Byline: Devon Campbell
Photo: A picture of Da$h or a picture of the album cover
“I have this theory,” Da$h says in an interview with Mass Appeal from 2018, “you’re either really good, or you’re really bad. If you fall in the gray area you don’t matter.” Da$h, a rapper from Hackensack is no stranger to being on the former end of that spectrum. His latest studio album “Walk The Plank” is quality rap music. From the chilling, hard-hitting production done by $crimm of $UICIDEBOY$ fame, to Da$h’s signature larger-than-life delivery.
The first scraps of “Walk The Plank” started to surface around March of 2019, when Da$h dropped a single of the same name. It was clear where the direction of the project was going, sporting a haunting piano loop with percussion that could shake a room. The rest of the album leans into this style, making every song feel like it follows a brooding but braggadocious supervillain, painting an ominous picture. “Found loot, sittin’ poolside, know they pay me to be here,” he says in his song “Burnt Fingers.” “They know I’m important, everything I’m recordin’.” Da$h doesn’t want to be the hero, his messages aren’t made to be uplifting or positive.
The grimy production speaks to his Garden State origins, as the whole project manages to feel very “Jersey.” The bustling nature of all the beats perfectly illustrates the unpredictability of city life. Da$h almost doesn’t require punch lines when delivering his lyrics, everything he says pulls no punches and gets right to the point. There’s some room for metaphor and hyperbole but the distinct lack of exaggeration when delivering most of these lines tends to heighten the sense of authenticity. He doesn’t need to take these compositional risks, they’d only dilute the rough visceral content of the songs.
Overall this project feels complete and tonally consistent throughout. “Walk the Plank” is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The album is easily digestible, it’s not so inaccessible as to berate the listener with things you might only gain an appreciation for upon repeated listens, e.g. 100 Gecs or JPEGMAFIA. Every song is different but similar enough to “fit” the album, they all work stylistically. “If you’re not gonna go for gold, what the f*ck is the point of competing,” Da$h says in the same interview mentioned earlier, and I think it’s very clear that he did exactly that.