all these crying birds

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Queens rapper Deem Spencer returns with all these crying birds, a carefree EP released on the heels of his 2023 drink sum wtr debut acclaimed by the likes of Rolling Stone and Hypebeast. Five supremely potent, honest tracks with no features and one producer; he views the bold simplicity of birds as a counterpoint to adultSW!M’s more collaborative, spiritual statement. Sharp and lean yet no less ambitious, Deem reminds us he is equally effective in this mode, calling back to his DIY days throwing shows across NYC’s underground and self-releasing softly free-spoken tracks akin to “audio diaries” (Pitchfork). “I am having more fun on this project, following my instincts,” says Deem. “I went back to the basics, but I learned so much about making music through the adultSW!M process.” He calls it a love album, and the savvy artist approaches the subject from different angles, balancing bars of vulnerable introspection with playfully puffed-up persona and humor. “When I talk about love and romance, I like to make light of how dramatic some of our love lives can be…the title all these crying birds, that's just funny to me, but it's also poetry, a storybook classic feel.”

Indeed Deem has a knack for character development; his aspirations include a television pilot and a short film currently in the works, and when citing influences, he drops Willy Wonka in the same breath as Outkast and Frank Ocean. “My goal is to be Willy Wonka, in my own Jamaican way.” His ideas have been spinning since adultSW!M, and they overflowed into sessions last summer at producer Jackson Pittman’s Manhattan studio. “A friend of mine would always tell me, oh, Jackson’s got beats for you. So we finally linked up and we ended up making like 70 demos, probably more like 90 by now.” 

The duo’s chemistry is clear, and they get right into it with a pair of under-two-minute opening tracks. On “goodbye,” Deem introduces a “no f*cks given” mindset above a bouncing synth and drum pattern. Then he goes tender on “anywhere,” inspired by the old-soul loop, he felt the call to “say some heartbroken sh*t on there.” The soft cadence continues on “see me as myself” — “I'm a sensitive dude,” he jokes, noting, “that joint is sweet. I'm excited to perform it…like a Deem Spencer R&B ballad real quick.” 

The EP's shape-shifting centerpiece, “Pony,” details the tangles and misunderstandings of a relationship’s fallout. “Pony feels like a lovable heel turn,” he says. “Everybody’s the ‘bad guy’ sometimes to somebody. And sometimes you feel like leaning into it.” All this over some of the purest hooks in his catalog. 

He closes all these crying birds in the clever flow of “she’s a winner,” which crosses skittering beats and skidding car screeches: “Shorty tried to reach me by pigeon fly courier / really had a lot of time to figure how there’s no way out / I am not like these other n*ggas I am glorious.”
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