DD Osama’s rapid rise in the rap scene is evident from his impressive resume, even though he’s been rapping for just over a year. The 16-year-old Harlem emcee quickly gained regional and national prominence, thanks to A-list features, TikTok hits, and industry support. However, his success is tinged with tragedy.
Last summer, DD Osama’s brother and musical collaborator, Ethan Reyes (Notti Osama), tragically lost his life in a fatal stabbing due to a senseless feud. The viral song and dance “Notti Bop,” which followed, amplified the grim spectacle of social media and exposed the dark side of drill culture. Despite this notoriety, DD Osama signed with Alamo Records and collaborated with artists like Coi Leray and Lil Mabu, positioning himself as one of the city’s rising stars.
Now, with “Here 2 Stay,” his major label debut and first full-length project, DD Osama aims to expand his discography. However, the album fails to deliver substantial songs that match the quality of his essential singles. It feels more like a test screening, with ambitious genre crossovers and high-profile collaborations, attempting to establish him as a representative of the latest wave of New York drill. Despite his potential, DD Osama lacks the experience to execute such an ambitious effort.
While the album experiments with new sounds, DD Osama’s comfort zone remains in the traditional NY drill production that supported his early tracks. His breakthrough single “40s N 9s” showcases his youthful enthusiasm, delivering triplet flows and percussive onomatopoeia over a sample-laden beat. Tracks like “What We Doin'” and “MIA” are also highlights, featuring minimalist production and a fierce delivery reminiscent of City Morgue.
However, the album’s attempts to explore alternative sounds fall flat. Club track “Money Calls” featuring guest spots from GE3Z and 2Rare lacks cohesion, and “Show No Love” feels disjointed, with DD Osama’s verse spliced into an existing Rylo Rodriguez song. The rushed and unfinished nature of the album undermines his potential, as it tries to portray him as an R&B crooner, club rap party starter, and drill rap kingpin in just half an hour. With so much ground to cover, the fragmented release makes it difficult to truly understand DD Osama’s identity as an artist.
Despite his raw talent and charisma as a drill MC, the album’s rushed rollout and industry pressure to turn him into a star hinder his growth. It’s clear that DD Osama has immense potential, but he needs time and space to process the tragedy and evolve as an artist without feeling rushed.