Mind the Gap is the debut EP from upcoming rapper Dustrial Dre. Between his single run this year, with includes songs like “Clear Soul” and “Iridescent,” and features like his appearance on “Hardy Boyz” of rising star Lord Sko’s album Museum, this young mc has built quite the name for himself.
Through six tracks that span across the course of 16 minutes, Dre puts together an experience that highlights his skillset and shows just why he will have a future in the rap game.
The record commences with the track “Missing Link,” a fiery anthem that immediately sells us on Dre. The charisma, the witty lyricism, and sharp technical ability are all traits that stick out, and with production from upcoming producer Arlo Walker, these skills only shine brighter. Speaking of Arlo, he produces five of the project’s six tracks, and his golden touch gives this ep a cohesive feel that it definitely benefits from. Just like we saw on Lord Sko’s Museum, Arlo Walker’s beatmaking skills serve as the glue to each track and give the record an identity anyone listening will remember it by.
Co-produced by the brilliant Toomanyflowers, he and Arlo showcase their production ability to the max on the track “Loose Ends.” With a minimalistic instrumental, Dustrial Dre shines through as he raps in a much softer pocket, giving the entire song a very intimate feel. This moment feels like you are sitting down with Dre, and you can understand some of the defining qualities he has beyond his rapping skills. His spirit is at the center of everything. It powers him to create the most creative punchlines and steers him into showcasing to listeners who he really is at his core.
This momentum leads into “Stiching the Steam,” which is one of the more intense cuts on the entire project. Between the chopped-up soul sample and Dre’s rapid-fire cadence and bars that contour what people in his life wanted him to be and how he is following his own path is inspiring. “Daring To Abide” is another strong track as the project continues to raise its stakes. The jazzy instrumental sounds so crisp, and Dre’s smooth vocals mesh together so well in this environment. When it comes to the content in this track, it continues to flesh out both Dustria Dre’s mc skills while also giving us more background into his life beyond the booth. Hearing bars that hint to some of the experiences Dre has endured in his life is quite intriguing and makes you hope that as he progresses through his music career, we get more focused content about his reality.
The otherwordly, “Spacetown” is the ultimate standout on the record due to its intoxicating instrumental and serious demeanor from Dustrial Dre. From his delivery to the subject matter, this is one of the more personal showcases from Dustrial Dre to this point. His commanding tone asserts his dominance over the track, and the way the climatic beat coincides with his writing enhances both sides of the song.
Bringing the record to a close, “Devil in New York (Remix)” gives us one more ballad from Dre where he continues to push his artistry to the next level. Sonically, this cut is pretty different from the rest of the lp, as the instrumental here is a lot more upbeat and layered as opposed to the minimalistic loops on the other tracks. This vibrant beat brings out a different side of Dustrial Dre as we see him bring a lot more energy to the microphone. Between this level of intensity, his bars which remain as smooth as ever, and the instrumental which is beautiful from its drum pattern to its vocal sample, this is a special moment and a great finale for Mind the Gap.
All in all, Mind the Gap is nearly a perfect EP in terms of making an impression coming out of the gate. From Dustrial Dre’s bars to the production choices, he makes all six of these songs super memorable and ones that can be listened to in any setting. Going forward, I’m super excited to see where Dustrial Dre goes next as his skills seem to be pointing towards that he will be around in this rap game for a very long time. In addition to Dre, this project further highlights how gifted producers Arlo Walker and Toomanyflowers are. Looking at all of this, if there is one thing this ep proves, it’s that we are witnessing the future of hip hop unfold right before our eyes, and names like Dustrial Dre, Arlo Walker, Toomanyflowers, and Lord Sko are at the forefront of this new era.
EP Rating: 3.5/5
Written By: Mr. Fantasitc, owner and founder of Fantastic Hip Hop