Duhon – Sorry Summer – EP Review
I believe…if I’m not mistaken…I first crossed paths with Duhon’s music somewhere back in 2020. Who knows what I was writing about or what was goin’ on at the time…all that stuff gets fuzzy over the years – but I never forget the music or the people that make it, and I remember this cat quite well. In fact, if you’re a longtime reader here at our pages, or familiar with our shows and whatnot – chances are you might even remember me givin’ the man’s music a spin on the SBS Podcast in that same year when we played one of my favorite singles by Duhon called “Stack It Up” loud and proud on one of our episodes. I’m such a head-down do-the-work type-guy that I just keep doin’ what I do in making sure I spread the word on what’s GOOD out there in this music-scene we share – I’d be surprised if Duhon himself even knew we’ve been in his corner from the moment we started listening, but the evidence is right there on our show and confirms that’s the truth. I’ve been a big fan of this guy’s wild vibes, and it’s awesome to see he’s been thriving throughout the years to follow, with a brand-new EP on the way to start up 2022.
On the technical front, I just in about halfway back in 2020 – Duhon has been releasing cuts online from about as far back as 2017 or so, according to what I can see out there on the internet. At this point, that puts him about five-plus years in the grind…and he’ll address a bit of this as he starts up his new Sorry Summer EP with the “Hello (Intro)” that lays out his perspective on how things have gone & where he’s heading now. It’s another year, it’s another part of the legacy he’s building, it’s another opportunity for him to level-up once again, and you’ll hear from the attitude of his lyricism and the sincerity of his tone on the mic that he’s ready to make the most of this moment yet again. “I know my time coming, so I gotta keep on running” as he’ll tell ya himself – and I’d completely agree with the man in his assessment – I’m a firm believer that talent like Duhon has can’t stay a secret from the planet forever, and you can see with the way his numbers have steadily climbed over the years that he’s definitely on his way UP. In any event, “Hello (Intro)” has the man sounding in fine form straight outta the gate – and as far as what most would consider an intro-experience to be like, you get a whole lot more outta Duhon here in that regard – it’s actually one of the longer cuts on the EP! Your ears will welcome that extra length for sure – Duhon’s versatile Hip-Hop/Soul style has just as much swagger as it has skill, and the man comes out with all the confidence you wanna hear on the m-i-c, backed up by a beat that equally has it all goin’ on. In terms of a first impression of a new record, Duhon’s got this played to perfection – you get to know who this guy is right from second he starts droppin’ bars, you make that personal connection to the way he communicates the thoughts on his mind and instantly want to cheer this guy on towards his success.
Trust me y’all – when you’re really in your element, like Duhon clearly IS at this point in his career, it’s something you can audibly hear through the speakers – and personality becomes every bit as much of a hook as the music itself, you feel me? Listen to the freakin’ CRAFT in the way a cut like “The Way It Is” moves – especially in the vocal department y’all – it should drop your jaws in amazement when you hear the way the man can structure his melody, rhythm, and flow. Unique to the nth degree, I listen to a cut like “The Way It Is” and how…hmmm…how do I put this? I suppose the best way I can put it, is listen to just how minimalist the music really is when it comes right down to it – it doesn’t lack anything, but it’s far from overstuffed either, and that gives Duhon every opportunity to stand out like he should be to ya. I guess what I’m saying is, I hear music that would have allowed this guy to pretty much put it all on cruise control if he wanted to – he could have gone with a much more laidback approach, and he probably STILL would have come out winning on “The Way It Is.” I listen to a track like this and think of how much easier he could have made it on himself, and LOVE the fact that he’s challenged himself as an artist to do MORE with music like this. As a result, you get a rapid-fire performance from the man on the mic that never lets up, and provides an undeniable fast-paced energy to a song that could have potentially been a freakin’ SLOW JAM if he didn’t – you followin’ me? I’ve got mad respect for artists like this guy that choose to blaze their own trail and find a way to bring more to the mic – to me, it’s a cut like this one right here that proves he’s willing to put in the WORK it takes to achieve the greatness he’s seeking out…and if he keeps up the quality like this, he’ll get there – and that’s “The Way It Is” y’all.
Good LORD. I hope there are a few emcees out there ready to take some NOTES on how to get it done RIGHT – because Duhon’s about to demonstrate how to handle your business on the mic with precision, power, and professionalism combined once again with a larger-than-life performance on “Guaranteed.” Definitely a cut you don’t wanna miss out on in this lineup of audible awesomeness on the Sorry Summer EP. I mean, I’ll be real with ya – the “Hello (Intro)” was a stellar start and still remains one of my personal favorites on this record…”The Way It Is” revealed a superstar amount of skill in the way he flexed his gears on the mic…and with “Guaranteed,” Duhon basically confirms beyond the shadow of a doubt that he’s got a relevant sound built to shake speakers straight to the ground when he wants to shift his music in that direction too. I’m hearing real single-worthy sound on this cut that makes it stand out as a natural gateway into this new EP…it’d definitely be among the top tracks I’d be considering if I were Duhon and getting this record ready for its release. It’s the shortest song on the Sorry Summer EP, but there’s not a second outta place or wasted – Duhon brings in the production element to enhance this cut from the lefts to the rights, and he’s workin’ with vibes that would go down real smooth with fans of the entire genre, from Hip-Hop, to Rap, to Trap. You get something like fourteen seconds to chill with the atmosphere as it builds, and from there on, it’s a pure dose of serious personality & charisma on the mic from the main star of the show that leads this track to victory as he pivots and transitions perfectly in tandem with the dynamics of this versatile beat.
Oddly enough, the energy and songs on this record remind me a lot of how universally appealing the sounds of Jaydii’s Vibrant Summer was when it came out last year…once again, it’s about the kind of confident personality and wild level of skill combined with an artistic courage to go after what others wouldn’t dare to, that seems to lead artists like Jaydii and Duhon straight to victory after victory. Different summers maybe, but similar vibes, you dig? If we’re talkin’ about actual tone comparison-wise, you’ll hear Duhon’s almost heading into Q-Tip territory with his performance on “Ima Get Mine” – and y’all know that’s Rap royalty & great company to be keeping, 100%. Rhythm & flow that can’t be beat, Duhon cuts these bars up with straight-up flawless precision…all-in-all, “Ima Get Mine” is a genuinely badass & bold cut that mixes the past with the present brilliantly. From the old-school R&B vibes in the mix surrounding him, to the tangible themes & imagery in his words that keeps this cut relevant for the right here & now – “Ima Get Mine” ends up being just over two-minutes in length and moves quickly, but there is more of a noticeable emphasis on really locking into the unique bounce and innovative design this particular track has to offer as well. As in, speed isn’t the only priority for Duhon – it’s about finding that right gear for the right moment, and as he makes his moves throughout the twists & turns of “Ima Get Mine” you hear how he instinctually knows what the song is calling out for. Whether that’s being well-rehearsed for that moment in the studio, or inherently having a natural connection to his bars…the secrets of the sauce don’t really need to be revealed as long as it tastes this good, you know what I mean? All we want as listeners is music worth listening to, spillin’ out of our speakers at all times, and Duhon has zero problems providing that.
Kickin’ it on into the second-half of his eight-track EP, “U Lose (Trust Me)” has Duhon givin’ you style for miles on the mic, all kinds of effective lyrical imagery – hell, he even name-checks Tony The Tiger from your Frosted Flakes cereal y’all! That should tell ya somethin’ – this track covers quite a bit of ground to say the least. I’ll say this…the dude’s really only battling himself at this point on the record…”U Lose (Trust Me)” might have a tougher time standing out by comparison to the rest of this set…maybe…I wouldn’t say that’s a sure thing – we’d pretty much be splitting hairs; if you told me this cut was THE cut of all cuts on the Sorry Summer EP, I’d give ya a high-five – there’s no reason it couldn’t be. It’s more laidback is all, less directly in-your-face energy-wise, and more of a cut that grabs your attention for the stylistic fluidity and swagger of its main star. Duhon’s crushin’ it just as hard as ever, and gives you one of the record’s most memorable hooks overall in the chorus of “U Lose (Trust Me)” when it comes right down to it, so don’t get it twisted – there’s still more than enough to love here in this cut as there is in any other of the set. The best way I can put it is to say it’s simply nothing more than the inherent risk that comes along with a mid-tempo cut…it’s naturally a bit harder for that pace to stand out like a slow-jam or a fast track will, but every record needs tunes like these all the same – it serves the dynamics of the set-list. “U Lose (Trust Me)” has the ever-present advantages of an emcee/artist that really knows his way around the mic and shows zero signs of any kind of weakness – the dude’s a born entertainer & downright superhuman when it comes to his incredible consistency in quality writing, execution, and making music that’s genuinely interesting. Sure, it’s fair to say “U Lose (Trust Me)” rocks with a smoother & mellower vibe by comparison, but credit where credit is due – Duhon retains your full attention in any of his gears through his clever combinations of substance & style – and ultimately, I dig this cut as much as the rest. Or at least real close; like I said, we’d really be splitting hairs – it’s ALL good.
Now…of COURSE I’m gonna advocate on behalf of the greenery-inspired clouds of audible smoke blowin’ through your speakers on “Keep It Coming (Head n’ Herb)” – to me, this is where the mid-tempo hits the mark 100%. I do think it’s like…seriously fun that one of the most identifiably Conscious Hip-Hop vibes on this record comes along with Duhon rollin’ up the greens with his head in the clouds along the way…it’s almost like an odd-pairing in that sense, but I’ll be damned it if all don’t fit exceptionally well here. Contrast works wonders when you do it right – “I just wanna smoke, all day and every day, live free, get high, do as I please…” might not be the lyrics you’d expect comin’ atcha with the tone of the music usually coming along with an encyclopedia’s worth of words that all speak up on behalf of some kind of heavy societal issue…but like I been tellin’ ya, Duhon has a real knack for turning left when you’d expect him to go right, keeping you guessing along the way. Plus – I can RELATE to that – and I’m sure many of you can too. It sure sounds like he’s got the right ideas on how to live life to me – and he’s clearly in the mood to make a lil’ time for some…hmm…well say lovin’ along the way as well…you get where I’m goin’ with it – Duhon’s creates a sensual vibe here too. And that’s not to say he doesn’t have plenty of insightful things to say as “Keep It Coming (Head n’ Herb)” plays on – he does – but sure, it’s that kind of hazy wisdom that takes a solid bong hit or three to fully engage with this sensory mood he’s workin’ with. “So light that weed up” and follow along with the man as he works his magic on the m-i-c – he’s invited you to do so, right here in the lyrics of “Keep It Coming (Head n’ Herb)” – and I ain’t one to decline. Here’s what’s real – this cut was designed to be cruised to, you feel me? Puttin’ this track on in your caddy and rollin’ around the city streets, lights all shinin’ through the windows while the smoke gets thicker in the hotbox…”Keep It Coming (Head n’ Herb)” is capable of getting you high by proxy y’all.
For myself personally, I felt like “I Feel Stuck” was a huge highlight, and a real example of the evolution of Duhon as an artist – this is an authentically observant cut that hits on several relatable issues from self-doubt to perseverance, to how much success depends on how we define it and how hard we’re willing to work for it, to the burning desire to create and do what we love, regardless of fame or fortune. Honestly, it’s a remarkably grounded cut at its core – “I Feel Stuck” is as relevant and relatable as a song is ever gonna get for you creative-types out there in this world…I think we all feel the way Duhon’s feeling in the thoughts & emotions he’s sharin’ with ya on this track. It’s all about what you put in versus what you wanna get out of it I suppose…but like I said from the very get-go in this review – I’m a firm believer that talent like Duhon has can’t stay secret forever. To me, all this guy has gotta do is stay the course, keep the quality of his music right up to the level it has been at and keep challenging himself to keep it fresh, and he’s got this on-lock. From there, it’s just a matter of time…maybe the right viral video to support a song or two to spark up the interest…who knows – but not only will new fans dig on what they find from Duhon in the present, they’ll realize he’s been kickin’ out the jams consistently all the way back to day one. The crisp beat & bass-line grooves of “I Feel Stuck” and the melodic guitar chiming in…all that’s superb as well, and makes for one of the most gripping combinations on this EP overall when you consider the content that comes with it from the mic. Duhon’s right on the inside of his own internal thoughts here, but willing to share that with ya – and as I’ve told ya a million times on these pages of ours, the more YOU there is in YOUR music, the better the results tend to be. “I Feel Stuck” proves the point to the nth degree – I felt like Duhon knocked this track straight outta the park, proving that he sure as hell ain’t afraid to get REAL with us in the process of keeping us fully entertained.
While it’s fair to say that “I Feel Stuck” focuses more on how crushing it can be to live under the weight of your own hopes, dreams, and expectations – a track like “Determined” showing up right afterwards is not only extremely smart in terms of the layout of this record, it’s an all-out outstanding & inspired finale. This is that strong rebound you wanna hear after the emotional weight of a track like “I Feel Stuck” – the vibrant spark in Duhon is at an all-time high here at the end with “Determined” as he proves he’s come out stronger on the other side of his struggles as a person, as an artist – as a human being in total. At the point he’s at now, he’s got it together in a way that’s going to greatly help him become the leader he’s always been meant to be…he’s got a level perspective on what life is & what it can be…and he’s “Determined” to live it all HIS ways, as he should be. In the process, people out there are gonna hear this track…and they’re gonna realize every word he’s spittin’ with such confidence & precision is a direct result of having that undeniable connection to every word & syllable you hear – you KNOW that Duhon believes in everything he’s saying throughout this final cut without question. It’s the kind of authentic clincher you wanna hear at the end of the record…one that nods towards the future, and confirms there’s still a serious blazing fire of desire burning inside of the main star of the show here.
Like I’ve been tellin’ ya every step of the way throughout this review, Duhon’s got the right mindset, the right approach, the right amount of skill – and all-in-all, the only pressure he’s got is what he’s gonna put on himself…from what I can tell on the outside of it all, his whole career is progressing as naturally as it should be, consistently revealing his best each time he puts out something new, and that he’s evolving into the artist he wants to be. While that might not always equate directly to overnight success, there’s something so much better waiting in-store for a guy like Duhon with the talent he has, and that’s longevity…a chance to enjoy the journey, every bit as much as the final destination, regardless of how rocky that road might be along the way. He’s on the right path towards success, however he chooses to define it, and there’s not a single solitary moment of the Sorry Summer EP that would have you believing any otherwise…Duhon’s in full control at all times, he’s got tremendous versatility & the art of the hook locked down, and a solid set of eight cuts guaranteed to make their way to the top spot of your playlists.
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