Review Summary: "If I give you my all, then what's left?"
What does it take to rise to stardom in the rap game? This especially applies to young emcees trying to make it in the Big Apple. You have myriad of talent trying to emulate the rich and lavish hip-hop history, plus, as they say, every brother has a mixtape. New York has a daunting reputation for rappers, I'm sure you've heard of Notorious B.I.G., Nas, hell, even Mobb Deep. This is quite the hurdle to overcome, ”is he the next...? he's not as good as...”
. With such an established game, the only thing you can do, really, is redefine the image of what New York rap is. Bryant Dope is from Queens, but as he states in his album name Queens Kids
, he is still a kid. He doesn't claim to be a hard banger with so many bullet holes the bullets had to make room. He's a kid with dreams; a kid who wants you to bob your head to his jams.
It is one thing to dream though, it's another to actually make them reality. Queens Kids
definitely takes after the New York style, beat-wise. Sporting a musical collage of producers, six to be exact, they all surprisingly mesh well together. Nothing seems over produced, which generally seems to be the case in multi-producer albums. Lot's of subtle Jazz samples, along with vocal samples casually planted underneath layers of mellowed out keyboards and hard hitting snares. The album even ventures out into experimental territory with the track ”Play With Fate”
. The already drugged out beat suddenly melts into a cathartic opium state, making way for an R&B style singer to casually fade in and beg “please don't walk away”
. Despite this little side adventure, most the beats are club bumping types, and clearly these are the style of tracks Bryant Dope prefers to command.
While the beats are very well done, what really brings the album to life is the personality of Bryant Dope. His flow is almost trance-like when he enters the track. It seems he could almost say anything he wanted, his flow being so smooth that we would most likely vibe on it regardless. If the beats were an ocean, his flow would be the beautiful white crested waves. Luckily this isn't the case, he also has verses of actual substance. On the track ”Queens Kids”
, he proclaims his love for Queens by saying “I love Queens like Rick James loves cocaine, no shame”
. He certainly is influenced by the region he was raised, but isn't defined by it. He makes this clear by stating ”my religion is a Tribe Called Quest, real south side niggas have bulletproof vests”
. The lyrical themes, though they reference his city quite frequently, ultimately revolve around his dream of making it big. Bryant Dope certainly exudes confidence, like he is in control of his fate, and the album is all the better because of it.
So, as kid who grows up in the heart of the rap game, his values are obviously aligned with those typical of most rappers. Bryant Dope wants to make money, and this is clearly illustrated by the track ”Everything Gorgeous”
, where he wants, yes you guessed it, everything to be gorgeous. But he isn't another 50 cent hack trying to capitalize on the well established, and well commercialized, gangster rap market. His flow is effortless, his rhymes are clever too, and more importantly, true to heart. The producers certainly do him justice, providing the right aura for each track. While the album is a little bit shallow, and a little bit incoherent when it comes to a consistent style, it is easily overshadowed by the well polished production and Bryant Dope's undeniable swag. Let's hope this Queens Kid makes it big, he certainly believes his dreams will become reality.