Very Few Troubles with “Trouble”

Lucid, who also goes by his given name Demonte, is an artist out of Joliet, Illinois. Currently in the studio trying to perfect that first release, this self-reported perfectionist hasn’t gotten anything to the level where he feels it’s ready for official distribution yet, but he has been dropping tracks on SoundCloud in the meantime. The most recent of these SoundCloud drops is a song called “Trouble,” which had two principal producers involved, namely Cxdy and Josh Petruccio. It makes sense that there are two producers at the helm here because the song is literally divided into two parts, almost like two different songs fused together. But it works. The production was well done, giving it that song-with-a-Kanye-feature effect (he always seems to rap on a switch up in the beat) or like that Eminem song, “Bad Guy” where the end of the song is suddenly just a whole different instrumental. So, Lucid is definitely in good company when it comes to this choice, if not in the popular majority.

I’m never worried my wrist is Curry 3 shots to your dome, my teeth are shinning these karates grinding I’m chewing on Gold…

Lucid is definitely on the lyrical side of the hip hop spectrum, just maybe not as much as he could be. Straddling the fence is never a good idea when it comes to stylistic choices you value, so, if he values lyricism, he should go all the way with it, as opposed to trying to add some chill factor in by under-working the lines. Another issue with the lyrics is in terms of his mixing of different tones and moods. Lucid mixes content of all sorts in this song, with lines meant to be motivational and uplifting being followed directly by lines where he gratuitously flexes. As seen here, from part one of the song, he says, “I’m that mastermind crafting all of these lyrics you know, I’m on a journey I’m in a hurry I’m on my ten toes,” which is a line I love. It’s just the kind of motivational message that, while it may contain a hint of a humble brag, it tells the audience, I got where I am today because I worked for it, and I’m still working for it. But that’s followed immediately by this line, “I’m never worried my wrist is Curry 3 shots to your dome, my teeth are shinning these karates grinding I’m chewing on Gold,” which is pure flexing.

This problem is evident throughout the lyrics. It’s just a sort of contradiction of mood, with Lucid’s constant shifting between polar-opposing thematic overtones in his lines. I’m left with a bit of emotional whiplash. In one line he motivates us, in the next line he needlessly flexes, then he might have a sexual slant to the next line, and a threatening advance in the one that follows. I’m left confused about what he is trying so enthusiastically to get me to feel, or what he is even feeling, for that matter. But the most jarring transition between two moods is when he follows a line that seems to want to motivate us with a line that is purely for the sake of boasting. There are ways, however, that you can be motivational while flexing, though, and it’s used a lot among the more lyrical hip hop artists today. Lyrically, these artists tend to use a more retroactive-comparison approach, reflecting back on what they came from and then comparing that to what they have or what they’ve now accomplished. J. Cole’s song, “Middle Child,” is an excellent example of this. The way Lucid flexes in this song is undoubtedly standard, and there’s nothing wrong with it in and of itself. It’s not so much about which type of content is better, flexing or motivating, it’s more an issue with the mix of the two messages, back to back, over and over, which leaves me not knowing what the song’s message is. If Lucid want’s to take his lyricism to the next level, a little deliberateness in his writing process should resolve this problem.                       

In the second part of the song, Lucid says, “It’s guaranteed when I touch it Ima make it a hit, I got like 99 problems and a flow isn’t it, Okay,” and, he’s right — the flow isn’t it. If I had to cite just one real sticking point for me, when it comes to Lucid, it’s really only one thing: His over-delivery and excessive vocal drive. I love powerful, aggressive, peak-limiter-necessary kind of vocals, with a lot of grit and enthusiasm. The grit in his voice is good, but he just needs to drive it less in terms of performing his vocals. If you’re over-performing vocally, the problem is, we can tell you are performing, which doesn’t lend to you sounding like you have any conviction in what you’re saying. Which isn’t good for a flex line, or for a motivational line either, so, in either direction he goes with his lyrics, this is a problem he will need to address, toning down his performance level on the mic. It’s a nuanced thing, but it’s what could really make the difference in an artist like Lucid.

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Still, for all the things I can point out about Lucid’s song “Trouble” that I think he could finesse or re-work to be better, I only point those things out because he is otherwise very talented. Talented enough that it inspires me to nitpick the nuances, mostly because I really want to hear him once he’s taken this to the next level. He clearly values hard work, if his lyrics are any indication of reality, so I’m assuming he’s the type to want to evolve past these problem areas. I think he could be a force in this industry, with just a little bit of focused effort. He just needs to know where to focus it. I hope I’ve helped with that some.