Rarely do you get such a professionally crafted and impressive fusion of hip hop and EDM – few attempt it, fewer still do it well. Strong A.R.M has mastered the art in this case, seeing the full force of high energy, rhythmically flawless rap-work pour through amidst a heavy electronic backdrop that forces the vibe even higher.
The rap flow on this release is insane, particularly considering that the vocal is almost whispered to you – delicately presented, quiet yet manic; the intensity comes from the pace, the relentless flow, the refusal to fall below par. The track quickly steps into its role as the alternative anthem, and then in between these vocal hits – as if that wouldn’t be enough in itself to make an impact – the near-dub-step weight and distortion of the soundscape walks hand in hand with the classic, haunting piano riff; the likes of which tips its hat to the legends of the rap world.
This fusion of elements is as rare as can be, and just to showcase further the impressive building blocks that make it what it is – the release comes complete with a fully instrumental version, an original pure rap take, and a notably more spacious and mellow recording that still hits with impact but allows for a more isolated, insomniac-inspired few minutes of escapism.
Strong A.R.M impresses on multiple levels. That voice in itself brings a certain smoothness and quiet rasp that’s quickly recognizable once it’s crossed your path. Then you get the lyrics, partly familiar in nature – certain references pay tribute to common terms taken on in contemporary and classic hip hop alike. With this though, there are more than a few moments in which the artist lets his true colors and his own story emerge. Nowhere is this more true than on the second track of this release – That’s Gangsta.
Gangsta rap has taken something of a backseat in recent years, thanks to the rise of mumble rap and other sub-genres of the hip hop world. Strong A.R.M works hard to reignite that spark. His voice stands immensely tall on this record, the verses reach out thanks to a spacious and lightly synth-washed backdrop, so your focus is on the words – the journey, the bars, the calm yet intentional delivery.
The release in full plays out like an eclectic and skillful playlist, utilizing a few stylishly crafted elements to offer a listening experience that holds close to the original qualities of gangsta rap. At the same time, effective production really lights up the whole performance, particularly on this second track. An easy must for fans of genuine, classically inspired hip hop. There’s something for every mood right here.