If this were the Grammys, there’d be a Hilton ad midway through this rap post…
Jonathan Bradley: Where Chief Keef, currently Chicago’s most famous teenage musician, is possessed with an adolescent glower, fellow Second City youngster Dreezy brims with impudence. On “Break a Band” her voice bounces around the track like a high schooler at 3 p.m.; it’s fun, but there’s a volatility to the exuberance too, like anything could go down when the cartoon-talk ends. Witness how easily the titular phrase breaks down into a sonic babble of interweaving b and k sounds. So how impressive is Dreezy? Mikey Dollaz doesn’t have a better moment here than when he claims affinity with the track’s headliner: “I murder shit, first degree: I feel like Dreezy.”
Crystal Leww: Dreezy’s flow is exhilarating. She has immense control over her words, changing the rate of delivery and the way that words are delivered at the drop of a dime, and it’s never anything but effortless. I particularly love the way that the word “band” progresses in the chorus as the pitch goes up on the “AH-ND” and becomes more breathy. Mikey plays a great male companion, always complimentary without veering into the icky tone of patronizing that Drake sometimes falls into. The production is fun to listen to, and there’s a lot to notice. It’s cheeky in the way that the beat pauses when Dreezy’s saying “don’t blow acapella”. Mikey slowly gets introduced with nonsense noises “bwah” and “band”. The bass pauses for a bit in the pre-chorus so that the repeating “break a band” is underlined, bolded, italicized by those hits. This is such a great way to introduce what looks to be a promising collaboration mixtape between the two.
Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: So this Bone Thugz flow really is back now, huh?
Iain Mew: “Break a Band” is full of Dreezy’s sharp intakes of breath at the end of lines, or even cutting off before the ends lines in the gasping chorus, which sounds like “break a bear” to my ears. It’s crucial to the single’s effect, giving everything a pressing urgency as she sounds like she’s right on the edge and barely able to keep up. It also means that when she reveals that as a trick, seamlessly switching to going twice as fast or back again in the blink of an eye, it’s even more stunning.
Brad Shoup: The irreality of these kinds of tracks (mincing pings, NES strings) calls for some kind of vocal alteration. I get that Dreezy’s selling Dreezy, and it’s not like Lil Scrappy’s verse on “What U Gon’ Do” marked him as an auteur or something. (I still think about it though!) Maybe I’m just saying that not much grabs me beyond “I spend a stack/I get it back”.
Rebecca A. Gowns: Talented teens! Making fun music! Dreezy has wonderful confidence in her verses! Mikey Dollaz has a great one too! Not overproduced! Great!
Patrick St. Michel: Nearly everything I’ve heard out of Chicago’s drill scene has been brimming with youthful energy. From Chief Keef to Sasha Go Hard, a lot of tracks coming out have a teenage energy that tilts from nihilistic flexing to playfulness. “Break A Band” might be the best example yet, mostly because of Dreezy’s rhymes. She has a hopscotch flow and frequently pulls out similes derived from FOX’s “Animation Domination” programming block. Mikey Dollaz holds his own, but Dreezy is the class of this song thanks to the sense of fun she brings.
Ian Mathers: The thing about Chief Keef is, he’s not exactly likeable. He has utterly no interest in ingratiating himself to anyone, which is part of the appeal, but then somebody like Dreezy comes by, rapping over the same sort of production, and you’re suddenly struck by just how much more appealing pretty much the same subject matter is from someone with some verbal dexterity and charisma. That’s not really a shot at Keef; his anti-charisma is kind of hypnotic. But this song feels a lot more fun.