Album Review | Darko the Super & Steel Tipped Dove - The Devil Defeated

This album was released on March 13th this year. I kinda mentioned my experience with Darko the Super as an artist a few weeks ago when I wrote about his latest single, which was really great. Truth be told, I was kinda apprehensive towards this album because I wasn’t crazy about the one single that I’d heard. Hearing his latest song convinced me to give this one a shot though. I was gonna listen to it no matter what, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write a review. I honestly don’t like writing reviews about more obscure artists like this unless I know I’m not gonna hate their music. I’d feel like an asshole for shitting on a lesser known artist, especially if they didn’t ask for any feedback. Anyway, every song here is produced by Steel Tipped Dove, who’s an artist I’m personally more familiar with. He’s done a lot of work with legendary underground artists, including billy woods, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire & milo, among others. Are those guys considered underground legends? I feel like billy woods is at this point. milo probably could be too. I don’t know… Fuck it. It don’t matter.

1. Golden God featuring Torito

Steel Tipped Dove’s production on this track is really interesting. I love the kind of off-kilter percussion. The beat itself is weird as hell overall to be honest. The strange sounds that come in as the song progresses are really cool. Around the 0:40 second mark it sounds like someone opened a portal to a magical forest that’d be found in a fairytale. I really like Darko’s voice too. There are a lot of quotable lines in the opening verse. The opening few couplets reminded me of the RZA for some reason, but I have no idea why to be honest.
Jumpin’ off the roof like a golden god
See me in the booth catching lightning rods
I also really loved this one…
Only go to the shows that I play at
Rappers nowadays act like spayed cats
The more low-key, relaxed delivery from Torito during the second half of the song is really cool too. Going from Darko, who sounds like a super whimsical cartoon character, to Torito, who sounds more like a pensive, conscious, abstract poet, is really cool. Honestly, this song is really awesome. They both rhymed their asses off, and I really like the bizarre production. This shit is dope as hell.

2. Butterflies in My Tummy

I love how fucking weird this song is. I was a bit worried at first because Darko’s flow and rhymes start off super simplistic and a bit uninteresting, but he eventually steps things up and gets a bit more intricate with it.
Cold rhymes ’til the death of me
My whole squad federal reserve, no checkin’ me
He ends the verse with a really bizarre, kinda ODB-ish vocal riff, which was pretty cool. I’m not in love with the beat, but it has a unique charm to it. The clunky percussion is what stands out the most, and not necessarily in a bad way. The saxophone in the background is kind of odd too. This definitely isn’t a favorite of mine on the album, but I do enjoy it to some extent. The beat gets a lot more enjoyable towards the end of the song; it gets a lot more melodic and harmonious. The song is pretty good overall.

3. The News featuring ialive

The way the previous track segues into this one is really smooth, and this song has one of my favorite beats on the project. It sounds slightly more electronic and melodic than the preceding couple instrumentals. I really like the first verse from Darko too. That line about how watching him attempt a pushup is depressing was pretty funny. His verse was pretty good, and I really liked ialive’s performance as well.
No news is good news
No blues is no fun
You can’t be happy all the time
It’s the sho’nuff shogun
This line right here is probably my favorite in the whole song.
Helter skelter, holy cannoli
Disrespect will only get your teeth lookin’ like Mick Foley
I really fuck with this track. It’s dope.

4. Lo-Fi Princess 2

This is the first track on the album that I don’t really care for. I don’t think it’s bad at all, but it’s just not particularly enjoyable for me. I think the dreamy, kind of ethereal production is pretty cool, and the content is interesting. Darko’s performance here is just kinda… I don’t know. It’s really odd, and kind of endearing in a way, but not enough to make me wanna come back to it. I’m really just kind of indifferent towards it to be honest. The lyrics are pretty cool though. The entire song is just him singing to his “lo-fi princess” about how much he loves her. The singing isn’t exactly impressive, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard. It’s not like he’s really trying to blow anyone away with his vocals here. It almost seems like a joke. Overall, it’s a solid track. It’s not something I’d listen to again, but I certainly don’t hate it. It’s just okay to me.

5. Speedrun

This is one of my favorite songs on the project. I think from a technical standpoint, this track has some of the best rapping from Darko on the whole album.
Acid raindrops falling on my head
Can’t remember the first time I wished that I was dead
Might take a psycho walk down Psycho Path
Fuck Heineken, we’re drinkin’ Pabst
Don’t you dare fuckin’ laugh at me
I’ll turn this whole scene into a tragedy
I don’t know exactly what it is about this song, but a lot of the lyrics are just really endearing to me. I feel like I relate to him a lot. It feels like there’s a very silly, whimsical atmosphere to the song, but then there are some super dark undertones. I really liked that line where he basically told people not to mention high school because it triggers him. This track has a very straightforward structure since it’s basically just one verse, but I really love it. This is one of my favorite songs on the whole album. I think it’s dope as hell.

6. Horse Meat Stew featuring Alaska

I was pretty surprised to see a feature from Alaska on this song. I feel like I haven’t seen his name in a long time, although to be fair he was featured on that Grift Company album from last year. Anyway, this track has one of the better instrumentals on the album in my opinion. The first verse from Darko is pretty nice, and the fast paced hook is cool too. Alaska’s verse was pretty tight, although I have to admit that I couldn’t understand everything he was saying. I feel like he was either using certain words or referencing certain people that I’d never heard of. He had a line where he said “That’s the whitest shit I’ve ever said, I’m on my Asher Roth,” which is pretty dope, but I feel like I would’ve appreciated it much more if I actually understood the preceding line. Maybe I’m just not white enough to compute it. I don’t know. That line where he referenced the “corny beef” between Talib Kweli & Remedy was really dope though. Anyway, this track has one of the cooler beats on the album in my opinion, but as a song it doesn’t stand out that much to me. I definitely enjoyed it to some extent though. I think it’s pretty good.

7. The Devil Defeated

This track has another pretty cool beat. Darko’s delivery and flow is really eccentric on the opening verse here, so it was hard for me to understand some of it. There were cool lines that I could pick out here and there though. The one about him living in atonement rather than in the moment was dope. The hook is kinda weird, but I like it a lot. I feel like the brevity of the hook adds a lot to the song. If it lasted any longer than it does it would’ve felt like a waste of time to be honest. The second verse is even doper than the first one in my opinion.
Told my man ialive, “Bust a damn U-ey”
We be making decimals like that man Dewey
Girlie, I wanna eat your face like a piece of steak
Take a leap of faith, it’ll be great
Don’t fight me, you’ll just bore me
It’s an unlikely story
Lay the tarp down
Take my heart out
Season the skin, this is where it all begins
On the outside lookin’ in, don’t name the pet pig
Don’t fall for it, it’ll only makes things much more morbid
I’m outta orbit, leave it up to God and let him sort it
As I said, there’s a very dark undertone beneath the goofy delivery, which makes everything twice as intriguing. Overall, I really enjoyed this track; it’d’ve been nice if the song was a bit more varied sonically because it doesn’t really go anywhere, but that’s really just a nitpick to be honest. I think it’s dope.

8. Wet Cigarrette

This track definitely has one of the best instrumentals on the album in my opinion. Unfortunately, the overall song wasn’t really that great to me. It’s a pretty short track, so it’s really just one verse. Darko’s flow and delivery is really bizarre and fast paced, so it was very difficult for me to actually understand what he was saying. Perhaps if the lyrics actually registered for me I would’ve enjoyed it more, but it just feels a little undercooked as a song. The beat’s really dope, but aside from that nothing really stood out. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s a bad song, but I can’t really say that I enjoyed it either. It’s just okay to me.

9. Let Go & Let God featuring Lil B & Charles Hamilton

I believe this was the very first song that I ever heard by Darko the Super. Obviously I had to check it out after seeing the features just because that’s such a strange combination of artists. I wasn’t really expecting the song to be good because Lil B’s music is pretty horrible to me, and I’ve never been one to listen to music ironically, but I wanted to at least hear it. Lil B kicks things off with a predictably awful joke of a verse, but the production is at least pretty cool. Darko comes in right after him. His writing obviously has much more effort put into it, so the lyrics are pretty cool. I unfortunately just wasn’t really feelin’ his flow at all. It didn’t really feel like he was riding the beat properly. Maybe he was, but I personally couldn’t catch the rhythm he was going for. It became a bit more digestible as it progressed, but overall I wasn’t crazy about it. To be completely honest, Charles Hamilton’s performance here was incredibly disappointing. I know he hasn’t really been focusing on Rap lately, and has been making more Jazz, and I feel like that may have affected his performance here because it’s really not up to par. Darko & Steel Tipped Dove are the only artists involved in this song who really did a decent job in my opinion. The song honestly feels like a mess. It’s actually one of my least favorite songs on the album. I don’t know that I’d call it wack, but I can’t really say that I enjoyed it at all either. I think it’s mediocre personally.

10. Suzy

This song is weird as fuck and kinda morbid, but I love it. The kinda dark, animated production is really nice, and the grim, yet comical performance from Darko is great too. The whole track is about how he murdered a girl named Suzy. Obviously on paper that sounds really fucked up, but the way it’s presented makes it seem oddly friendly in a way. I don’t think it has anything to do with the actual writing; I’m sure it’s mainly just his silly sounding delivery that makes it sound less fucked up than it actually is.
I shot Suzy in the face last night
High school dance in 1999
It was a bloody mess, I ruined a new prom dress
Now they lay a body to rest and I’m in duress
Honestly… Darko sounds fucking insane on this song, but in the coolest way possible. He paints the picture of himself in high school being a weird creep who was obsessed with a girl named Suzy.
I shot Suzy in the face and changed my name
Moved to Spain, it’s now my duty to leave you completely drained
Of all the color in your pretty face, so beautiful
Goes hand in hand like manicure cut cuticles
A mind is a cubicle, and I can’t get out
It was a bloody mess, but at least I got the dread out
They couldn’t get the lead out
It was a closed casket wake, it was a big mistake
This shit is really fucking awesome to be honest. It’s easily one of the most intriguing songs on the album from a lyrical standpoint. The instrumental kinda switches up after about 2 minutes and 15 seconds. This part of the story describes Darko being pulled over by the police, and it’s fucking awesome.
So now I’m cruisin’ down the highway, doin’ things my way
Wide awake at the wheel, what’s the deal, WHOOP WHOOP
That’s the sound of the police, now I’m grindin’ my teeth
What do these dogshit coppers want?
I pulled over to the shoulder and hid the gun
I stole from my dad’s closet, he’s a paranoid freak
I swear he never sleeps, insomniac, hypochondriac
Diabetic, out of wack, soundtrack to a driveby
I fucking love this song. I feel like he completely knocked it outta the park. Everything about this track is super well done. The bizarre, whimsical delivery mixes with the incredibly morbid and dark lyricism in a really cool way. I feel like I’m listening to the character on the cover of the album rap. This song is amazing. It’s dope af to me.

11. The Ledge featuring Denmark Vessey

This song has another one of the better instrumentals on the album in my opinion. The first verse from Darko is pretty awesome to me honestly. He had a shit ton of really dope references, from Quan Chi to Jet Jaguar. His flow was really great too. I loved that line where he basically said he was punching in lines while you were at home punching walls; that was funny. Denmark Vessey is an artist I’ve always admired, but his music is kinda hit or miss for me. Thankfully, his verse ended up being pretty solid here. I definitely preferred Darko’s performance on this song, but I enjoyed Denmark’s verse as well. Overall, this is another one of my favorite songs on the album. As I said before, I think it has one of the better beats on the project, and Darko killed this shit. The song is dope as hell.

12. Grow Fangs featuring Curly Castro

This track has one of the prettiest instrumentals on the album. The opening verse from Curly Castro is really great; in fact, I’d probably say that he had the best feature on the whole album. It’s definitely between him and ialive. Darko’s verse was really great too. I wasn’t immediately hooked, but by the time he was finished rapping I was thoroughly entertained.
It was the angels vs. the rebels
The dust won’t settle when I bust chrome metal
Patiently waitin’ to explode on satan
Down in Dayton with chili on my spaghetti
The song’s got a very straightforward structure. It’s just one verse after another. I enjoyed it quite a bit though. There isn’t really anything that I dislike about it. This shit is dope.

13. I Want More (Out of Life)

The hard hitting production on this track is really great. This song sounds like an acid trip in the form of music to be honest. The first verse from Darko is pretty nice.
Punks sniff glue, graf heads sniff markers
Every family gathering I get a little bit taller
E-40 made The Hall of Game, I made Wall of Fame
At the Elmwood Park Diner, all in the family like Rob Reiner
The hook is pretty solid, and the last verse is cool too. I will say that it was kinda hard for me to follow what Darko was saying a lot of the time due to the over the top delivery and flow. I definitely still enjoyed the song though. It’s a good track.

14. Front Row 40 Water

The beat on this song is dope af. It sounds super weird, like something that belongs on the soundtrack to Alice in Wonderland; I love it. By the time I got to this song, I pretty much knew what to expect from Darko. I enjoyed his performance here quite a bit though.
She taste like Coca Cola, and I’m a Pepsi guy
Plus Coke supported nazis, and that ain’t wise
I feel like I’d heard about a connection between Coca Cola and nazis before, but I’m not sure. I’m glad he said this though because now I know not to support Coca Cola. I mean, I don’t drink soda anyway, but still. I feel like the majority of big corporations do fucked up shit like that, and we just don’t know about it, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, there was one line towards the end of the song where Darko said “I hope Kawhi Leonard gets malaria,” which I thought was kinda funny. Anyway, I feel pretty much the same way about this track as I did the preceding one. The production is really dope, and I enjoyed Darko’s performance as well. It’s not a favorite of mine, but I was definitely entertained. I think it’s a good song.

15. The Proverbial Gun

This song might actually have my favorite beat on the whole album. This is gonna sound weird as hell, but it evoked some wild ass imagery in my head before Darko even started rapping, so just hear me out… When I heard this beat, I pictured Satan dropping me into a giant ass golden cauldron with boiling water in it, and mixing me into a hot soup full of sinners. That shit is awesome. If I was still a competent artist, I would draw that shit right now. Anyway, Darko killed this shit.
Rollin’ down the hill, snowballing, gettin’ bigger
Proverbial gun to my head, I pull the trigger
The content is super dark, but in the coolest way possible. The concept is basically Darko describing how his girlfriend persuaded him to not kill himself.
My laziness personified
You told me to think of everyone who’d care if I died
It’s like a walking talking knife in my side
Depression hold’s a grip on my mind
You hold my heart so gently it’s hard to find
I find it hard, it’s tearing me apart like Jim Stark
The farce that steers me wrong
This was supposed to be a happy song
I love you like fat kids and cake
I was that kid who watched his soul drown in the lake
Overall, this is easily one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion. I love when Darko’s lyricism is super dark like this, and I adore the production here as well. I don’t have any issues with this track at all. It’s dope af.

This album is really good, and I’m super glad that I checked it out. Darko the Super is another one of the most interesting artists I’ve become familiar with this year. My favorite aspect of this album is his super lighthearted, goofy sounding delivery juxtaposed with the dark, morbid lyricism. I feel like this album has some of the most interesting beats I’ve heard from Steel Tipped Dove too. It’s understandable because if I was a producer and I was working with Darko, I’d want to give him the weirdest shit I could cook up. Darko’s the kinda guy I would mention in the same conversation as Celestaphone, SHADI, and MC Paul Barman. He has a very unique style of delivering his bars, and I feel like it may turn some listeners off, but for people who appreciate top notch lyricism and interesting writing, you’ll probably fuck with this. He has a lot of really dope flows on this album too. This shit is weird as hell honestly, but in the best way possible. I almost didn’t check this album out, but I’m super glad that I did. Don’t sleep on it. It’s a dope project, and I’m excited to hear even more work from Darko in the future.

SCORE: 77 (B)