Weekly Hip Hop-up
This week I digested a bunch of promising projects at very different stages of satisfaction. Let’s go over them.
Autotune is a gift with two curses attached, misuse and overuse. While Sean Brown’s nine track project Solitude has the weeks most fascinating and promising individual songs it has some real low points. Rollin is as boring and standard as One Crazy Ass Dream is insane. So which is more important? The high points where you are listening to a sonically huge banger (produced by Sean) where he loses his mind(everyone should hear One Crazy Ass Dream) in verses and laces a flawless hook or the sleepwalking stuff drowned in autotune that rolls right off the 2015 conveyor belt. That’s the thing about Solitude, its only nine songs so it’s too short to judge. We should obey this rule whenever we don’t have sufficient evidence to judge: if you have greatness in you, you can be great; at any time. All he has to do is find out how to mine the focus he has on his best songs (best song on Solitude:Feel Good) for an entire album.
Stream or download Solitude below:
One of the weird things about rap as a genre is how you encounter mixtapes you don’t want to like that MAKE you like them. This Summer is definitely more trap/drill music full of violent imagery strewn about its scorched ecosystem but the choruses are mighty. On songs like YNP (young n_ problems) it’s just flossing and flaunting, sneering and bouncing to the beat but he crafts a melody out of it like a snake charmer. This isn’t to say Issa doesn’t have engaging content, Only God has a moment where his baby’s mother admits she’ll probably never love anyone else and you can tell he doesn’t know what to do with that. He has points where he gives you a doggy door to look at his life and feelings. This doesn’t happen nearly enough (Boomerang gives me a headache…I don’t want to talk about it) over the course of nineteen tracks, however, and by the end you feel like your relationship with This Summer might not be a healthy one.
Stream or download This Summer below:
Ali is probably the mixtape I’m most interested in studying more from these releases. While Philly rappers are known for blistering aggression and scathing flows Tayyib has neither of those. He’s typically at a leisurely pace that doesn’t seem to fits the city’s snarl of a persona. No one could imagine Freeway or Beanie doing a convincingly awesome put-your-red-solo-cups-in-the-air frat anthem like How’s It Supposed To Be (Dave Patten is so great on the hook). Ali talks about days when his clothes didn’t fit right but never drops experiences that would alienate someone living in a different environment(even on Day In The Life which does get quite specific it feels soulfully applicable to you as a listener). He doesn’t fit into a Roots Philly neo-soul category or really anywhere else. 100 Bands doesn’t sound like any song that’s ever had bands in the title.
The Astronauts, DJ Gumble, and Ben Rosen do a great job giving Ali a completely unique sound. One based in bass and drums but not in a boom bap way, in a D’Angelo Black Messiah way. Ali is a mixtape bound to get more interesting the more you listen. At first you may be overcome by how slow the flow is and think not enough is being done but over the course of sixteen tracks you have to admit you’re having a very different experience from any other mixtape released this year and that’s something that demands attention.
Steam or download Ali below: