To describe Declaime’s Self-Study exhausting isn’t meant as a complaint — that’s Declaime’s intention. The man also known as Dudley Perkins is dead-set on being “that pressure on your chest” (as he spits on “Lifestyles”), and that pressure’s being applied to himself as much as others; folks that purchase a hands-on copy of this album will also receive an hour-long biographical documentary titled Interplanetary Peace Talks. As Declaime seems to be taking stock on he’s done with his life, it only makes sense that Self-Study finds him addressing the wrongs he sees in the world as well.
Longtime collaborator Georgia Anne Muldrow provides all of the space-traveling P-Funk-friendly beats which act as Declaime’s soapbox. He claims to be a sword on the Gil-Scott-Heron-quoting track “Perfect” (“Each time I speak, I cut deep”), but his thoughts on commercialism in hip-hop and black-on-black crime (among many other topics) hit more like indelicate sledgehammers. A few more spoonfuls of sugar like the cool and relaxed “Quartz” might help the medicine go down smoother, but Declaime doesn’t want his words to go down easy. He wants Self-Study to grab listeners and shake them awake to (pardon the unintentional pun) what’s going on; in that light, the album’s an unqualified success.