Review Summary: Basically the weirdest flow in rap mixed with some generic ominous 90s jazz rap beats and we get a surprisingly good album.
Saafir is a strange character. He suffers from several rap disorders, ranging from battle rap-itis, a west coast rapper fronting as an east coast rapper, and just having one of the most bizarre and unorthodox rap flows out there. And yet, despite a series of disorders that would prevent him from having a solid album, Boxcar Sessions
stands out amongst its battle rap piers and generally talented MCs with weird beat tastes (Ras Kass) and is actually a solid, great rap album.
,truthfully, is over-packed with shout-outs to his crew Hobo Junction that dominate a good third of the albums tracks, but that rarely faults Saafir’s balanced out MCing and the albums abstract jazzy sound. Saafir’s rhymes are basically battle raps with pinches of wit and punchlines galore, he’s truly a rappers rapper, more technically proficient than a lot of his West Coast peers. However, what truly stands out about Saafir’s absolutely electric and eccentric flow and delivery, sounding almost avant garde in it's execution. His deep-pitched, growling voice and oddball delivery speaks volume of his expert as an MC, weaving in and out of the jazz tracks.
This is perfect, considering the fierce battle MCing and dramatically different flow requires beats that show room for this sort of lyrical behavior. Boxcar Sessions
, instead of the G-Funk jams of Dr. Dre’s West Coast, favors the ominous jazz tracks that A Tribe Called Quest created and whirring minimalistic samples that RZA brought into the hip hop scene. Characterized by ringing vibes, stalking upright bass lines, noisy scratching, and a hazy, dampening environments, the production on Boxcar
sounds a bit generic for the type of rap album it is, but that style of production fits Saafir's crazy style.
Though Boxcar Sessions
kind of fits together as an album (other than the skits) with its sound and Saafir’s flow, there are some individual highlights. “Light Sleeper” is basically Saafir’s best song ever written, with the surreal, low key atmopshere and erupting, molten drums meshing together perfectly, while Saafir spits some incredibly off-kilter random intellect spitting amongst his craziest flow on the album (“Why's the rhyme so important"/ Why do I have to be so/Potent and blow the mic a flow without Chokin'"/ I don't/I'm arrogant and outspoken/Mouth no token/I'm just a roust about/I have a house and clout”). If you ever check out Boxcar Sessions
, an incredibly rare release, let it be for that amazing first single.