I’m familiar with rap music. I listen to hip-hop. It’s not exactly my favorite genre, but I find it a worthwhile one when done correctly. I frequently put on Kanye West, 2Pac, Notorious BIG, & Jay-Z, and find them to be the best of the genre for my tastes. I’m not at all versed on underground hip-hop, or stuff that isn’t the most mainstream from the genre. I listen to what I know, and since it’s not my favorite genre, I rarely if ever seek out new stuff I haven’t heard. Also, even when I do find tracks I like, I can never find out who the hell it is because people just burned some random Rap mix to play at a party, so I can never track down more by the artist. But I’ll tell you, this album that was sent to us is actually a pretty good album and, overall, I’m glad I listened to it.
The album, right from the first track “Proving You Wrong”, feels and sounds like an old-school Rap album. To reference my meaning of “old-school Rap album”, I mean something from the late 90s and early 2000s. As it progresses with “Get Retarded”, I start to develop a bit of a smile on my face. It’s got a sweet hook, and it’s catchy as hell. “I’m Here Now” slows down the flow a bit, but the skills are obvious. Skewby throws together rhymes that are catchy without being too poppy, and the beats he works with are old-school in the best way possible. They aren’t over produced or samples of more famous tracks, they seem to be he and his producer coming through with a little bit of originality and creativity in a genre that is ripe with repetition and recycled themes.
“A Bad One” sounds like a young, developing Public Enemy — peppy, upbeat, and fun. Then he turns right around and slows it down with “Sunday Morning”, and the album really starts to blend these different types of tracks very well. “No Critics Allowed” makes me feel like a little bit of an asshole, but in all honesty, it’s got some great themes underneath it that he really runs with.
This is the strongest point of the album. Skewby takes themes and writes songs using them. He isn’t taking a hook, and then just writing verse after verse that aren’t really connected by anything. He’s telling stories in these songs, and he really shows a lot of promise in this area. The songs develop very well, they keep you as a listener really paying attention to what he’s got to say. His delivery is smooth, and I really appreciate that. He doesn’t use any gimmicks like Auto-Tune or rely on million dollar production values. What he’s doing here is pretty raw, but without being amateur. He shows great skill, and I would love to see what someone who obviously knows how to compose catchy hip-hop tunes could do with a major studio behind him.
I’ll tell you this, if you’re looking for some new hip-hop/rap, check Skewby out. The more I listen to the album the more impressed I am. It’s packed with catchy tracks where he really lays it all out there for you to hear, and he gives you everything he can. He’s got great hooks and strong lyrics, and his songs aren’t just a collection of guys rapping around a tight beat, it’s him composing songs that actually develop as they progress. He’s a natural storyteller, and his passion for the game really shines through on this album.
It takes me back in the best way possible, but also just shows me how good hip-hop music can be when handled by someone knows what the hell they’re doing.
Grade: 6/10 (Good)