The album opens with “Testimony,” a song reaffirming Kodak’s faith. “I’m God-sent, like He sent me up/So I can relay these messages/Like He used me as His vessel/Like He used me as an instrument,” he raps. Songs like “Gospel,” from 2015’s Institution, have approached the rapper’s faith in a similar manner, but Dying to Live’s “Close to the Grave” and “Needed Something” stay true to a theme of repentance.
The album is hardly all street gospel though. “Malcolm X.X.X.,” which features sound bites from Malcolm X’s 1963 interview with then-sociology grad student J. Herman Blake, pays tribute to Kodak’s friend and collaborator XXXTENTACION, while “Identity Theft” references a past filled with credit card fraud (which Kodak admits is never far from his mind). Also present on the album is the D.A. Doman-produced runaway smash “ZEZE” as well as a skittering pop collaboration with Lil Pump, “Gnarly,” in which Kodak touts the joys of Molly and Cialis. If Dying to Live tells us anything about Kodak, it’s that he remains the dynamic, conflicted, and alluring South Florida MC that fans have waited on patiently. And for their trouble? An apology on “Close to the Grave”: “ Sorry, Lord, the Devil got a hold of me lately.”