Review Summary: The transition between two eras in Johnny Richter's career.
Johnny Richter's departure from his former band, the Kottonmouth Kings, can only be fully understood upon hearing his first venture into being a solo artist, FreeKING Out
. As comfortable as he seemed in that self-described "psychedelic hip-hop punk rock" niche, this EP shows that he had other plans musically. FreeKING Out
isn't that far from what his work in the Kottonmouth Kings would lead us to expect from him, but it's certainly more accessible to a wider audience. Gone are virtually all traces of punk and reggae (though his love for marijuana hasn't subsided), leaving more of a traditional hip-hop sound. It does sound somewhat similar to the hip-hop influence present in the Kottonmouth Kings' music, but the production is a little more orthodox and his rapping has definitely improved from a technical standpoint.
Strong lyrics have never been an important factor in any music Richter has been a part of. They're certainly not anything special here either, but his delivery has improved a great deal. The title track displays what is probably the best rapping on the whole project, with his flow and rhyme scheme being upgraded to something more complex than we've heard from him before. He flows quite smoothly through his newly incorporated multi-syllabic rhymes, and he's sure to improve even more if he continues in this direction in the future, because as of right now, he still sounds like he's figuring out how to be a better rapper. That's the biggest detriment to this EP, the fact that it sounds almost amateur. That's not to say it's bad, but everything from the rapping from the production sounds like he doesn't quite know what works for him yet, like he's just now getting into the game, which I suppose he is. Coming from a whole different entity like the Kottonmouth Kings to something more subdued like this, there are bound to be a few kinks that need to be worked out, and this is just a debut EP after all. This is just a taste of what could be to come, and all things considered, it works pretty well for its purpose.
isn't a bad way for Johnny Richter to start his solo career by any means. It serves its purpose as a stepping stone between his past and present projects. The songs themselves, while there are some things left to be desired, are strong enough to stand on their own as well. From the slick rhymes on "Richter's Back" to the heavy production and aggressiveness on "Won't Break", he's shown that he can carry a project on his own without alienating all the fans that supported him before. There's even the story of what happened between him and the Kottonmouth Kings on the track "Talk About It". Until he has a full length solo release under his belt, it won't be easy to judge, but this EP shows that he can only keep improving from here.