Up-and-coming Chicago-area female singer and rapper Dreezy’s debut album is a showcase of potential that hasn’t yet been realized. Coming off moderate hit “Body”, inching ever so closely to the Billboard Top 50, No Hard Feelings is full of laid-back R&B numbers of the same, average calibre, as well as the majority of the tracks consisting of Dreezy’s raps in some capacity, either taking up the whole song or being relegated to serve the purpose of a featured rap verse on a more vocal-based song, though she takes charge of both. The album is tied together by numerous skits which tell a continuous story and introduce the themes of the forthcoming songs, which is always a pleasure to see even if this particular story of a love triangle which ends violently is quite basic and was probably added after the fact rather than built around, like the best concept albums are.
The main problem with this project is what feels like an apparent lack of passion, which in turn extends to a larger problem of a dearth of creativity. It feels like we have heard all this before. While Dreezy does at time exhibit bursts of energy, usually to match a particularly interesting beat like on the opening 2 tracks “We Gon Ride” and “Spazz”, but a lot of the time it is simply too boring – mostly due to the fact that Dreezy herself sounds unconvinced of her words and not caring enough to deliver a stellar performance. It sounds almost like Drake’s lazy approach to “Started from the Bottom”, but stretched out across an entire album. “Bad B*tch” in particular sounds incredibly phoned in. One cannot get by on clever punchlines (which she has in spades) alone.
Dreezy’s singing is a slight improvement over her lacklustre bars; she genuinely does have quite a pleasing voice when we get to hear it at its full potential – “Close To You” is its best showcase, she doesn’t really sing at full voice on the remainder of the tracks, letting some of the rasp which infiltrates her raps to creep in to this area as well. But in a world where similar R&B acts like FKA Twigs and Banks are truly pushing music forward in a positive direction, this feels pedestrian. Tracks like “Wasted” would be much better if they were not so repetitive. A more varied melody and lyrical content would elevate this song among the album’s best. Fortunately, it is saved by possibly the best rap verse on the album.
Dreezy and Jeremih in the “Body” video
The beats are definitely the project’s strength, fantastic for the most part while taking a slight step up from typical rap instrumentals by adding interesting elements here and there, although with the occasional misfire – “Worth It” in particular is an off-kilter mess which can’t even accommodate Dreezy’s most basic flows. “Afford My Love”, on the other hand, is easily the album’s best song. Dreezy’s silky vocals flow perfectly over the relaxed, Los Angeles/West Coast-style funk influenced beat. Why don’t the rest of her songs sound like this? Her true potential is here. The song consists of dexterous rapped verses and a sung chorus, a structure which would likely be beneficial to gravitate too. Wale adds to the track as well, on an album where most of the featured artists fall a bit flat.
There are moments, however, when the trade-offs between Dreezy’s singing and rapping kill the momentum of the song because she is not consistent with her energy, bringing back the previous point of her lazy approach to vocals. Closing track “Invincible” has perhaps her most passionate rapping and the slowest and most boring chorus on the album. It is an extremely jarring transition which takes the listener out of the immersion of the music. This is perfectly average, passable music. Nothing is excessively bad, but there’s nothing new or interesting here.
Favourite Tracks: Afford My Love, See What You On, Close To You
Least Favourite Track: Worth It