Last Thursday, nearly four years after their trademark logo first hit the web, rising r&b duo dvsn, the team of Grammy Award-winning producer Nineteen85 (real name Paul Jefferies) and fellow Toronto native, singer Daniel Daley, dropped their highly-anticipated sophomore album Morning After. The album arrived much to the delight of their fans who’ve been waiting to confirm the hype that resulted from their Sept. 5th project, which received rave reviews all across the board and further confirmed that Toronto and the Greater Toronto area, in general, produces some of the greatest musical talents we have in the world today.
Morning After arrives at a period in music where traditional R&B seems to be making a comeback, along with newer acts like Daniel Caesar and Brent Faiyaz, whose new project Sonder Son just so happened to arrive on the same day. What seems to separate dvsn from the rest of the pact, however, is their ability to make records that are so effortlessly similar to classic R&B, while simultaneously excelling in incorporating contemporary elements of the genre.
Dvsn officially entered the scene back on September 5th, 2015 when Jefferies quietly dropped off two tracks on Soundcloud under the dvsn name: “With Me“, and “The Line“; the latter of which has been widely regarded to be arguably one of the best R&B tracks of the past few years (it’s pretty tough).
After a few more singles like the captivating “Too Deep“, and the passionate “Hallucinations“, dvsn went on to put out their debut album in March 2016, titled after the date of the release of their first two tracks. In an interview with Rolling Stone, when speaking on their debut Jefferies says,
“Sept 5th in a way works like a mixtape; it’s an introductory piece,”
Calling Sept 5th. an introductory piece was truly fitting, as Daley’s powerful vocals shined over masterful production in tracks like “With Me” and “Another One“, while also delivering breathtaking falsettos in tracks like “Angela” and “The Line”. His vocal prowess proved potent in ways that you can at times even feel the weight of emotions from his lyrics, which if sung otherwise wouldn’t necessary sound so impactful.
While Sept. 5th received critical acclaim, the response wasn’t all without some criticism; with some people saying that a few of their records sound the same and that they were too fixated on making under-the-sheets music. Yet all that criticism has flown out the window with the release of Morning After, which is probably the most cohesive, complete, well-executed project an OVO artist has put out in a while. With Morning After, dvsn not only only further justify that they are more than just an outlet for providing bedroom jams, but in addition, they reassure their fans of their ability to make a powerful full-length project, all while tapping into different pockets of creativity and outright brilliance.
Each and every track on the album gives a unique listening experience, from the switch-up on “Nuh Time/Tek Time“, to the ready-for-radio title track, and even to the Boyz II Men-esque ballad that is “Body Smile”.
In a time where we are seeing more and more budding relationships between artists and producers, the connection that Jefferies and Daley have is just so magnetic, almost as if you never want to hear them work with anybody other than each other. There’s just an authentic understanding between the two, as evidenced in the following quote from Jefferies:
“It’s not for the production to be another singer. It’s not having those things compete.”
And after hearing Morning After, it just might be time for fans to realize the team of Daley and Jefferies might be at the top of the OVO ranks. It’s no secret that Drake fans have expressed a sort of displeasure with the change in the quality of his music. While it’s undeniable that he has continued to show off his unlimited range in tackling different styles, cultures, and genres in his music with his latest release, More Life, many seem to be tired with tendency to make the same record over and over again. Drake will continue to be the unquestionably biggest and arguably the best artist in music currently, yet the questions of him having reached his musical peak will certainly loom.
Moving on, while the talent is certainly there when it comes to fellow OVO Sound duo Majid Jordan, their self-titled project didn’t necessarily live up to expectations (still, look out for The Space Between on the 27th). And while PARTYNEXTOOR has remained probably the most consistent of all of the OVO acts, the talk of his pen game overshadowing his ability to shine on records of his own records can’t be ignored.
Roy Wood$ just might be the most polarizing member of the OVO roster; he’s on par if not better than his labelmates when it comes to vocal prowess and overall style. And yet at times his music just tends to fall short, but the fact that he’s still only 21 keeps you interested in the prospects of him truly realizing his full potential someday. Let’s just hope he spends a little more time with 40.
Dvsn should come in first place at least for right now, really because of the progression that they’ve made from one great listen to the next. Morning After is an album that is so much sonically different than Sept. 5th, and yet they still are able to remain true to themselves; as there’s just a sort of authenticity and pure originality to each and every one of their records that seem to have left their OVO counterparts.
And while they’ve kept the whole “letting the music speak for itself” approach by keeping rather low profiles, one quick look at their Instagram shows that they’ve been gradually more accepting of the spotlight lately. Who knows whether or not that’s a deliberate move from them, but what’s known for sure is that their potential stardom looks almost inevitable as their talent surely knows no bounds.
Listen to Morning After below via both Soundcloud and Spotify, and be sure to follow dvsn on: