by Dan O
Santana Fox-GirlNextDoor is one of the best debut albums of 2022. Santana Fox has a distinct multi-layered whisper flow that accomplishes so much as an active arm of her writing. On the opening song and title track it’s seductive as she explains the phases of gaining and losing love. Over the heavy piano of Muerte the whisper flow becomes a threat delivered quietly in your ear, the kind only you get to hear. On P.M.S. the softness of her voice is valiant delivering a forthright description of changing moods related to the monthly call. Nothing about the song is a joke, the hook is pitch perfect. Beyond the flow, I adore the construction of her hooks which always capture the melody of the production sum up her points and never confound. It makes perfect sense that fellow whisper flow emcee Boldy James jumps in and smashes a dope guest appearance on The Chase. Boldy was also the first major artist to jump on a song with Lukah, you can trust his ear. Bookmark Santana Fox because the future is up.
Lord Kayso-The key characteristic is world building. If you listen to MoorChores you will be introduced to a world of characters right from the get go. The first rapped bar on PS4 is “I hide the glock in the PS4 box cause Mom clean spontaneous.” Kayso’s Mom pops into his room at the end of Slim Poppa. The making of the song Glitz gets referenced on the song Opulence and its in terms of changes in the family. The recurrence of characters, the growth of one song into the next creates vanishing points. In art vanishing points are linear points created by parallel lines that show depth. They focus the viewers intention and walk that set of eyes deep into the picture. Once you’ve seen miles of terrain within the painting your journey is markedly different. Thin becomes thick. Picture becomes world. Uncle Mark is a great song but the actual Uncle Mark is even more important. Uncle Mark as a character for Kayso gives MoorChores a vanishing point that puts you everywhere he’s been.
Hype-A natural chess player in terms of album construction listen to TalkToMeNice and you’ll notice track 1 is called The Introduction and starts “Allow me to first introduce myself my name is Hype!” Taking a familiar Jay line and flipping it for himself. The album ends with a song called The Debut which namechecks all the emcees that inspired him, declaring this album the start of his journey and not a one off. Every one of the original 13 songs is a chapter in the book. Hey Ma is intellectual seduction respectfully done. Childhood Dreams is the origin story. Cloth Talk is managing success. Let It Breathe is the beauty in creating art. It’s all there and it’s clean, crisp with a great cover and full beats that stick to you. I hope that Hype never succumbs to the pressure to release 4 or 5 albums in a year. While this is the current trend, the thorough finish on TalkToMeNice is a heck of a calling card. Hype should continue to build and build directly on that.
Patty Honcho-The first time I heard Patty Honcho was upon release of Brawler (Round 5) in February of this year. I have to say I took him for granted. Rapping just seemed too easy for Patty Honcho. The boxing theme of the 8 song project gave him permission to just bar out and he did. Sometimes critics (including me) get tricked into looking for evidence of stretching yourself creatively. The problem with listening in this way is NO music consumer does that. Music consumers are looking for value. Patty’s name kept growing because that reliable flow with well-placed references and original metaphors is great regardless of how easy it sounds. I didn’t realize how much I had come to like Honcho until he released LIFE with Numbz. The two fit really well together (Numbz on production) and Patty more alive than I remembered. The lens of Patty’s camera captures macro level social issues in his community, micro interactions with people that carry remnants of those issues. Listen to Don’t Tell Me How to Make My Album and be overwhelmed by the confidence and determination of it. On Forgotten Son he says “I’m emotional in a smoky room with ashes in a cup.” Painting pictures you can see, smell, taste is what Patty does over and over. It’s the ticket to the next level of his career.