Sample Sessions: Dem Times EP, Roy Wood$
Updated: Jun 21
Roy Woods presents his much-anticipated new project, Dem Times on OVO Sound, his latest collection of songs since his 2017 project 'Say Less'. He preceded the 6-song collection with the songs and visuals for 'I Feel It' and 'Cool J'. Roy Woods is known for fusing emotionally charged vocals with ambient production and enchanting melodies. We have high expectations for 'Dem Times' after a quality offering on his last time out with 'Say Less'. For this sample session, you know the rules; no skips, no pauses and only one listen, *Birdman hand rub*.
1. 2 Me
2 Me is a mid-tempo record that ushers in the new project with a smooth ambiance and sleek melodies, which Roy Woods is known for. On first listen, the record sounds like a somber backing track to a late-night right to a significant other’s place while going through the motions of self-deliberations about what that person means to you in reality. Lyrically, Roy touches on topics such as being disappointed in prior relationships and accepting his flaws but wanting redemption. He also speaks on losing a close friend and that weighing heavy on his mental state, his melodies fill the space between verses long enough not to be too repetitive. Production-wise the beat maintains the signature OVO sound, however, the lack of progression and development of the beat leaves much to be desired, although this may be intended to give Roy’s lyrics more weight on the song as a whole.
Highlights: Great lyrical moments, smooth melodies
Lowlights: Bland production and lack of a peak
Lyrical content: 7.5
2. Neva Your Way
The second track on this project is short and sweet with an infectious instrumental. The drums immediately catch your attention as Roy harmonises about a young lady in his life that loves to have her way. Although the record has a great bounce on first listen and is likely to grow on the listener, Roy’s lack of direction and heavy reliance on his melodies are a drawback on this record with great potential. The theme of the record could have potentially been expressed in a more concise or direct way and feels like scattered thoughts on the first time being played.
Highlights: great drums on the production, could potentially be a stand out with more listens
Lowlights: Scattered direction on the track, relies too heavily on melody.
Lyrical content: 5
3. Cool J
Cool J is a slight homage to legendary rapper LL Cool J and a trip to your local club on a Friday night. Cool J is a player’s anthem as Roy gets comfortable flexing his talents as a rapper as opposed to a crooner. He puts together some notable wordplay on this record and speaks on his fast lifestyle with the money, cars and women at every turn. The production on this record is the most up-tempo we’ve had thus far and carries a colourful energy. The main melody is a brilliant addition to the production and Roy’s vocals sit comfortably, this record is also calling out for a Travis Scott feature.
Highlights: Excellent flow over the instrumental and Mix on the outro
Lowlights: May have to be in a particular mood to listen
Lyrical content: 6
4. Like Pascal
Like Pascal seems to take a heavy influence from the Atlanta trap sound in both production and Roy’s vocal inflections on this record. The instrumental seems to have a very constant loop throughout on first listen with not many stand out moments. Lyrically Roy Woods follows similar lyrical themes to the prior record but sounds like it may be coming from a much less celebratory perspective. Ironically, Roy Wood$ raps about other artists taking his style and running with it and the women he associates himself with regularly.
Highlights: Experimental based on Roy Wood$’ usual style
Lowlights: Sounds slightly unoriginal
Lyrical content: 6
5. What We Did
What We Did is a definite stand out on this 6 song project. This song is a return to Roy’s well known ambient sound as he speaks on some relatable topics such as his disconnect from the city he is from since spending a lot of time in LA and his thoughts on how he will be perceived when he leaves the earth. Roy also speaks on his growth as a person and also his hair, expressing that the idea of finding power in your hair is the reason for him having braids. The progression of the production on this record, especially in the outro, is a definite highlight on this track and gives it an extra layer of emotion. Roy’s use of melody is one of his best attributes and he showcases that on this song excellently.
Highlights: Top tier Melodies! and Message of the record
Lyrical content: 8
6. I Feel It
The outro to the latest Roy Woods project is arguably the most emotive track on this presentation. Roy croons about the mutual feeling he has with the woman in his life, expressing how it’s not just her feeling the burdens of life and struggles within the relationship. The production on this song is a big stand out on this record as the drums add to the hard-hitting and gritty vocal tones of Roy’s distress and pain. This song really showcases Roy’s specific lane as an artist and has moments that remind you of the late great Michael Jackson in his delivery, which is something that early Roy fans are very familiar with. Another stand out on the project.
Highlights: emotive delivery and drum pattern
Lowlights: Lack of depth in the lyrical content
Lyrical content: 7
Overall the Dem Times EP is a good listen on first account with some quality moments in production and melody. The lyrical content of the project does leave a little to be desired with such great song titles and concepts but seems to have a shallow perspective on those themes and a heavy reliance on his melodies, which in his defense are a strong point of his artistry. The project does close out strong with two of the best records coming late in the game. There are a few diversions on the project that take a slightly different direction, however, that is not to say that the songs are not good in their own right. Roy Woods' projects usually age well and we believe this falls into that category and will have some quality replay value.
Overall Score: 7.44
Replay Value: Favourable
Listen to the full project below: