D.R.A.M. - Caretaker f. SZA

When this week began, D.R.A.M.’s name was known primarily for being embroiled in a “scandal” of sorts – Drake’s “Hotline Bling” (which, in its initial release this past summer, was branded as “Cha Cha Remix”) usurped D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha” single, and the singer/rapper understandably aired his grievances about it.

How do you bounce back from getting your sh*t stolen? You take advantage of the moment and release a project so people will know your name for YOU. D.R.A.M.’s debut EP, GAHDAMN!, lands on online retailers today, as the Social Experiment affiliate’s first chance to prove that he doesn’t need to stand alongside anyone to be worthy of attention or spins. And to further prove that GAHDAMN! is worth every minute of your time, D.R.A.M. allowed Spotify to put up a free stream of the full project.

Nine tracks deep – technically, eight tracks and one interlude, in the far too short, Blaxploitation era-inspired “Redemption THEME” – and featuring appearances from SZA and fellow Social Experimenter Donnie Trumpet, GAHDAMN! bounces back and forth between being a hip-hop soul project and an EP full of dance records. “Signals (Throw It Around)” starts out like a slow burner but its final minute transforms into a more upbeat, EDM-influenced sound. Donnie Trumpet does what Donnie Trumpet does on “$,” given new life on GAHDAMN! after initially appearing on the #1EPicEP, with D.R.A.M. employing a singing rhyming style and never seeming to stop to take a breath at all. But the soul is truly packed in the second half of the EP, with D.R.A.M. letting his singing voice flourish on tracks like “I’ll Be Back Again” (which itself benefits from a killer instrumental outro) and the SZA-assisted “Caretaker (Extended).”

Stream D.R.A.M.’s GAHDAMN!” EP for yourself down below. GAHDAMN! is available on iTunes now.