Even though the Detroit MC Dej Loaf has become known for her high-profile collaborations (Future, Big Sean, Eminem), she’s even better riding solo. After teaming up with the Atlanta singer Jacquees for a mixtape earlier this year, Dej Loaf is back with the new single “Birdcall 1.5,” a sweet-but-deadly blend of singing and rapping. It nods to her 2014 breakout song “Try Me,” with all of that song's cool confidence intact.
Dej Loaf slips easily into the role of raconteur taking stock of how her life has changed thanks to wealth and the access it affords her. Unfortunately, improvements in status attract the typical hangers-on, and Dej feels a growing distrust of those around her, as former friends and snitches start to look alike. A sense of paranoia lingers, and Dej tries to duck it via overt ferocity (“I been riding with my hammer lately”) and unmistakable bravado (“I’m the hardest in this shit, I’m just being honest/See back then the problem was, I was being too humble.”) Hona Castello and the Coalition handle the production, placing big drum hits, shimmering cymbals, and squelchy synths at the heart of the beat, while Dej adds well-timed ad libs throughout. When Dej Loaf believes in herself this much, it’s hard for the rest of us not to follow suit.