Ikilledmarlon (f.k.a MarLo) has one of the most unique styles in all of CHH. As his debut EP, Downfall, showed, he uses a much slower style than most rappers. Devil May Cry continues this style, but also demonstrates his maturing as a rapper as well as his faith journey. This EP is actually a bit of a surprise, as Ikilledmarlon announced his Love & Other Drugs project earlier but instead released Devil May Cry first. Listening to this EP explains that change in order though. At the end of many of the tracks, he adds some commentary, shining a light on the meaning of the music, and making the whole EP feel more like a journey than a simple list of tracks. In the end it seems to be preparing the setting for Love & Other Drugs. He is not going to blow anyone away with his speed or versatility, but it’s the little touches that make it special.
“See No Evil” feels like nothing new at first, but some really good production turn it into a really good one. His previous EP sometimes featured far too much bass, drowning out the lyrics. This time, well timed devilish-cries during the refrain as well as much better use of treble and bass complement Ikilledmarlon’s slower delivery. It’s obvious from this song that he’s seen some terrible stuff as he says, “I’ve seen some things that make the Devil cry”. These struggles drove him off his path, and he decided to dance in the “Rain Clouds”, which is a short track that has a pretty cool feel, and I wish it went on longer!
As he left the path, he began “Driftin’ Away” (feat. Charlene Nash). The Devil skewed his perceptions, “I hear the speculation like, ‘what you rapping ’bout?’, I talk about the things I’m living out, right now, I struggle with addiction, questioning religion, it’s parts of me that’s missing”. The whole sound of the track fits the mentality of drifting as well, which is a nice touch. It finishes as Ikilledmarlon explains that falling away from the path led him to a desert of starvation, making a dead raccoon even seem like a “Thanksgiving Turkey”. Again, the production complements his unique rapping. The bass especially makes this a cool track as his slowness kind of draws things to a lull at moments.
The biggest impact comes at the end of “Toxic Currency” (feat. Sam Stan). He realized his mistake of putting his faith in money and materialism, and he played Russian Roulette with himself. If he survived, he’d change his life. It’s a tense moment that really hits home his struggles. The track itself doesn’t hit the sweet spot at all for me though. The robotic refrain takes away from the fairly good rapping by both Sam Stan and Ikilledmarlon. The production and delivery just doesn’t seem to add up here either. He survived the Russian Roulette though, and he pushes next to “Thank God” (feat. Shiwan). This track features Ikilledmarlon’s quickest, and subjectively best, verse. His mindset has changed completely, “Got up this morning I’m blessed, I’m alive, how can I survive, the killers is wearing the colors you see when you look in the sky, look in my eye, passion and pain are maintaining this Earth, what is it worth, if you never find peace, freedom ain’t free no more, I know I need Jesus, that’s why I fight this war, and I made it, thank God I made it”. The dope hook carries the track as well, and things are amazing until Shiwan’s verse. During his verse, his delivery and production are not working at all together. The resulting awkwardness messes with what was set to be a really great track. The track ends with him saying he needs God, and he references his addiction to Love & Other Drugs, potentially showing how the EP is somewhat of a preview for his next project.
Overall, Devil May Cry is a pretty good EP that is made so much better by how it is put together. The listener can actually hear the story through commentary as well as music. Ikilledmarlon is definitely making strides as an artist, and as a Christian. Hearing his journey will hit people hard, and that’s a side of Christian faith as well as CHH that isn’t expressed often. The struggle, and leaving God’s path only to fight to return to it. A very personal EP by Ikilledmarlon, and definitely one everyone should hear.
Devil May Cry is available to download for free HERE