Havoc & The Alchemist – The Silent Partner
’90s rap duo Mobb Deep and New York producer The Alchemist have a working relationship that dates back more than 20 years. Queens rappers Havoc and Prodigy’s tales of life on the streets have always suited The Alchemist’s gritty beats, so it makes sense there would be a full length collaborative effort from them at at some stage. The Silent Partner finds Havoc – minus Prodigy – team up with The Alchemist for a New York heavy album that will have ’90s hip-hop fans jumping for joy.
Full of colourful lyrical references to the ghetto, slinging drugs and the gangster life, The Silent Partner will please longtime Havoc fans. Out The Frame, Impose My Will and Just Being Me are a few of the album highlights, with the soul sampling, Maintain (Fuck How You Feel), a nostalgic trip through the golden era of hip-hop.
The features are lacking but this only helps shine a light on Havoc’s lyrical ability. Prodigy shows up for the Mobb Deep sounding The Gun Holds A Drum, Cormega spits an introspective verse on Hear Me Now, and Method Man makes his mark on the thumping Buck 50’s & Bullet Wounds.
Verdict: Fans of Mobb Deep and the 1990s will love this one.
Belly – Another Day In Paradise
Canadian rapper Belly’s latest is another step towards mainstream success. Having already gained plaudits for his work on good friend The Weeknd‘s Beauty Behind The Madness, Another Day In Paradise is Belly’s chance to show off his many talents.
Possessing a lackadaisical yet beguiling delivery, Belly raps his way through typical hip-hop themes on Another Day In Paradise without sounding boring or unoriginal. Songs about strippers (Ballerina), living the high life (Exotic, Another Day In Paradise) and relationship troubles (You) sound invigorated by Belly’s distinct flow, while the production is tight and crisp.
Belly’s respect amongst his peers is obvious by the featured guests he’s scores. The highlights include Lil Wayne‘s rapping resurgence on Barley Sober, Juicy J dropping bars about drugs on the strip club ode Zanzibar, and legendary West Coast MC B-Real supplying both the hook and a verse on closer Angels And Demons. The Weeknd makes his presence felt, but not as a featured guest, happy to stay in the background providing his smooth vocals on the Starrah billed opener It’s All Love.
Verdict: The newest Canadian set to take over the world.
Bladee – Eversince
Anyone familiar with Yung Lean will be aware of his hypeman and fellow Swede Bladee. A member of the Gravity Boys, Bladee’s heavily auto-tune raps and murky production is reminiscent of good friend Lean, although his lyrics have a much darker edge. Eversince, Bladde’s second full length mixtape, builds on his unique sound across 12 tracks that are the definition of Internet rap.
Produced almost entirely by Whitearmour, Eversince is filled with spooky, trap influenced beats oozing melancholy melodies helping form the basis for some of Bladee’s best rhymes yet. Rip, opener Who Goes There, and the broody Romeo, are uptempo numbers, or as close as you’ll get on a Bladee release, but it’s the ballads that stand out. Xd Out speaks on depression and feelings of isolation while Skin addresses self-harm, with Bladee’s mechanical vocals driving the lyrics home.
There are only two features, both from Ecco2K, who pops up on the club ready So What and hazy Bloodveil / Stillborn, while the icy Missing Person is the albums best track. Blades adapts Foreigner’s I Want To Know What Love Is for two lines of the snare-snapping track that continues the themes of loneliness and depression that the whole album wallows in.
Verdict: Bizarre and isolating, Eversince is depressingly enjoyable and Bladee’s best release to date.