GDP - Realistic Expectations (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Realistic Expectations (2009)


Two things are immediately clear regarding GDP's first proper full-length, Realistic Expections. The first is that GDP is unabashedly honest and forward. The second is that he doesn't give a fuck what you think about that. From the get-go, Realistic Expectations is a fast-paced lyrical "fuck you" to everyone from critics to other rappers to interested journalists. It's this mentality that makes the album both refreshing and occasionally difficult to stomach in large doses.

While the opener "Butter Scripts" is undoubtedly one of the strongest tracks, the focus of the album really comes through in "Them Verse Us," when GDP notes, "Not to be confused with protest music / pretend I have some sort of viable solution / for robots and superhumans fighting for a future / and a generation replaced by computers." GDP offers up his experience and views free of any air of superiority or judgment. While some may take it as a cop-out, it seems amazingly refreshing in a scene where many seem to believe that they must offer a higher level of understanding in their music (not that offering your solution to a problem is a bad thing, but do I really need Common to pretend he can offer me the solution to societal injustice immediately after rapping about fucking a girl in a bathroom?). Realistic Expectations isn't an album that's going to tell you who to vote for in the next election or what god to believe in. This album is about reaching out and identifying with the people who live in the margins, couch-surfers, drug users, people who work more than a 9 to 5 and still can't afford health care and pretty much anyone who has become disenchanted with what modern consumerism has to offer.

While the album's sense of nihilism can be refreshing, it can also tend to wear in long listening. Going from track to track hearing about drug use and trying to sleep with women can be a bit redundant. That isn't to say that's all there is on the album, but it is there in good measure and definitely stays with you even after you stop listening. The biggest defense against the redundancy is GDP's unique lyrics and delivery. While some of his content may end up in the same location, GDP's gets you there each time with a unique and twisted journey through his own mind. So while you may hear a lot about smoking weed, you never think, "Haven't I heard this line before?"

All in all, Realistic Expectations is an album that lives and dies by its acceptance of what it (and GDP) is. So often it's tempting for artists to reach for that higher meaning, as if musicians and artists should craft public policy and often, in fact, some may find a sense of emptiness in the album. People want answers and beliefs, even if they're as simplistic as, "fuck the government." But, Realistic Expectations is just that: realistic. This album isn't going to be the theme song for a protest or a political campaign but it may just connect with those considered too cynical to relate to those songs.

Realistic Expectations