Devin The Dude solo albums tend to fall into two categories: instant classics that immediately announce their all-consuming awesomeness (2002's Just Tryin' Ta Live, 2007's Waitin' To Inhale) and sleepers that only reveal the full scope of their greatness after repeat listens, like Devin's classic 1998 debut The Dude and 2004's To Tha X-Treme. So it's tempting to give one of rap's most consistent, dependable figures the benefit of the doubt and assume that his new album, Landing Gear, his first since he parted ways with longtime home Rap-A-Lot, will improve with time, because on the surface it's easily Devin's weakest effort.
On previous albums, Devin threatened to give misogyny, alcoholism, and being constantly stoned a good name. Here, Devin's sexism isn't leavened with unpredictable wit or infectious anthems. The man who once boasted that his genitals were so clean, they could be served on a plate alongside lima beans comes up depressingly short in the one-liner department. Devin's singsong flow remains hypnotic, and his silky, seductive croon can make a dis feel like a kiss, but this time, it's in service to forgettable songs unworthy of his singular talent.