Indie-rap is an interesting genre these days. With many artists getting picked up by labels quickly, there are constant crops of material, to the point that nerd and comedy raps have become legitimate endeavours. Interestingly enough, with this the broader genre oh hip-hop has become more sophisticated on all fronts. ItsYaBoiH2’s new album Pair-a-lesions, is a sophisticated record from a rapper reminiscent of early Watsky, but lyrically unique.
The album opens on the hopeful “Preachin“, sampling a string section into a great pop hook. The lyrics promote a lifestyle of growth, and taking the high-road. From the opening track, ItsYaBoiH2 attacks your ears with an incredible sense of rhythm that is usually only present in artists on major labels. Opening on a Nina Simone sample that turns into a great base, “Feelin Like A New Fight” is a ghost of sampling magic that modern rappers have been chasing for ages. The lyrics are a clever version of the self-proclaiming rap trope, although crass at times, the rhymes are vicious enough to allow it.
There’s a more sombre note to “My Basement” talking about being at your lowest and darkest. The production mixes “Stairway To Heaven” samples with something that sounds like the guitar from the Backstreet Boys “My Way” to craft a great, dark track that’s still catchy. “Fall At Your Feet” although sounding like an original in terms of instrumentation, suffers mildly from its generic sounding hook. This said, the track is saved by ItsYaBoiH2’s great rapping and mysterious vocal sample that elevate it beyond the instrumentation.
“New In Town” laments the city-to-city conflicts that people experience when transplanting themselves. With some amazing verse-spitting and heavy bass line the song is a great track from top to bottom. There’s a modern pop sound to “Do Without (Again)” with jazzy vocals and ambient synths, although it’s one of the more simple tracks on the album, it’s a relaxing listen.
“Easy” samples “Whole Lotta Love” in strange fashion, which is initially fairly interesting but ultimately works best in the groove-based chorus. The Zeppelin samples continue on “Mince Meat (feat. TopGun)” which survives on its endless onslaught of lyrics.
John Mayer takes over on “Resettin,” probably the smoothest track on the record. The lyrics ache of wanting to start over, and both the relief of doing so, as well as the pain with being unable to. Things get moody on the title track “Pair a Lesions” as ItsYaBoiH2 tries to figure his life out, and understand getting older. The album closes on “Lay It On The Line” which amps up the production to its peak, mixing instrumentation and great samples to create a truly original track that feels miles above anything else on the record.
ItsYaBoiH2‘s vocals are firing on all cylinders flawlessly throughout and several tracks nail their production perfectly as well, most notably “Feelin Like A New Fight.” Pair-a-lesions may not be a perfect record but it usually suffers more from a mixed production than anything else. If ItsYaBoiH2 can settle on a writing partner for his next album he’ll be a force be reckoned with.
About Owen Maxwell
I take music however I can get it; live, through headphones or jamming in my latest project. Creating is my passion whether it be writing, music, radio, video or photography, and the itch is never scratched. I will geek out with you on anything from music to DC to having a conversation in multiple languages. I want to see the world, create something that will outlive me and learn as many languages as I can.