuses on the idea of creating a different reality of this person than who they truly were. This is definitely something almost everybody has experienced, so hearing Rashad talk about such a relatable struggle and also go on to detail the story through the experiences that sunk this bond turns this-worldly struggle many have been through into a moment where it just feels like you had a sit-down conversation with Davis about why you are both single.
“Humble” switches the tone of the record with an instrumental that is more lively with its tense drums and sped-up soul sample, and as soon as R. Davis begins his verse, he begins to send out firey jabs at somebody who he is trying to impress. He is infatuating over a female, presumably who he wants to be with, and is talking about all that makes him special to achieve this. Hearing Davis’s ego blow up like this is quite comedic, and with how musically sound the track is, it’s certainly a nice addition to the experience.
“Nast E.’s Freestyle” shows Nast E. Beats rapping over his own production for once as we learn of his own skills as an mc. While its clear he’s not as sound as Davis in both his pen game and flow, the track adds a nice layer to the record, hearing the mastermind behind DONT’S MISS’s buttery beats take control of the entire moment. Any fan of the duo will definitely love this track and see it for its full value.
“Idris Elba” is an anthem that pushes the skills of Davis as an MC to the max. His wordplay is to the max here with an array of memorable punchlines and clever lyrical comparisons that open up the track to new sections of his verses. The instrumental sounds like something J. Dilla would have made through its lavish textures and chords, and although the track is somewhat short, being under two minutes, all it takes is this much time for Davis and Nast E. to leave the listener’s mind blown from arguably the best moment sonically on the entire lp.
The track “Daisy Chain” is the ultimate highlight of the album. It’s a near five-minute anthem where Davis pours his heart out with one of the most emotional and moving performances I have heard from a rapper in this entire decade so far. He is pouring out everything he has ever thought of here, and through the aggression in his vocals and the constant switches of his pockets, we can see how special this young rapper is. Speaking of switches, Nast E. Beats displays an array of beat switches on the track that evolves with Davis’s performance. The track starts off dark and gritty and as Davis goes deeper into his bag, Nast E’s instrumentals keep building up to a finale that is one of the most beautiful and powerful beats I have heard in a very long time. In the final beat switch, Daivs lets everything out. Why he writes music, why he is doing everything he is and there is no word to describe this mind-blowing experience other than beautiful. This moment shows DON’T MISS reach a high that some artists dont reach in their entire careers. On their first record and not even ten songs, they figured it out, and if this is the ceiling they have reached already, I’m scared to see what is next.
After the soothing “Smoke Break (Interlude),” which eases the tension from the previous track, “Smile!” brings us into the closing act of the record, where we see R. Davis display a completely new side of himself. Over the soulful and static instrumental, Davis is rapping in a much softer packet as he reminisces on some of his biggest mistakes. He questions if he is happy and ponders upon how his life got to this point. Overall, this track does a masterful job at showing the general confusion of how depression and self-hatred is created within one’s mind and further fleshes out the highly desired skillset of R. Davis.
“Ease the Pain” builds on the previous tracks’ ideas, further establishing the darker thoughts that plague R. Davis’s mind. He talks about the cycle of life and how one tries to heal themselves in a world where they are never truly able to. The instrumental here is truly therapeutic and adds the perfect layer of emotion to complement the lost spirit of R. Davis here. Its bittersweet hearing about his experience to purity, and although there may be many dark days ahead, the hand Davis holds out to the listener to show they are not alone is the most beautiful part of this moment.
“Dntfckwthme” closes things once and for all with Davis turning back into his aggressive side but in a much more refined manner. He is getting any last bit of smoke out of his body and sets the tone not to take advantage of him or cross him anymore. After all the emotions and ideas he has faced with himself in this record, Davis does everything to close out the final page in this chapter of his life. Nast E’s instrumental here is beautiful, with amazing drums (as usual) and a beautiful vocal sample that ties everything together. The final verse from Davis shows him switching his style entirely and calling back to “Cigarettes” as he poses the question of why would he do something? He finds the answer, and it’s that “everybody wants to be loved.” He closes this proposition by flipping all of the tracks’ names into one final masterful verse. There is really no better way to close out this album if you ask me.
LOOSIES puts everything DON’T MISS has been praised for into action with a 14 track 37-minute experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the project’s entire duration. Wasting no time grabbing your attention with the intro track “Cigarettes,” we are welcomed to the dystopia R. Davis and Nast E. have made their amusement park within. Through the dark humor embedded in each line and the soulful but chaotic loops that accompany them, DON’T MISS showcases just how fun they can be while also showcasing the slate of topics thy can go into depth about. They can be in your face and comical in moments like “Manifest,” and “Idris Elba” yet can unravel conscious and powerful thoughts in cuts like “Black Boy Joy” and “Haze.” Whether the moment is filled with sheer pain or total joy, the amount of emotion this duo puts into their craft is reflected through every moment, with even the weakest cuts here being filled with so much passion. All in all, for a duo to be so ready from the gates and put together a project as enjoyable as this surely shows how ready DON’T MISS is for the moment and how good they can be in the future.
Stream Loosies Below:
Written By: Mr. Fantastic