Die-Rek “Butta Breath” (album review)

Fat Beats (June 26, 2012)
Review by LaRosa

Emcees are a dime a dozen these days. Every time you turn around there’s a new clamoring for your attention with their gimmicks and trendiness. It’s becoming a rarity to find an emcee that works hard at his craft and presents you with something that is meaningful and well thought out. Die-Rek is in that latter crowd. He’s a grown man giving you grown man hip-hop that speaks to your soul. After wowing listeners with his debut effort The Die-Version Project, he’s now back with a seven track EP titled Butta Breath.

Keeping with his style that is an ode to the golden days of hip-hop, Die-Rek offers up a project jam packed with several self-contained stories that all weave together to create a larger picture of what it means to say that “life is butta breath.” The album starts off with an intro that leads into the track called “Sheila” that puts Die-Rek’s story telling abilities on full display as he tells the story of a woman named Sheila. This track is definitely a throwback to the days of old from the soulful arrangement & the singing hook. This leads into “Foundation,” a track that builds upon the story that was told in “Sheila,” but in a more upbeat fashion. It’s here that he talks about the foundations that are laid in the early stages of life that play a significant part in our later years of development. As the song states, we need to take note of what we’re building because once we start it can’t be stopped, especially when it comes to setting an example for our children. This theme is carried out in the other tracks as well, where a heavy emphasis is placed on grounding being grounded in the Word of God so that the right foundation is in place for living life.

If there is one glaring downside to Butta Breath it has to be that it is only seven tracks deep, with two being an intro & interlude, leaving you with only five tracks of music. With a total running time of approximately eighteen minutes, this album definitely leaves the listener wanting for more. Just as you’re reaching a point where you’re totally immersed in the music it just ends and you’re forced to put it on repeat. While the intro serves to introduce the first song, the album could have been just as good without it. That aside, and such is the nature of EPs, you just want more as a listener. With the brevity of this album, you can rest assured that there is no filler and everything you get is meaty, but it would’ve have been nice to have an additional track or two in lieu of the interludes.

Butta Breath is a solid album that sounds as if it was transplanted from another era of hip-hop. Fans of a more traditional hip-hop sound will be pleased with what Die-Rek offers up on this project. As always, he offers up a healthy balance of practical life application that is infused with the truth of Scripture. Because of its short running time, you may walk away with a feeling of want, but in many ways, that’s how an album should leave the listener. So, just put the album on repeat and continue to nod your head to this classic hip-hop sound.

Purchase: Shop for Die-Rek CDs or MP3 downloads


  1. Die-Rek’s stuff is really good. His voice and flow is similar to Common’s. Everyone should get his stuff as it’s all quality.
    And I can relate to what the reviewer is saying…I personally am not a fan of Interludes, Intros, or Outros. They’re usually pointless and a waste of time.

  2. I’ll say sincerely, I dig this…taking me back to the days when a project was not just 10 songs flung together…I’ll call ‘Butta Breath’ epic, classic material…looking forward to what’s next! Digging this – BIG UP @DIEREK!

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