Mixtape Review-Happy Belated by Chaz French
This morning I looked out my window and it was fall. Through the thick damp fog I could see the fresh wet leaves coating the ground with contrasting colors observing how sadly beautiful it was and said “It’s a Chaz French kind of day.” Like fall his new mixtape Happy Belated is very much about entropy. The slow painful passing of what we love most (at least in New England the summer is what a lot of people live for I’m sure in Arizona it’s different). Through the thick mist and groggy darkness the beauty of the scene remains. Even as the mixtape closes we get the only really upbeat song, its called Before I Die but I promise its upbeat, filled with sincere piano and an endearing chorus that promises a glimmer of happiness.
Beyond the artful design of mood Happy Belated showcases some incredible technique. Came Down is a perfect example. Chaz projects volume and a violent approach while packing in short perfect jabs like “You should fix ya shoelaces N don’t trip,” alongside startling confession “N if ya only knew the struggle how a N couldn’t eat in a one bedroom with no lights. Then we got evicted started slippin’ living in a hotel with some bitches didn’t know wrong from right. Round the same time I got addicted to the liquor getting sicker every minute I’m doing it out of spite.” His flow has so much dexterity that the emcee on Drugs couldn’t be mistaken for the one on Came Down. On Drugs he’s not yelling at all but calmly destroying twitter gangsters for the first minute and a half with a laundry list of personal insults.
Sometimes French aims his huge mind at doubters of different kinds but sometimes its at his own personal history. Whatever he discusses he dives all the way into. At first this seemed like it was going to be the House of Balloons of rap mixtapes, it isn’t. It’s actually significantly more complex like on YNN where he teeters back and forth between narratives desperately trying to figure out where he actually is emotionally “I’m stress free reflecting on life and what it could be. But what’s a could when you should be a should’a been.” This isn’t an expanding narrative it’s a scrapbook of mental breakdowns, dreams and triumphs. He says he rarely see’s his daughter but he’s not making a dedication song to her to make it better. He knows that’s too easy. Just when you think fall is beautiful you realize it’s just as cold, wet and dank.
The production is primarily handled by Super Miles and Kris Minor. They do a great job setting the feeling in the beat and setting the beat distinctly behind French who needs every word heard. Happy Belated is a vision that needs production as gentle as French is aggressive (example: Do Better) to create the impression it leaves. I’m pretty sure it’s going to eat up my playlists; just getting better and better with every listening. As depressing as it seems like it is its so much damn fun to listen too (see: Primavera).
Stream or download Happy Belated below: