This album is exactly what I’d hope it be: DOPE! Evidence and The Alchemist laced us with a banger.
When you combine one of my favorite rappers and my favorite producer, you cannot go wrong. Plus, the fact that Ev and Alchemist have had a life-long friendship, you know their chemistry is beyond amazing. I expected nothing but greatness on this album. I wasn’t expecting mind-boggling lyrics but I did expect some crazy production especially after finding out Alchemist was handling production. The expectations were low for the lyrics but high for the beats.
The album started amazingly. “More Wins” has a such a cinematic beat. It’s so soulful. It has the perfect combination of drums and a kick that’ll instantly make you grab your car and cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway. The hook saying “another victory” was cool, implying that this album is another win in the careers of Evidence and Alchemist.
On “More Wins,” Evidence rapped a simple yet ill opening verse. Ev hits us with his ultimate win: never being friendzone’d. It always turned into something, whether a hook-up or a relationship. Plus, the way he starts off the verse is dope. The bullet/chamber metaphor surprised me, great wordplay. Easily, my favorite track off the album. And it was the opening track. Imagined what my reaction was after hearing this. I was excited to hear the rest.
Domo Genesis and Scott Caan, yes, Scott Caan, came the hardest on “Byron G.” Likewise for Styles on “No Hesitation;” Action Bronson on “Mums in the Garage;” and Roc Marciano on the smooth “Rich Man Play.” Blu, like he does, stole the show on the ill “Tomorrow.”
Blu hit us with clever wordplay including a Kurt Cobain tribute.
Action killed his verse. The extra talking he does, is brilliant, “the cops are coming!”
Domo impressed me. He’s hooked up with the Step Brothers twice, and I’ve been impressed twice.
Styles’ flow is on point. It fits the song perfectly.
Roc flowed so effortlessly over the guitar-riff driven beat Alchemist cooked up.
However, nobody surprised me more than Caan. Who knew this network television actor would deliver a dope verse.
At times, I sort-of felt underwhelmed. When the Oh-No assisted “Draw Something” came on, I didn’t react. I wasn’t feeling the track, and I’m a fan of Oh. I love that he is from the same city as me, and fucked with his “Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms” album.
“Just Step” was a bit of shocker, why would they included such an old song? I didn’t like it back then, nor do I like it now.
“Banging Sound” and “Buzzing Away” were cool. I would put them in the middle between dope and okay. I did like the beats on both of them, especially those loud African-like drums on the funky “Buzzing Away.”
“Legendary Mesh” and “Step Masters” also fall in that middle-of-the-pack category. “Step Masters” was crazier when I heard it live and for the first time back in July.
Meanwhile, “Dr. Kimble” was cool but being placed after “More Wins” makes it subpar. After hearing “More Wins,” I was hyped. I was ready for some crazy shit, which I eventually got on “Byron G,” but I didn’t get from “Dr. Kimble.”
Speaking of “Byron G” that shit was hard! And it was produced by Evidence, the only one he produced. The drums and guitar are hard as fuck. They remind me of an ‘80s hard rock band jamming. I visualized a drummer, like Tommy Lee, striking the drums and snare drum with all his energy and momentum, producing a loud sound.
The first beat, was eh, to be honest. That’s just my opinion, someone can think otherwise. The second beat is fucking ill, perfect for Ev’s slow flow. The transition from the second to the third beat is also ill, the second beat gets slowed all the way down, like its chopped and screwed, before the third beat gradually kicks in. The final beat has a frightening and terrifying sound that you could hear in the background and easily stands out.
Overall, this album is solid. I know it will make it to my end of the year’s best list. If I had to rate the album, I’d give it a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a good album with a few hiccups that I thought weren’t up to par with the rest of the tracks.
(Photo Credit: Rhymesayers Tumblr)