Born out of a troubling time in his life, rapper G2 does right by his EP namesake with seven-tracks of electro-laced Hip Hop with nuanced R&B melody and lyrical matter that hinges on the positive and upbeat. Control stands apart from much of contemporary Hip Hop in that it eschews much of the trappings of rapping about club life (excluding “Give It Up” more on that later), seeking instead to lay down songs with veins of relevance, strength and hope in the underlying message.[youtube ndfACMkJW8k]
“Sunshine Out the Rain” has to be the crux of the album. Of it, G2 said: “I planned to write this really dark song about being mad at the world… but it somehow turned out to be very bright and inspirational.” The track opens to tandem of effects-laden backing chorus with G2 bringing in the track with a spoken word style intro. Lyrically the track shines of picking oneself up by the bootstraps and overcoming. The backing melody is electric synth progression over a headbobbing groove beat. “Top Of the World” opens to backing piano and horn blast melody, while lyrically continuing the upbeat ethos of positivity, overcoming and superlative (such that ESPN has featured the track in its channel rotation). The Rap flow is pristine, the midpoint segue is clever and the musicality is flawless on this one; arguably the strongest track on the album. More melodic keys and soaring backing vocals comprise the intro to “Pretty Girl.” The backing electronic melody bolsters the opening R&B chorus work. This mid tempo Urban love song again runs the positive vein of the album in much the same air as “My Lady Girl” with lyrical matter of love, admiration and attraction. The backing instrumentation is relatively close in execution and musicality, as it lays a foundation for the vocal lines. “Pick You Up” opens to backing beat and slight key chimes with accompanying slow jam tempo. This complements the semi-raunchy lyrical matter about a sexual tryst. Rounding out the album is “Fasholey” with more heavy R&B leanings. Structured much like the accompanying tracks it features a chorus and melody tandem at the intro before giving way to Rap verse work. Effects-laden backing vocals bolster G2’s lead rhymes as the track plays out. This one may be the most complete song on the album in both vocals and musicality.
The whole album is available on ITunes at: http://bit.ly/G2Control
Kudos: G2 swims uphill and against the grain on the majority of this album by steering his tracks in a different direction than the cookie-cutter lyrical matter of the bulk of contemporary Hip Hop (seriously Rap community… how much more can you write the same track over and over?!) and treks out on a path all of his own. This album is a breath of fresh air in a genre that heaves under its own weight of mediocrity, until the aforementioned “Give It Up” and “Pick You Up.” These seem to be cast from the mold of the “other” artists and are also the ones most unlike the rest of the album content. That’s not to say they don’t have merit or aren’t catchy; they just stand out as the “which of these don’t belong with the rest” tracks of the album. G2, you proved on the bulk of the tracks that you are cast from a different mold than your contemporaries; I know you have more up your sleeve that would better serve the EP than these two.
Christopher West — firstname.lastname@example.org