Dej Loaf All Jokes Aside

Dej Loaf All Jokes Aside
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If recent history is any indication, mixtapes are now often used as teases, in anticipation of upcoming — and superior — projects (Roc Marciano and Pusha T come to mind). Detroit rapper/singer Dej Loaf's own mixtape, All Jokes Aside, doesn't quite offer that sense of anticipation.
 
The 11-track project's subject matter, dealing mostly with getting what's yours and shunning haters and dead weight, stays true to its title, but almost all of it is plagued by lazy writing, monotonous 808- and piano-heavy production and Dej Loaf's indecision on whether she wants to rap or sing. Cuts like "How" and "Bitch Please" act as little more than anti-hater anthems, and frankly, they feel forced.
 
The album's lone gem, "Goals," buried at the end of the mixtape, shows flashes of matured penmanship and flow, suggesting a wiser Dej Loaf, which one can only pray will carry over to her next effort. For now, All Jokes Aside is an oddity that's genuine, if pretty sloppy. (Independent)