There are a lot of misconceptions about Devin The Dude. Seeing how his name is ubiquitous with reefer, Devin has always been seen to many as simply a weed rapper. On the other hand, having handled chorus duties on classic cuts from everyone from Dr. Dre and Scarface to De La Soul and Slim Thug, The Dude often gets pigeonholed as a hook singer. Yet, the truth is, this enigmatic MC is just as multifaceted as he is imaginative and in the two decades he’s been enlightening the game his music has always had more depth than most - whether the masses realize or not.
To ensure you’re not one of those poor souls so stuck on the fact this Houston veteran likes his doobies that you’ve been missing his depth, dive into The Primer: Devin The Dude.
While most rappers had a niche during the late 90s, Devin created a laid back lane of his own with his 1998 debut The Dude and this humbled, but self-righteous single.
2. “See What I Can Pull”
Downtrodden to a creep, this self-produced neck-breaker from Devin’s Dude debut found the H-Town MC showing his prowess as an illicit storyteller, delivering a slow-motion tale about pussy stalking one night after getting viced out in the parking lot.
3. “Bust One Fo Ya”
If you were lucky enough to attend the historic Up In Smoke tour back in 2000, there’s a good chance you caught an in-demand Devin on stage amidst some West Coast superstars, performing this classic lullaby alongside his classic feature on Chronic 2001.
Four years after dropping his Rap-A-Lot debut, the Dude returned in 2002 with much more clout and what is arguably his best album, Just Tryin’ To Live.
If anyone was wondering how the spotlight would affect his overly out there sound, this intro track features Devin rapping as an alien who’s explaining how he fell in love with Earth’s weed, atop slumping funk that reinforced his left field direction and set the tone proper.
5. “It’s A Shame”
Favors take you a long way in hip-hop and on this thumping single from Just Tryin’ To Live, Dr. Dre repaid The Dude’s earlier services by delivering a signature instrumental custom fit for Devin’s laid back demeanor and this down on the luck concept.
6. “Doobie Ashtray”
As mentioned prior, Devin The Dude is generally perceived as a weed rapper, but this DJ Premier-produced track from Just Tryin To Live shows exactly why he’s so much more. Despite a title that suggests otherwise, the honorable cut is actually a hypothetical tale of what can happen when you exhaust your life with excess at the expense of long-term stability.
7. “Lacville ‘79”
It’s only right Devin’s dedication to an old 1979 Cadillac DeVille would be one of the best love songs to come out of Houston during the 2000s.
8. "To Tha X-Treme"
For the elaborate title track to his third album, Devin let naysayers know his habits aren’t any of their business over a slow-burning haze of vocoders and evaporating piano melodies.
Unfortunately, positive rap tracks come across corny more often than not. Yet, for this To The X-Treme stand-out, H-Town’s coolest rapper used an enhanced Rick James bass line and his overly easy going approach to let listeners know why the glass should stay half full.
10. “What A Job”
When you get paid well to do what you love, complaints should be few and far between and on the new school classic from Devin’s 2007 Waitin’ To Inhale album, the versatile MC enlisted a few legends to eloquently speak on the fruits of their labor.