“Pussy” was undoubtedly the word of this past weekend. Between ubiquitous pink feline hats and “don’t grab my pussy” signs, the word didn’t seem to miss anyone’s lips in Boston. Even rapper D.R.A.M., who Sunday night at the Sinclair unexpectedly noted: “If you got some good pussy lemme hear you say OWW!”
It’s not a political statement but we can roll with it.
When your stage name stands for “Does Real Ass Music,” your reputation hinges on the delivery of such “real ass” music. Through well-honed talent or pure natural flair — we’re not sure which — D.R.A.M. has always made sure to curate music that hits the emotional sweet spot, be it joie de vivre or desire, which reflected in his set in Cambridge.
Never has there been a more infectious smile behind Hot 100 rap music than the toothy grin of D.R.A.M. On the cover of his debut album, the German-born, Virginia-raised rapper cheeses at the camera while snuggling a pup. Just like his music, the image is peculiar and refreshing at the same time, and therein lies the key to much of the rapper’s recent success. That same happy-go-lucky charm boosted D.R.A.M. to stardom with “Broccoli,” a cheery marijuana ode that’s borderline ridiculous with its liberal use of the recorder. Paired with Lil Yachty’s mumble rap verses, the single represents what rap usually isn’t — jovial yet oddly incoherent at times.
The sonic boom from D.R.A.M.’s debut Big Baby D.R.A.M. landed him a sold-out Sinclair gig after two sold-out shows in NYC. While he played up his jaunty side on flirty track “Cute” with two-steps across the stage, most of D.R.A.M.’s set focused on creating a moodier environment, using slick R&B jams like “Get it Myself” and “Signals (Throw it Around)” to tweak the vibe of the room. Despite his female collaborators’ absence, “Wifi” and “Caretaker” glimmered with sensuality sans help from SZA or Erykah Badu.
Backed by a live band, the lusty date night music sizzled with a jazz lounge sound. D.R.A.M., not one to pass up chances for “romance” (see: aforementioned quote) delivered his verses with an eager and bona fide “lookin’ for love” mentality. Goofiness seeped into the set with latin-inspired “Cha Cha,” a good primer for “Broccoli,” the obvious choice for his final tune onstage.
Fun fact: if you play the chorus of “Broccoli” slowly, it sounds like an innocent 1950s showtune. That’s exactly how D.R.A.M. introduced the tune as the show’s final hurrah; at a leisurely clip at first, then launching into the regular upbeat jangle of the tune and hopping into the audience. Seeing how Massachusetts officially legalized weed about a month ago, the crowd welcomed the hit with kush wafting through the air.
Question 4 couldn’t have passed at a better time.
D.R.A.M. photos by Victoria Wasylak. Follow her on Twitter @VickiWasylak.