A quick glimpse of the track listing for Suite #420, Devin The Dude’s sixth official studio album, makes it apparent that the beloved cult rapper isn’t trading in his signature love of women and weed for less important subject matter. That generally isn’t a problem; Devin’s genius lies less in what he raps about (the same old shit) than in how he raps: with wry self-deprecation, affable good humor, unselfconscious eccentricity, and a soft, buttery voice that alternates effortlessly from a singsong flow to a woozy croon.
So listeners don’t have to guess what Devin is referring to on the killer first single, “What I Be On,” a hypnotic, G-funk stoner anthem on par with Devin’s greatest tributes to his beloved herb. Alas, “What I Be On” proves the exception rather than the rule as Devin waxes monomaniacally about the same old subjects over beats from no-name producers that alternate between the R&B overproduction (“I Can’t Handle It,” “It’s On You”) that marred his last album, Landing Gear, and rinky-dink underproduction. Nobody expects maturity from Devin, even though he jarringly mentions that he has a 17-year-old son, but he usually makes eternal adolescence sound a lot more fun than this.