Hologram Kizzie(aka Psalm One)-Free Hugs mixtape review
Psalm One has always been an immeasurable talent. When she broke out a fickle hip hop underground built her to be something they wanted. I believe the comparison that always followed her 2006 debut The Death of Frequent Flier was “a mix between Lupe Fiasco and Devin The Dude.” Thankfully I’m not a music insider so I don’t have to speculate about what went right and what didn’t which caused the years in between projects and lack of earned spotlight time. What I can explain is that she always felt weird, especially over Ant’s minimalist blues-bap on that first record.
It was never in question whether or not Psalm is dope. Psalm One is dope, always was. It’s a matter of making everything fit. Compound 7 feels like the answer on her new project Free Hugs. She’s going by Hologram Kizzie which I know is a terrible name cause of the face my wife made when I told it to her. Free Hugs is only 7 tracks long so if it was a steak it would have almost no fat to it at all. This free release is a superb digestible combination of beats and rhymes; I have to resist the idea that A-Plus (one of the two person Compound 7 crew) figured out the best way to use Psalm One because he helped found Heiroglyphics, a label for weirdoes by weirdoes.
Compound 7 bring several successful elements to the table.
Bass-the first time I turned the volume up on Free Hugs in my vehicle I knew there was no way she could play these songs in Maine(where I live) because only one club could handle the bass in these tracks. Most of the time the it hits like in the song Voyeuristic; seconds of quiet build up only to get utterly destroyed by a rampaging bass line. You might hurt your neck nodding to Free Hugs.
Incredible samples-All I have to do is talk about my favorite song(The Plunge) where Compound 7 turn the most relaxed song in R&B, Cruisin’ by Smokey Robinson, into a rave beat. The samples never seem to stand outside the beat like another guest feature, they meld with the bass line and glow stick dancing electronic elements.
They turn up the pace-Free Hugs moves at a frantic unrelenting pace. This is head out of the passenger side summer music, and the way each track slaps forces Psalm One into a naturally quicker flow variation of double times and semi-double times that incorporate everything great about her lyricism.
I want to talk more about the lyricism. Every bar on Free Hugs is an anything can happen situation. The fast pace showcases great humor “word to my bra size and my dark eyes(Need Love Too)” and moments of concise frustration like on Paranoid Lover “Road rage, dro haze, tendency for 4play, both ways, overanalyzing on the show days…” she can go from 50 cent joke to tragedy as on Worlds Collide where she shouts out her father who passed away. It comes out of absolutely nowhere. Its all part of a mixed perspective that incorporates insight, humor, and tragedy not always in equal parts but in what amounts are needed. This is a project about finding love and happiness in a way that acknowledges life’s challenges.
The hooks are beyond catchy (see Need Love Too) and by the time your done listening you won’t even realize that not one guest showed up. Free Hugs is a reaffirmation, for some it will be not forgetting how good she’s always been. What I learned from is that the problem with any Psalm One album is never Psalm One, it’s the environment and once that’s right…this is what you get. Here’s hoping that Compound 7 and Hologram keep making music and building on the chemistry this project establishes.
check out the great cover art then stream or download below: