There’s a firmly rooted street or gangster rap vibe to this album from Malripken – both the soundscape and the lyrical performances alike offer that gritty, intense and energetic aura that was the peak of the genre throughout the nineties. The opener Sammy Sosa is the perfect example, offering an immediately haunting, memorable riff – a descending high melody line, which contrasts cleverly with the depth and intensity of the leading vocal flow. At the same time you get this musical fullness, fractions of vocals and effects fill up the outer edges, and meanwhile the rap flow is calm and confident – on point and impressively leading the way towards an anthemic, recognizable hook. It’s quickly easy to lose yourself within the playlist from the offset.
Throughout the rest of the fifteen track collection, Malripken keeps the energy and motivational levels high. Vocally he maintains a cool and collected composure though – the music and the lyrics, the vocal rhythm, this is what gives the tracks their strength. Planet Of The Apes is a bold example, as is Full Throttle and Die Trying – the mood of the entire project is consistently reliable for those hard-core hip hop fans who are seeking a brand new playlist to lead the way. The ideas are always uplifting, hopeful and confident, and this is easily the start to your weekend.
Adding just a hint of eclecticism to the playlist are tracks like Jackpot, a quieter and more spacious mood briefly emerges. StreetSmartt afterwards feels similar and more conceptually thoughtful. In Da Mix later on adds more in the way of character and variation.
Towards the end of the album, About That Life is a definite highlight – the emotion of it feels poignant and compelling, the lyrics seem genuine and they connect in an honest way. After this those descending synth riffs return and the darkness comes full circle for Twerk. The song has a great hook and some stand out lines that make it easy to return to. Isolation afterwards is undoubtedly one of the project’s most memorable songs, with a striking feature from Glamourati Dina.
The lyricism seems to gather more depth and momentum as the album goes on. Public Housing at the penultimate moment is one of the most fascinating and honest tracks of all. Malripken pours his truth and his perspective into the process, the music has a more minimalist vibe during the verses, so everything just connects and entrances as it plays out. The ideas are also the sort that are easily relatable for a lot of people.
Things come to a close with a heavy track entitled Watch Me Work. Throwing one final anthem into the mix, the song hits hard with crisp and clear production and a mighty, confident and mesmerizing vocal line. Great flow and powerful lyrics fuse with an intense beat and a superb vocal sound. The overall finish is quickly effective, a definite final highlight for the way everything just flows well as this united experience. The idea is appealing for its adult content and its unique sense of unstoppable confidence. A bold and fitting way to finish.
Malripken looks set to keep working at this, always improving, always having that presence and drive. Lo Life is likely still just the beginning.