iLoveMakonnen is back shortly after releasing the release of his ILOVEMAKONNEN 2 EP with the sixth installment in the Drink More Water series. Unlike the others in the series, this edition is a paid project rather than a free mixtape.
Story: Joshua Chan // @Chanjoshuachan
Images: Warner Bros. Records
Released on March 18, 2016, Drink More Water 6 places aesthetic feel and production above lyrical quality, which may sound bad at first, especially for a large majority of hip-hop listeners. Throughout Drink More Water 6, Makonnen echoes the common trap rap sentiment that lyrics aren’t everything, but that isn’t necessarily bad. The combination of iLoveMakonnen’s off-key sing rapping with the ethereal, trap-influenced beats — evident on songs such as “Tuesday” — present an interesting take on this type of rap music, such as its signature “haunted house-like” feel with lyrics about the typical rap tropes such as the sale and distribution of a wide plethora of drugs.
One of the highlights on this project, “Sellin”, is very simple lyrically.
“I got weed and I got Molly/I got bitches like Holly”
Credit: Youtube // iLoveMakonnen
The instrumental makes the song shine, thanks to what sounds like a slightly lower pitched pan flute combined with a bass that we all know and love in rap music.
iLoveMakonnen’s instrumental choices on this project are clearly his strong suit. The rattling hi-hats combined with weirdly pitched synths and flourishes display a shroom-influenced controlled chaos, similar to that seen on projects from his contemporaries such as Future’s Dirty Sprite 2.
It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for a majority of listeners who enjoy this style of rap music, Drink More Water 6 is more of a good thing.
However, as high as its highs can be, especially for someone like myself who enjoys this type of music, a real lack of consistent quality is definitely the biggest gripe I have with the project. The songs will sometimes either have Makonnen’s offkey singing over very vanilla-trap production that doesn’t take into account the aesthetic that makes Makonnen interesting.
Around that halfway mark starting with the song “Solo”, the project starts to lose steam. Drink More Water 6 sometimes falls into mediocrity, throwing Makonnen at uninteresting beats that don’t take into account the stylistic choices that make this project’s highs memorable.
Credit: Youtube // iLoveMakonnen Topic
iLoveMakonnen takes his off-key singing too far to the point where it sound grating. It feels like he’s stretching his voice to the limit for the sake of doing so. There’s a certain energy that feels like it’s missing in the second half, and it’s a shame because the first half is actually very solid, mostly due to its weaknesses coming from bad execution on a particular concept.
Coming into Drink More Water 6, I didn’t expect iLoveMakonnen to reinvent the wheel, since he already had a unique angle that I really enjoyed on his past projects, such as the ILOVEMAKONNEN 2 EP. Even for all of its problems with vanilla trap beats, Drink More Water 6 is still a fairly enjoyable project, even if the album’s quality isn’t as consistent as it could have been.
iLoveMakonnen’s unique spin on the currently popular trap music sound is still here, though. When it works, it highlights iLoveMakonnen’s ability to make psychedelic music that takes common rap tropes fresh again. When it doesn’t, the project loses most of its appeal. I still liked it in the end for all of its faults, and for fans of “New Atlanta” rap music, this is still worth a look, especially for its highlights.