Ten songs. Longest is two minutes and forty six seconds, shortest is one minute and fourteen seconds. Total runtime around nineteen minutes. While selfmedicated is an ep by my definition (under 21 minutes) when you digest the totality of it, the project feels overqualified for it. With a few verses tacked on this would be placing in my album of the year conversation without question.
Taking the first track (Bendin) which is the shortest song ,I mentioned in the first paragraph, it is not light work. He says “life ain’t priceless tell ‘em what the price is and ya life can end.” When he chant sings something it’s still an ill bar that’s sad, threatening, and reflective. The next song G Up quotes one of the best scenes from Friday (for the hook) as Cube is forced to find himself when John Witherspoon gives him what for:
Mr. Jones : This is what makes you a man. When I was growin’ up, this was all the protection we needed. You win some, you lose some, but you live. You live to fight another day. And you think you’re a man with that gun in your hand, don’t you?
Craig Jones : I’m a man without it.
As a writer SolarFive is inventive, a constant catalyst of ideas that challenge each other and you. His word choice and references are unexpected and ordered in a way that is particularly unique I had to rewind it on GaudBBody when he flatly states “Chicago N’s brag on murders they don’t even witness.” Flow wise he can move at about five different speeds, slow it down to lay a hook deep into your subconscious or speedbag the beat while you hear every word.
As a producer SolarFive is OnGaud who did half of the songs on selfmedicated. His lead single Exit has been stuck in my head since he released it. Something about the simple brisk stabbing escalation of the keyboard and how his voice catches it perfectly, by the time the 808s dropped in I’m hypnotized. As the beat bounces Solar gets his BARS in “Body full of reefer smoke, bible made of demon scrolls, don’t need a soul to feed the soul, hammer cocked release it slow.” As OnGaud he takes special sounds and builds songs out of them, moody piano does a lot of work; on the final song Last Train where his rapping and singing merge completely and DoBetta which gets to be the contemplative self-improvement song while not sacrificing the pace of the project. When Tree comes in to produce Dark Falls it’s a merger of like minds, as Tree brings in the strings to spook the track and Solar eats up every available space.
Selfmedicated only has one feature on it, Wally Wess on GaudBBody. The rest of the project is all Solar in an incredible meditative zone talking about the violence in his environment that nags at everyone, makes relationships harder than they need to be, and makes a hazy liquor-soaked state a much better alternative. We are always complaining about people not being inventive or innovative enough. You can’t declare this anything like what you’ve heard this year. It bangs, has a point and is authored patiently. Every second teaches you the next. It’s such a glorious project it left me wanting more and so I have found more. Below are the latest and previous SolarFive projects to check out: