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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

*Album Review* - Lil Skypp - Sophisticated Street Music (Indianapolis, IN)

In the dwindling era of "Trap Music" you have emerging rappers in the aftermath. Lil Skypp, from Indianapolis, IN is a perfect example of this concept. While the fairy tales of money, cars, hoes, etc have left many disillusioned with hip hop, you have artists that reflect honest and good music. The album "Sophisticated Street Music" is a perfect title as the project never reaches a "preachy" level with its gritty tales of the other side of street fame, while still giving the message and getting through. Its a paradox in itself (the title) but Skypp's album represents the element of the streets that is rarely given a voice. The "Sophisticated" streets exist - where we all know someone who strives to do better in life, but are a victim to choices and circumstance. With that said I haven't given a project a review in awhile because I believed that the energy had not been right until this time. Sophisticated Street Music is available online at digital stores Itunes and Amazon.

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I was excited to see an artist with good music drop an album and not follow the over saturated world of mixtapes that is the current state of Hip Hop. The decision to come with an album had me anticipating the quality and overall layout because this is an ALBUM. The 1st song, "Blind World" ft Lee'A Ro was a GREAT introduction to the message and set the tone for the rest of the project. Lil Skypp delivers A-1 lyrics and conveys the story of a young man reflecting on the struggle and gives a picture to the state of young minds that exist. The beat (Produced by Young Kros) really translates the pain into music with the synth horns and stereo bass. I was eager to hear Lee'A Ro and she did NOT disappoint with her feature and delivery. She puts SOUL in a bottle on this track. Singing "Everybody wants to splurge like this, but nobody wants to work for rent", she takes the listener TO the message immediately. Great introduction. "No Promises" (prod by Young Kros) has a Kanye West type of feel and Lil Skypp delivers the message again well in this song. I believe that is a trend and strength of this artist, I always think of Ice Cube when I listen to Skypp. REAL TALK and Street Knowledge in between reality. A bar, "I Don't Want to Be Broke, But I don't want to cook crack", is a perfect example. The album keeps a great feel with "IDK" ft. Lil Billy, who delivers a nice "Eminem" feeling hook. A compliment indeed. The next record that really stands out is "OMG" ft HFBT. This song has been moving through the channels but the production by Mondo Geezy and the simple but catchy hook on "OMG" have it on the verge of being an instant hit. Lil Skypp and Lil Billy give the track what it needs and JE Heartbreak came in and blessed the track with his gritty voice and quick punch lines. There is no dead spot in the record which often takes place in a record of BPM 90. "Real Thangs", "Mindstate" (prod by Mondo Geezy), and "Too Fast" (prod by HD) all have great sonics and feeling in the beats. I thought the message of "Mindstate" was an example of the Street but Sophisticated theme that laid nice to the music. "Too Long" was a GREAT message to the artists of his local scene and was a PERFECT ode to the issues that have been going on with the artists in his market and why they have not made it. "Do" ft Lil Billy is a GREAT song and has great potential. The hook is superb on this record. The "should be" single of this album comes in at #13 in the form of "Resistance" ft Jacob Alexander & Lil Billy. This was produced by the famed Lex Luger (Waka Flocka, Rick Ross, etc) and has the most world wide music appeal. The slight techno production mixed with the crooning on the hook would have the Flo-rida's and Pitbulls of the world nervous. The album moves on with a serious sound with "Last Forever". Ft JE Heartbreak and Lee'A Ro, this song is an ode to those who hope for better while reflecting on the past wrongs. The message is real and both JE and Skypp give testimonies to this idea. This is probably my favorite song on the album.

Overall, the production by Mondo Geezy, Young Kros and HD stand out as they create a WHOLE sound mixed with melodics, samples, and wide appeal. I thought that the tracks "Alright" and "Worth It" probably could have been left off. They had good vibe but did not fit in with the bar, raised by several tracks on this project. The title track "Sophisticated Street Music" also left some to be desired, simply because it is the title track. The addition by subtraction would have probably given this album and even higher rating. But do not be fooled this album is a VERY polished project. The mastering is there, the production, the lyrics and the message all in one is something that the game NEEDs very sorely. A variety. All in all, Lil Skypp delivered the goods on "Sophisticated Street Music" and I applaud his work. I enjoyed listening to the album and will definitely put it back in the deck.

I give this album 3.8 out of 5 bands


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