Song Review-Bamboo by Skyzoo produced by MarcNfinit
Skyzoo is so gifted that at times he’s too much for himself. At points in his discography his high IQ on jazz meets his high IQ pen and he puts out projects no one can understand. His new eight song project Peddler Themes is Skyzoo in my favorite place.
Bamboo is the most precise example: the beat takes boom bap nostalgia to real trunk rattling levels, the chorus is totally unique, intelligent and catchy while his verse is not just intelligent (everything Sky does is intelligent) the images are vivid not just telling the story but showing it to you. Examine the first verse and how the song opens “And he said, the strap black like fab 5 apparel/Sweet 16 running laps outta the barrel/Said it sing lullabies that’ll wrap you like a carol/Ducking that is like juggling laps with a Camaro” good writing grounds you in the scene with detail and Peddler Themes is full of emotionally rich detail. Skyzoo didn’t set out to make a drug rap album or a drug dealer movie but a painting built from hundreds of careful brush strokes.
That being said Peddler Themes color is still very fun. Just listen to Skyzoo (produced by his old friend Illmind) flex effortlessly on Finesse Everything. I think a lot of rappers at the higher end of lyrical density have a tough time getting out of their own way but when a razor sharp expert stays loose, has faith in the design, and pushes forward the result is usually something exciting and Peddler Themes is absolutely that.
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Tagged Bamboo, Boom Bap, Finesse Everything, Illmind, intelligence, jazz influenced hip hop, MarcNfinit, New York Hip Hop, NY Hip Hop, Peddler Themes, Skyzoo, song reviews
Song of the Year-Blue Yankee Fitted by Skyzoo & Torae produced by Illmind
Even though it’s become unhip to admit it; you love NY hip hop. If you are not from NY and you encounter someone from there and speak to them long enough they will make you yearn for it. Tell you things like “You don’t know anything about Italian Icees!” As singular as the boom bap sound became (and to some extent boring) when it’s done well it feels so right. When Skyzoo says New Yiddy you can feel Big Daddy Kane gold rope chain power equipping the song with something extra.
The album this comes off of, The Barrel Brothers, is absolutely excellent. Skyzoo is a clever writer of dense imagery and metaphor while Torae is less trickster more muscle. Together they add up to more than their sum and make every song feel infinitely listenable with lines you may have to catch on the third listen. I go back and forth from song to song with “Sky killed him on this one!” and “Torae…damn!” That’s what was supposed to happen this was an event album the internet forced together but this time….it worked out.
P.S. On an album with a lot of big names the one I was happiest to see repeated in the production credits was Illmind who makes this kind of elegant car stereo destruction as well as anyone in the business. I’m not saying Illmind is the best of this or that. I just love seeing his name.
Mixtape Review-Long Live The King by King Mez
Long Live The King is a buried treasure mixtape. On its surface you think you miss the overwhelming bang, rumble or finger snap. The braggadocio is strong funny and well placed “Well I’m Reggie Miller…pull up with the range (Reggie Miller)!” but most of the tape is one side of a Dinner With Andre style discussion about life from a lyricist who disregards the rules of accentuating hot lines. He started my favorite song on the project with the line “Life won’t let you be no Indian giver, and I say that just to tell you that, you never get the present back (Morris),” and didn’t stamp it down at the end or giggle at it a la Hov.
While the first song is about violence and how it impacts life, “Stereotypical depictions little N’s eat up, that’s why instead of trying to fight they kill when they get beat up. These coward rap N’s talking murder never seen nothin’…(InHeritance)” this tape is not conscious rap. You won’t find anything on Long Live The King about oil as a finite fuel resource or the ineffective nature of the U.N. Mez is always easy and conversational, even on songs about love and heartbreak he brings his best stuff “You became my pet peeve, the thought of me and you is dead I’m a let you grieve(Flight).” His flow is just as easy and durable while talking about love as it is keeping your religion on the verge of death or our place in time and space. It’s all thrown into the air for us to sort out and sorting is a lot of fun if you’re a lyrics first listener.
The production matches the lyrically fluid yet dense style of Mez. Illmind provides an ugly circa ’95 head nodder on Murdaaa that makes Biggies voice at the end of the song feel necessary. Mez himself has a hand in producing (or produces himself) seven out of the twelve total tracks (A perfect number of songs). It doesn’t suffer from the subdued soul snore of a J. Cole production style. These beats have layers of instrumentation, cymbals crashing lightly behind thick piano, that interweave perfectly.
You don’t need to be a philosophy major to love Long Live The King you can just sit back and laugh when he says “You got N’s hating on your team, your mouse broke you ain’t got the right click(clique) do you(Swerve)?” On the other hand if you listen to a lot of hip hop that revolves around taking molly and lean while doing ugly things to women and it makes you uncomfortable this is the tape that addresses it. It tells you flat out that money isn’t worth your soul and isn’t a goal in and of itself. On the last track (You Up) Mez relates a story where an old man tells him the future will die with this new generation, the song that follows is the perfect finale/answer. Jails are built projected from third grade test scores, time moves faster than we know and Mez stirs up his confidence in a giant caldron along with the main ingredient being his spiritual foundation to close out a project that seems to never lie. Never project anything into life that is more imagination than observation.
You’ll find a place for Long Live The King the same way you find a place for a cold splash of water to the face when you wake up. He said it himself “God been doing surgery on me, no anesthesia though, feeling every little thing but pain is what we need to grow (Morris).” Sometimes we listen to rap so we can dream big, we listen to King Mez so we remember how to wake the hell up.
Stream or Download Long Live The King below: