Alli Dempsey

Bladee’s Deep Chills on “Cold Visions”

Alli Dempsey
May 28, 2024
3 min read
A lot changed since we changed the game, look how far we came.

It’s been ten years since Bladee dropped his first mixtape, “Gluee,” and the illustrious Swedish rapper, known for his established presence in the Drain Gang collective, has a lot to contemplate. He does so on his newest full-length effort, Cold Visions, which dropped on April 24 — to nearly immediate critical acclaim.

Through that line, he looks down at the scene’s progression as the choppy, bass-boosted beat drops in “FUN FACT,” but the game isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bladee has mastered his own reinvention with every new release; in past lives, he’s been an ethereal wizard, a powerful god and even a high school football player. In “Cold Visions,” he celebrates the successes but dwells on the ghosts of his career, making his seventh studio album his most self-reflective, but unrestricted, release yet. 

Bladee’s discography is littered with hints of anxiety and insecurity, as he attempts to drown them out with whimsical, cloud rap beats and tales of long nights of partying and luxury. He’s always been adamant about what he will and won’t tolerate, but songs like “I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE” see him take an even more straightforward approach. “I gained weight and lost hair off this damn stress,” he mulls, yet follows it up with “Man, fuck being depressed, asbestos.” Bladee no longer sees any reason to hide his unglamorous realities, but still tries to play it off with his trademark, goofy catchiness. 

“Cold Visions” is fast-moving and fretting — mirroring Bladee’s feelings of disorder and fear. “Mental health awareness, man, I’m anxious and I’m paranoid,” he mumbles on “END OF THE ROAD BOYZ” over horror movie samples and pounding 808s. The instrumentals aren’t his most sonically cutting-edge, but droning, beeping pulses define his anxious soundscape as ambulance noises, random screams and baffling whispered phrases interrupt his whirlwind flows. It’s an uneasy yet insightful listen, overriding and rewriting what even career-long fans thought they knew about their Drain Gang captain. 

 They’ve been tirelessly working to analyze and break down his hidden Easter Egg references; there’s an entire subreddit thread dedicated to finding every self-reference on the album. He revisits old lyrics, releases and Drain folklore — giving them new meaning and authority. Letting his anxieties sit out in the open has given him a newfound confidence. “I’ve been going back to cussing,” he yells as his voice cracks on “KING NOTHINGG,” refuting his claim on “The Fool’s” “Hotel Breakfast” that he’s a “good boy on the track, no cussing.” Bladee refuses to be one of those rappers that breathlessly cite their glory days without any newer substance. He’s constantly changing and evolving, and is aware enough of his past lore to add updates when needed. 

The features on “Cold Visions” add to its power, with recurring Drain Gang characters Yung Lean, Yung Sherman and Thaiboy echoing Bladee’s sentiments. Lean and Bladee’s camaraderie shines through on multiple tracks — “Two old heroes stuck up in this folklore,” Lean raps in “FUN FACT.” He was the one to platform Bladee — who was once regarded as his sidekick — and raps about him with the demeanor of a proud mentor and friend. He validates his feelings of the caveats of fame, while reflecting on all that they’ve accomplished together. It’s a feel-good moment amongst the skirmishes of being a rapper — the bonds that the fans of Drain Gang have come to adore. The album even sees a new collaborator — underground presence Sickboyrari — entering the arena — whose droning melodies and autotuned rhymes blend well with Bladee’s expeditious bars on “OTHERSIDE.”

Bladee has never been one to rap from a pedestal. His music acts as a window to whatever world he finds himself residing in at that moment — and he wants to take his fans on that journey as well. “Every night I get that cold vision, it’s like when you think your phone’s missing,” he says on “YUNG SHERMAN,” inviting his base to understand what it’s like to feel the ice in his veins. He talks of panic attacks, feeling weird at functions and fears that his fans might not even like him as much as he once thought. In “Cold Visions,” a lot has changed, for better or for worse, but Bladee remains authentically himself, and even opens up new doors for understanding his inner workings in the process.


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