Album Review: 42 Dugg - Free Dem Boyz
Updated: May 31, 2021
Written By: Mike Double G
Grade = 79% or 3.5 ⭐️
Track List - 49 minutes
Intro 1:52 ❌
Truest Nigga In The City 2:28 ⭐️
We Know 2:13 ✅
4 Da Gang (42 Dugg & Roddy Ricch) 2:36 ⭐️
Maybach (Feat. Future) 3:19 ⭐️
Bestfriends 2:13 ✅
Alone (Feat. Lil Durk) 3:46 ❌
Still Miss My Niggas (Feat. Rylo Rodriguez) 2:59 ❌
Free Merey 2:20 ✅
Quez Free 2:11 ❌
Please 2:06 ⭐️
Rose Gold (Feat. EST Gee) 3:06 ⭐️
Judge Please 2:04 ✅
Still Catching Cases (Feat. Fivio Foreign & Rowdy Rebel) 2:54 ✅
It Get Deeper Pt. 2, 3:41 ✅
And I Gangbang 2:14 ✅
Free Woo 2:26 ⭐️
Free Skeet 2:09 ✅
Free Me 2:28 ⭐️
42 Dugg first received mainstream attention when he appeared on Lil Baby’s LP My Turn. He appeared on the single Grace and critics had mixed thoughts on Lil Baby’s new artist. A couple months later when Baby dropped the deluxe version of the album Dugg showed up again on We Paid. If anyone was unsure about his potential this was the song that made many people believe that he had a shot at being successful.
42 Dugg is an artist from Detroit who is signed to Lil Baby’s label Four Pockets Full as well as Yo Gotti label Collective Music Group. At 5’1 you wouldn’t expect his voice to match his appearance. Similar to artist like Lil Wayne and Lil Uzi Vert his small stature actually helps him more than anything. It adds to his charisma and makes him more appealing to a female audience.
Many producers have a tag that comes on a record before the beat drops. You know it’s a Metro Boomin on the track when you hear the tag: “If young Metro don’t trust you, I’m gon shoot you”. Many producers are known for having catchy tags but rappers seldom do. 42 Dugg has actually created his own. If you been hearing a lot of whistling in rap music this past year it’s probably because the song has a 42 Dugg feature. Shortly after the whistle you hear his raspy voice come in for the first bar of the verse. He has the kind of voice that makes you pay attention whether you love it or hate it. To me he sounds like Boosie Badazz back when he was Lil Boosie.
Last spring 42 Dugg quietly dropped a mixtape Young & Turnt, Vol. 2. The original version had features from Yo Gotti and Lil Baby. Soon after, it included a deluxe version which included features from fellow CMG artist Moneybagg Yo and DeJ Loaf. More serious listeners came across this project but it didn’t get much attention. At this point many people only heard Dugg on Lil Baby’s album. Having mixed reviews, many people probably passed on the project or only listened to the songs that featured more popular artist.
This time last year 42 Dugg was still fresh to many listeners but not too many artist in the industry. Gotti’s and Baby’s connections helped him get on many artist’s projects. This is what really helped elevate his profile and add to his popularity. With nearly everyone looking for a Lil Baby feature don’t be surprised if Lil Baby agreed to do the feature, but only if 42 Dugg also appeared on the project. Baby and Dugg appeared separately on projects from Lil Keed, Latto, and T.I.
With connecting to so many artist this past year you would think this album would be loaded with features. Surprising only 7 of the 19 songs had features. The album included features from CMG signee EST Gee as well as 4PF signee Rylo Rodriguez. However, neither Lil Baby nor Yo Gotti made an appearance. Other features include Future, Lil Durk, Roddy Ricch, Fivio Foreign, and Rowdy Rebel. I think this was done purposely so 42 Dugg could show case his talent. This was his time to prove he wasn’t just another artist signed under Gotti and Baby.
The title of this album Free Dem Boyz refers to his friends who are locked away in prison as well as his own legal situation. Right now 42 Dugg is required to wear an ankle monitor because his pending case related to gun charges. This is not the first time 42 Dugg has had issues with the law. At 15 he got arrested for carjacking and gun possession. While in prison he started rapping just to pass the time in solitary confinement. Many of the song titles include the word Free. Free Merey, Free Woo, Free Skeet, Quez Free, and Free Me. In most of these records he’s talking about being there for his people who are locked up. He raps about being by there side and doing whatever he can to get them out of jail. From visiting, receiving collect calls, and even paying lawyer fees. In the song Free Me part of the hook goes “Free dem boyz, dickie fits all on TV. Always yellin’ “Free Mine” never “Free Me”. This is Dugg saying he’d rather do the time then rat out his partners.
The most radio friendly record is 4 Da Gang with Roddy Ricch. This song uses a sample from song No One Like You. A hit record by the Scorpions which was released in 1982. Usually I’m not a fan of rappers using rock samples because the remake is never as good. This actually wasn’t too bad. The aggressive delivery of 42 Dugg and the melodic flow of Roddy Ricch were a good combination on this beat. On February 21st, both 42 Dugg and Roddy Ricch were shot at while filming the music video for this song. Although they weren’t hurt, two men were wounded. Rapper OMB Peezy was later arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. It is unclear whether Dugg nor Ricch were the targets.
Some of the other features on this album were hit or miss. Maybach with Future was one of my favorites. Right now it is one of the top streaming songs on Apple Music. Alone featuring Lil Durk was disappointing. I’m a big Lil Durk fan but not even he could have saved this record. This is a slower song where 42 Dugg try’s singing on the hook. While his raspy voice works when he is rapping it doesn’t sound good when he try’s to sing. He’s trying to show some versatility on this record but you can tell it’s out of his comfort zone. This also wasn’t Lil Durk’s best verse. Maybe if the song was shorter like most of his other songs it wouldn’t have been half as bad.
EST Gee and 42 Dugg have great chemistry. On EST’s project “I Still Don’t Feel Nun” the song “Members Only” featured 42 Dugg and it might have been the best song on the project. EST Gee returned the favor on this project by being featured on “Rose Gold”. This is one of the stronger songs on the project. His CMG label mate came through but his 4PF partner Rylo Rodriguez came up short on Still Miss My Niggas. These two have made hot records in the past but they are very different. Rylo had trouble finding the beat and the hook by Dugg is very simple.
42 Dugg is the kind of artist you either love or hate. If you like him you’ll like this album. If you haven’t liked him from the jump there isn’t much that is going to change your mind. Where he lacks in lyricism and flow he makes up for with his delivery and voice. Sometimes he misses the beat on a verse but he has a lot of catchy hooks that are easy to remember and get stuck in your head. This album is a little different than most as the second half of the album is stronger than the first half. Some of these songs do sound the same but he proved a lot for it being his first major label release. This wasn’t the best album I heard all year but it was a solid project.
Best Song = Free Woo
Download: Free Dem Boyz
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