REVIEW: Grand Agent – By Design

By Design

Artist: Grand Agent

Album: By Design

Label: Groove Attack

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Reviewer: A to the L

Sometimes I might get an album to review that is so bad that I have to listen to it over and over again just to find one GOOD thing to say about it. Well folks I’d like to bring to your attention that this is NOT such an album. I have spent well over a week listening to this joint, frantically trying to find one BAD thing, because I don’t want to write a review that looks like it’s kissing ass. I failed to find anything negative at all, so with a quick fuck you to the cries of “ass-kisser”, on we go…

Grand Agent comes straight out of Philly with his first official release on Groove Attack / Superrappin, “By Design”. Straight from the opening of the album, GA shows that he’s intent on taking hiphop back to the foundations it was built on – tight lyrics over dope beats, advising pretenders to “flow the fuck out” while he gets loose.

Heads will feel at home with the way he’s reworked Diamond D’s classic ‘Best Kept Secret’ on the remix of ‘Mingling’ – flipping the beat and effortlessly flowing, he’s managed to not only keep the dopeness of the original, but add to it. (In his own words, “I take a whole song and rape it, with so much finesse though brothers can’t hate it.” )

Another standout is the tongue in cheek misogyny of ‘Two Bitches’, with Grand Agent telling us about the problems and difficulties of having two… um… ladies, over a wicked bassline.

‘Grand Right Now’ is a serious candidate for track of the year – a simple call and response chorus over one of the dopest beats I’ve heard in a long time (produced by Chops), with boasting and bragging on a level with Kane in his prime. (“I’m Grand Agent – forces of nature owe me favours.”)

Agent shows his versatility on ‘You Don’t Love Me’, underlining the fact that he’s not just a one-dimensional battle-type punchline emcee. He tells a story of how he grew up not knowing his father, who’d left when he was young. The emotion of the situation is brought to reality, as he describes the feelings of wanting to know who his father was, mixed with the feelings of rejection.

An easy album to sum up – GO BUY IT! Dope lyrics from Grand Agent, and guest appearances from heavy hitting underground acts like A.G. and Planet Asia. (Why no Lord Finesse verse though?) Dope beats produced by Agent himself and his squad, Name, Kut Masta Kurt, and Hi-Tek. You really do need to have this in your collection – its an amazing album, and as close to a modern day Hiphop classic as you’re gonna get. Agent is a throwback to the good old days – when emcees focused more on skills than scrilla, and his attempt at making a mark on the Hiphop landscape is certainly worthy of heads’ support.

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