How To Ball showcases a fairly raw recording upon which the leading artists lays their stories and their flow in a way that appears as appropriately mellow and easy going. The music in itself has a distinctly retro or vintage hip-hop feel. The beat has a simple lightness to it, and this is fused with a certain chord progression that repeats throughout. It paves the way for the driving performances in a fairly spacious and free manner – your focus ends up being on the voices and the lyrics entirely, the likes of which change in character a couple of times and generally veer off in a carefree or stream-of-consciousness-inspired direction.
From a songwriting perspective, the music makes itself familiar fairly quickly, though it’s in a subtle and again laid-back manner. The track’s hook also makes certain you’re familiar with it early on in the mix. The second time you hear it you remember it, the rhythm of the words adds a touch of variety that almost makes for a melodic break between rap vocals. It’s effective as a hook, particularly when considered among this particular, hip-hop-influenced beat. There’s a notable structure to the whole thing that allows the performances to shine well, though not in an overly flashy or unnecessarily loud way.
At close to six minutes long you really get lost in the content of this release. The minimalist nature of the music is interesting as it’s not something you commonly stumble upon these days. The early introduction of the hook and the concept works well, and as stated – the later return to it subsequently arrives as familiar and something of a thread throughout the experience.