Ramriddlz, Toronto’s self-proclaimed Sweetestman dropped his 3rd project Sweeterdreams. In its entirety, Sweeterdreams chronicles mercurial tides of modern love. The imperceptible mawkishness seems to have freed Ram from the abrasive side of Dancehall as Ramy gives nods to the pop anthems that influenced our childhood. The thematic change is abridged by Ram skillfully lacing his lewd rhymes from previous hits such as El Dorado’s “I’m a heathen. Mountain in the back, I might fuck you on the back while you’re peaking”– to convey Sweeterdreams ruminating hues. Although I couldn’t overcome the void of his signature kinetic dance tracks, Ramriddlz offers a richer take on modern love compared to his commercial successful adversaries.
With the exception of Habaehsa, the initial singles released were a departure from Mr. Ramrod’s signature dancehall sound and perverted parables. In a remarkable shift, he channels Blink 182 for the opening track “Meanincholy” and introduces us to a “brown skin girl who he thought was Tamil.” His oral illustrations may not be like clitoral stimulations (circa Andre 3000) but he assures as that all it takes is “just a flicka da wrist of the clitoris” in No Amore– if you must. Unlike the superimposed Venis EP, the body of Sweeterdreams is a story arc of love sought, had and lost- with the mid-point climatic banger Habaesha.
The decidedly reticent melodic tones overwhelm the album- the notable absence of the viscerally affective tracks from Venis is sure to disappoint many fans. The Bravura of Venis’ self entitled intro track is a steep drop to Sweeterdreams’ self entitled track. Up-tempo tracks, Thing About Me and Woke Up, exude catchy pop tones S/O to Shakira but fail to deliver the full bodied feel of Habaesha.
For me, the most standout quality of Sweeterdreams, is it’s expose of modern love. Ramriddlz’s aloof references to love foregrounded by sexual escapades is uncomfortably familiar- and refreshing. In billboard charts congested with the overbrooding atmospherics, Ramriddlz reflects both the fuckboy populist and the emotionally risk-averse psychology that has defined millennialls. The impropriety and disposability plaguing many relationships is notably characterized in my two favorite songs Scotch Bonnet and Worst Love, slow rolling 80’s synth “love” songs. To a musical layman like myself, the production sounded more of the same, electro synths and percussive world music influences which in the right doses gives sonic relief but in Sweeterdreams, had an almost embalming effect.
Oceans a “happy-sad, idk how to feel cuz i’m a fuckboy” track sounds like the ending credits to Netflix’s GLOW.
As a testament to his integrity, the change doesn’t feel like a seasonal remodeling worthy of an OVO seal. It feels like the same originality and internal sourcing that made Sweeterman a hit. I miss the aggressive dancehall tracks. While Venis served as an escape, Sweeterdreams is reflective- meta-commentary. Unlike the vacous introspection of Justin Beiber, overwrought production from Tory Lanez and ennui drawl of Khalid, Sweeterdreams depicts the millennial experience at the cusp of love- in nitty-gritty color.