There’s a sense of deja vu felt in hearing “Slow It Down”, the first single to The-Dream‘s upcoming fourth official effort Fourplay (or fifth, depending on how one views last year’s quietly dropped Terius Nash: 1977, a commercial spin-off-of-sorts of the 2011 freebie tape 1977): with its bouncy, ice cream truck R&B plink and Fabolous cameo, the song nearly registers as a carbon copy of his debut solo single “Shawty Is A 10”.
The funny thing is, in the case of The-Dream, an artist who has for the most part dealt within the same stylistic templates throughout his Grammy-adorned career as both an artist and writer/ producer to the stars…this is nowhere near a bad thing, the track’s perky keyboard bop, heavy bass-synth washes and candied vocal melodies simply finding him reclaiming a soundscape that, as future think-pieces will no doubt note, not only influenced a large chunk of mainstream R&B/ pop sounds in the years following “Shawty” but also a major portion of R&B-influenced indie/ bedroom/ DIY acts routinely given love on the music blogosphere’s biggest channels.
A regurgitation of his past creative strokes isn’t the lone thing that makes “Slow It Down” a keeper though as the cut finds The-Dream interweaving typical girl-ogling lines with some clever “meta-” dialogue, whether via the opening couplet “I know they ain’t gon’ play this on top 40 radio/ But the white girls still gon’ ride it like a rodeo”, or his sly disses towards European-influenced dance-pop’s seemingly endless stranglehold over the entire globe’s singles charts (“DJ you know you’re wrong/ Enough with the motherfuckin’ dance songs/ You gotta slow it down”) and the nameless contemporaries keeping the trend alive (“Always with you baby I’ll never sell out/ Them other n*ggas had to do a dance record or the label wouldn’t put em out/ I’ll never put a million records before you…”).
A bit bitter? Perhaps. Kinda-sorta brilliant? We’re leaning into the realm of “Yes”.