By Thomas Wee
New York City based Coleman Hughes, under the alias COLDMAN, opens his second full length album, My Dick Works Fine!, with “Intro”, which begins with Coleman reflecting on a conversation with an old teacher. She talks to him about his first album, Neurotika, and calls it, “so aggressive” and tells him that he’s busy making a mess of his life. Coleman initially protests, but in a verse that sets the tone for the rest of the album, he ends up agreeing with her,
Then I thought about it a second and she was right // I can’t go around being edgy all of my life //
Coleman goes on to make an analogy to Peter Pan, calling the story “unrealistic and corny”. He rejects this “never grow up” attitude in the next verse,
I mean do I want that?/ Nah I want to outgrow the grounds I used to stomp at //
My Dick Works Fine! is an album that, among other things, is generally concerned with maturity. Coleman raps on the second track “Hey” and delivers a series of contradictions,
How am I legally drinking and yet I’m still missing my Mommy//
And then later, the refrain croons,
If you think I’m immature you don’t know what a sage looks like//
This contradiction, of immaturity and maturity, runs throughout the album. Many elements of this album, Coleman’s playful, sparkling production, his wry delivery, and even the song and album titles themselves (“I Can’t Fart Around You” and “MY DICK WORKS”) are all, at first, displays of immaturity. What stands as a marker of Coleman’s craft and talent however, is how he mixes these “immature” elements with intricate, clever lyrics that show another side of himself, one that is introspective, slightly jaded, and above all, mature.
This maturity extends not just to the content of what Coleman says but to the larger sound of the project in general. It’s the careful and tasteful production and sampling of “My Dick Works Fine!” that really succeed in tying this project together. Coleman’s use of live instruments on most of the tracks of this album are an especially welcomed inclusion. They further add to the bright, playful energy that runs throughout his lyrics. The bass lines on tracks like “Cliché” and the tenor sax on a number of different tracks establish a firm groove that Coleman’s verses easily coast on. The other achievement of the production and sampling on this album is that the beats don't overshadow Coleman’s verses. They occupy just the right amount of space, with enough pauses and moments of embellishment to enhance his verses rather than overpower them.
Listening to Coleman on "My Dick Works Fine", his introspective verses, wry delivery, and eclectic production, it's easy to compare him to other figures in today's "underground" or "experimental" hip hop scene. Names like Tyler the Creator, Milo, and Open Mike Eagle, may come to mind. While Coleman and this album are undeniably rooted in this particular scene, My Dick Works Fine! stands as a work of its own. It's an album filled with too much of Coleman's own personality, too much of his self-analysis, too much of his personal experience, to be anything except its own well crafted, promising statement by an equally promising artist.
LISTEN TO COLDMAN: