Catastrophic Event Specialist - Ces Cru
(Genre: Hip Hop/Alternative Rap)
Ces Cru from Strange Music started gaining my attention every since their collaborations started on Tech N9ne's projects a while back. I eventually sold on them after their first EP on the label, 13. Their approach to rap was something I heavily enjoyed due to their respect for the craft of hip hop, while also daring to push its boundaries as well. I looked forward to this after hearing "Gridlock" from the Deluxe version of The Storm by Tech N9ne. It seemed that they were going to be even more socio-political than before and I was intrigued.
The album is split into three acts: Calamity, Entropy, & Scourge, all of which have their own lounge instrumental track to introduce the section. What follows are songs about the grind the duo partake in, hate for those who disrespect the craft, some thoughts about the political climate, & the daily struggle of life in the city. This is all over their usual style of beats that are of an alternative hip hop variety. The heavy bass is infectious while the surrounding melodies are inventive and promote the head nod effect. The ride is rather smooth as they maneuver through all the tracks with ease and lyrical prowess.
Those who still hold lyricism with high regard can find this project up to par. If subject matter has the high watermark, the few topics may need to be your cup of tea. The few songs that stray from the rap game in general like "Purge", "Gridlock", "Slave", & "Hero" bring their view on social issues and are the small reprieve from the usual topics. "Hero" is the one that may stand out as the one that is meant to have pop appeal which could turn off some due to its prevalent optimism. I personally enjoy it though, but it's not among my favorites: "Tidal Wavy" & "Metal and Flesh". Any Strange Music fan could heavily enjoy this entry, but I'd also recommend this to people who enjoy hip hop that isn't focused on radio play.
Slave (Music Video)
Average Joe (Music Video)
Hero (Audio Single)
Drogas Light - Lupe Fiasco
(Genre: Hip Hop/Alternate Rap/Trap Rap)
The dichotomy of Lupe Fiasco's album approach is polarizing. The thing that makes it interesting is the fact that Lupe knows this exists as well. Therefore, he announced that he was planning on dropping around three more projects that will separate each side of his style. Drogas Light is supposed to bring the mass appealing Lupe while the following projects, Drogas & Skulls are going to be the more complex and conceptual sides of himself. I still looked forward to it as a person who enjoyed Lasers and his tracks for the hood, despite preferring the intricate lyricism Lupe possesses.
Drogas Light certainly delivers the mainstream acceptable sound by starting off with a trap and hood anthem vibe that eventually ends with a few pop/dance joints. The songs are built to get hype to, make some social commentary, & even tell unorthodox sci-fi stories. Although this is "light" Lupe, the rhymes rarely devolve to a groan-worthy degree since it's more likely like the song's topic to be puzzling. This structure of the album can once again polarize listeners making it easy for people to easily cut tracks from their playlist.
In my opinion, I only would be one of the people cutting tracks due to some of the songs either not connecting to my taste or needing to be in the mood for certain songs. Yet, songs that definitely enter the rotation include "Dopamine Lit", "Made in the USA", "JUMP", "Kill", & "It's Not Design". I'm slightly disappointed that I wasn't able to take more away from it since I loved Tetsuo & Youth, but I can really only vibe with half of the tracklist and find "Pick Up the Phone" & "Wild Child" generic songs that I wish weren't in his catalog. I still would recommend giving this a listen to see which tracks hit you, due to its shotgun approach to popular rap music.
Made in the USA (Audio Single)
Pick Up the Phone (Music Video)
Drogas Light Review (The Needle Drop)
Loverboy - Pryde
(Genre: Contemporary R&B/Hip Hop)
From past reviews, you may know that I'm an avid fan of Pryde despite his similarities to contemporaries I don't enjoy as much. My "version of Drake" announced that he was going to release a brand new project for the ladies in February and I was curious ever since the single, "Left Field" was released. Then he proclaimed that this project would be singing-centric, so it piqued my interest even more. His past efforts toward singing hasn't been anything spectacular, but never anything I didn't abhor either.
Loverboy certainly stayed true to Pryde's claims to be focused on singing because only 2 of the nine tracks feature a rap verse. Though his singing performances still weren't particularly impressive save for "When the Lights Turn On", he still manages to carry the project over various radio ready production with songs about his woes with the girls he comes across in bad relationships (as usual). His ability to deliver these typical themes in his music are still the deciding factor of his likability, though, which I feel are similar to Drake's & Tech N9ne's problem.
I truly find this to be a jam-worthy project due to Pryde's uncanny skill to fit into any style of hip hop he sets his mind to. His genuine writing is what gives me the appeal that Drake can't, and the production of this project is top-notch as it's mainly handled by K-Beatz. My favorite, "Not Winning" is just that perfect blend of atmosphere and lyrical intent. From start to finish are palatable songs, except "West End Rebound"'s borderline "Marvin's Room" theme. Yet, I believe that you have to be in a certain mood for the slow songs "When the Lights Turn On" & "Globe". Either way, I recommend this project to any fans of PARTYNEXTDOOR, Tory Lanez, & Chris Brown.
Left Field (Music Video)
Things to Do (Music Video)
Take it Easy (A live rap track)