This is big. The musicality of this mix-tape alone has something creatively fresh and unpredictable about it, then you get the leading artist’s voice and lyricism storming over the beat with undeniable urgency.
Opening track The Plug showcases a haunting piano backdrop, a thick beat, and a string of lyrics and storytelling that focus on a fairly unique subject matter. The hook is one that hits hard, a great way to start the project – the confidence and swagger of authentic hip-hop is thriving at the core of this release.
Roll Up takes the mood in different direction. The ambiance created within the mix has a lightness about it, as opposed to the previous sense of darkness. The melody featured throughout brings a further sense of positivity and energy, highlighting a different side to the artist’s abilities, and fusing a little of that classic R&B sound with a modern and partially electronic hip-hop style of performance.
The further you get into the project, the bigger the character of the collection becomes. Rapping and Trapping is the perfect example. The rhythm is fast and infectious, the lyrics come at you at high speed, the rhymes are intense and relentless, and that energy, that passion, is ever prominent. Regular offers a moment of calm following the strength and immediacy of its predecessor. The track comes through as immediately familiar, a hit waiting to happen, a non-conforming, dark and twisted piece of modern hip-hop with a lyrical simplicity that adds to the basic brutality of the beat really well. The laid back sound of the leading voice presents something of a carefree, no-fucks-given sort of attitude, which again works well in the context of the music.
The majestic and haunting energy of the piano returns for Danger. This is a stand out track. Production-wise the mix is huge, as ever, yet there’s a creativity to this piece that speaks volumes for its value. The hook is on point, the chorus of voices strikes hard, and structurally there are certain moments within the instrumentation and even in the performances that re-demand your attention.
Creativity is key in keeping things fresh and suggesting limitless possibilities when it comes to artistry, whatever the genre. New Shit is another nod in a slightly different direction, the use of melody switches things up a notch, the pace varies between the mellow and the full-speed, and the mix is all at once noisy and smooth – dreamlike and intense – complex and sure of itself. The confidence throughout the sound is everything that classic hip-hop intended to be.
Things continue to rise higher and higher as By Myself starts to play. This is a moment of genuine emotion; melodically powerful, refreshingly honest and expressing some deeply human thoughts and ideas. The backdrop is blissful, well placed within the collection, and the leading artist puts forth a moment of calmness and raw, even vulnerable depth. This project has been crafted and arranged in a way that effectively portrays the varying abilities and intentions of CNNDZ, as an artist, a musician, a lyricist. Cool keeps the mood calm, the song feeds into the concept of its title brilliantly – the music is cool, easy to relax to, loaded with good vibes, instrumentally enjoyable and once again surprisingly melodic.
You get a little bit of everything with CNNDZ. Driven by a heart of hip-hop, but inspired by so many other genres it seems; the mix-tape presents an artist you can count on to keep things real. Counting Up is a strong track, the emotional content throughout the latter half of the project seems much more open and reflective than earlier, and this track has a superb hook melody and a hugely satisfying musical drop at 1:47. The intensity builds and builds, drawing your mind further and further away from the real world, inciting escapism and surrounding you in a pretty hypnotic way.
The mix-tape comes to a close with the stylish and memorable track Juice. That piano part again, lighting up the otherwise industrial backdrop, enhancing the passion of the piece and supporting the lyricism and the flow superbly. The flow throughout this project is insane, not over the top, varying between the low key and the high end, but when it’s on it’s on and that’s something you can count on. Some of the lines will stay with you long after listening. Well worth a download.