Impeccably soulful from the outset, Cassius412 brings back melodic embrace, distortion and passion as the Gospel-kissed, purposeful and storytelling album North Sides Finest lights up the scene.
Beautifully crafted, somewhat retro in style but refreshingly crisp and clean for this vocal lead and the fusion of genres – all evident from just the opening, title-track.
Increasingly Cassius412 impresses, from the musicality, the roar of that hook vocal, through the weight and emotion of the music, even the vintage, Church-style keys, onward into the bars and personality of the verses.
Perhaps one of the most captivating, honest and uplifting opening tracks from hip hop this year so far. What a start.
As the twenty-track project continues, this piano and rhythm set-up with multiple vocal fragments and details proves a calling card – alongside the unmistakable vocal stylings of Cassius412.
Consider Dying Inside, immediately recognisable, heartfelt, just with a bigger presentation thanks to multiple vocals layers – the fullness of which contrasts the clarity and solo flow of the verses to superb results.
Cassius412 consistently lures you in and holds your attention throughout, with passionate, honest and revealing bars, and an ongoing sense of rising euphoria as both the music and the artist strengthen their grip on the listener.
Another highlight is the boldly topical, relatable Find Peace – spoken word and heavy, distorted bass introduce things with intrigue, and Cassius412 proceeds to weave in historical context and personal reflections – amidst a notably unique musical backdrop, blending the softness of piano with the intensity of the fuzz of synth and rhythm.
Burn also stands out for its falsetto hook and how catchy the melody is, not to mention the switch in perspective as the vocal delves into a poetic outpouring that again holds you captive and connects for its heartfelt purity and unapologetic, unsettling angst and resentment united.
Then there’s the sudden acoustic guitar strum of Anywhere But Here, shining further light on Cassius412’s versatility, with a deeply uncomfortable recording alongside it to set the scene.
The vocal tone is more gentle to suit the longing and lostness of the subject matter. The artist has a way with this, adapting his flow and delivery as per the changing stages of the story and the music. It’s compelling, and naturally one of the best features of this album. That vulnerability, the openness and willingness to admit struggle, all furthers the humanity of the work.
The album closer is also well-worth hearing, though the playlist in full keeps things heavy and emotive in a variety of ways. The mellow warmth of this final track works well to soothe the mood and reflect one last time on the project, the life of the artist, in an inspiring manner.
Loaded with subtle yet striking bars, the song highlights the essence of Cassius412’s drive, along with poetry and clever word-play all interconnected. Musically immersive, dreamy and uplifting – a great way to go out.