Album: Brasco Presents Safehouse Sessions
Rating: 7 / 10
After only hearing one track from Brasco previous to this CD coming in the mail, I was unsure of what to expect. I had heard his track ‘Mommi’ and was impressed by his laid back flow and the cruisy beat, but you can’t make a judgement on an aspiring artist by one tune. So as I was heading off to work one day I noticed a package from the USA in my mailbox and knew what it was. The second I stepped in the door after work I popped it in, had a smoke and relaxed, letting this collection of work take me on a journey. Since there are a number of artists appearing on this CD, I have done this review as a track-by-track, to give each a fair go. There’s a few here, but I hope that the length of the review doesn’t put you off. So, without any more of my bullshit, here we go:
Nothing much to say about this, expect Brasco and Nicole telling us to start smokin, drinkin or whatever it is that you do, and prepare yourself for this. Effective. (Convinced me to roll…)
2. Lou Bezzel – Methodical Murderous
First off – nice beat. The bass almost knocked my speakers to the UK, but after a little adjustment, it was on. Lyrically, this has multi’s galore. Lou likes to rhyme 3 and 4 syllables as often as possible on this braggin track, and he does it to good effect. Vocal recording is a little scratchy, but the volume of the vocals is handled nicely. Overall, this track sets a good tone for the rest of the collection.
3. Brasco – Where We From
Brasco rides this DJ Clue beat well (even though I find it a little eclectic). His lyrics aren’t exactly spine-tingling, but it works. Nothing spectacular here.
4. Triz Don – Murder Rap
At first I thought Triz could only rhyme ‘niggas’ over and over. Then I realised it was an intro to the track… He’s got a nice voice, but there’s not much feeling to it here. This may be intentional since he’s trying to show how cold he can be, but he doesn’t quite pull it off. “I murder rap, leave niggas murderin cats, I beat tracks so hard niggas think my flow is a bat” makes a nice little hook, and the simple scheme here provides a nice break from the 2-syllable rhymes that fill the rest of the track. Not a shabby effort, but more intonation in his voice and maybe some more complex rhyme schemes would make this a more effective brag.
5. 4 Heaven Sake feat. Nicole – Billie Jean 2002
I’m not normally a big fan of people remixing songs that I grew up with, especially MJ. And this did nothing to change my mind on that. Nothing special here. Beat isn’t bad (obviously) but the vocals weren’t mixed at the right level (too loud). 4’s lyrics aren’t bad, keeping with the basic multi style prevalent in the album so far. Nicole’s singing on the hook is ok, but nothing to write home about. She seems to try to put too much personality into it, and it only comes off wrong. 4’s storytelling here is pulled off well. The only major letdown here is the mixing and lack of bass. I’d like to hear a remix of this with more bass, better mixing and Nicole having another go at the hook.
6. Reason – Come And Get Us (Freestyle)
Freestyle tracks on a CD. Hmmm… It’s normally hard to convince me that a ‘freestyle’ really is one, as most artists simply recite a crappy verse and disguise their lack of skills as a freestyle. However, I’m convinced that this is the real deal. Not a big fan of freestyles though, and this doesn’t really change my opinion.
7. Brasco, 1ofUs + Lou Bezzel – The Person Who Wrote This
Pianos here are off the hook. Combined with the heavy kickdrum and multiple multi’s, I’m happy. Played it twice just to make sure I didn’t miss anything while I was focussing on the beat. Vocal clarity is similar to Bezzel’s first track, and he outshines the other two by a long mile with his intense style. Still, it’s a nice track.
8. Wise Words From Bo Jangles
I see a name like Bo Jangles and I think 70’s blaxploitation. Cruisy bassline, some funky twangs and a slightly higher version of Barry White combine to make a smoke break. Sets a relaxed yet funky atmosphere that I can’t shake. Nice one to throw on when you light up.
9. 4 Heaven Sake – Cold World
Intro to this is fantastic. Beat kicks in with 4’s voice and goes off like a carton of milk in the middle of the Sahara. Hook? This is off it. The topic is a familiar one, but 4 adds his own touch to it with some storytelling and bragging. This track is almost mesmerising, and would have to be the best so far. Banger.
10. Brasco feat. Lou Bezzel – Thawed Out
Recycles the beat from Frozen (Slick Rick feat Raekwon) which is an effective choice. Mega bass. Brasco comes with a whole gang of multi’s and shows that he can come solid when he wants to. He is complemented by a verse from Bezzel that isn’t quite as strong as his earlier efforts, but gels well.
The name says it all. If you haven’t heard the CD, I’m not going to give this one away, but it’s something that you would never expect to hear again. Had me rolling on the floor reminiscing. Ahhh…
12. Ambitious – Get It Crunk
Intro is ill. Mixed from last track perfectly and sets the mood. However, I’m not a big fan of the 2 Live Crew type party tracks. This is one of them. Lyrics don’t make up for the beat. Sorry but I had to skip the last minute and a half…
13. 1ofUs – Fuck Ya!!
Filth beat with a nice sample. Lyrics are on point. 1’s delivery is much better than the earlier track that he was on. Here he shows that he can hold it on his own. Top job.
14. Lou Bezzel – Flag Wavers
Beat starts off dope, and Lou’s style shines. This guy has real talent, he just needs some tweaking to his tone. I don’t doubt that he really believes what he’s saying here because he’s put some serious thought into his lyrics. He’s right – the problems that existed in America before Sept 11 are still there. Patriotism isn’t a bad thing at all, but you can’t completely cover up a chasm with a tarpaulin.
15. Brasco, 1ofUs + Lou Bezzel – Safehouse Freestyle Session
Freestyle over Nas’ It Aint Hard to Tell beat. These three guys show that they can hold it off the top as well as written. I’m not a huge fan of freestyles, so I didn’t pay as much attention as I should…
16. Alias – The Broad to Fear
Unfortunately, hyping the fact that Alias is a female doesn’t make up for her Lil Kim content. Skip this one.
17. Brasco – Suburban Nights (It’s On Tonight)
Beat is ill, plain and simple. Brasco’s voice and style suit it perfectly. This guy is in his element on party tracks. All this one needs is a more of a bassline. That may be hard to achieve without sacrificing the overall feel, but if he wants this to get played when and where it should, it needs it. A top listen regardless.
18. Safehouse Service Announcement
Listen for a laugh. Someone has a good point here. Old mate must have been smokin more than green. One thing though – the beat is very nice. (Anyone have an instrumental??)
19. 4 Heaven Sake – Break A Nigga Down (Fuck Bezzel!!)
Bone Thug type delivery shows that 4 has diversity available to him. Words are still understandable, and the beat is above average. Either he is braggin more than battlin, or these two guys know each other. Don’t understand why Brasco put the two best artists on the CD here battling each other, but either way, it makes for a good listen.
20. Lou Bezzel – The Death of Oedipus (Fuck Heaven!!)
Al Pacino skit as intro – nice move. Beat here is ill, and Lou comes straight with his multi’s. Bezzel offers an olive branch – “Son, let’s just blow one and drop it, it’s for your own good”. This rang in my ears – “Can’t flip 10 dimes for a profit, takin your keyboard to pawn shops and noone would cop it”. Nice track for sure.
21. Truth – Wise Words of Truth
I haven’t had much exposure to spoken word, so I was curious when I started listening to this, just to see where he was going. I really can’t rate it, because I have nothing to compare it to. But Truth kept my attention, and yeah, I enjoyed it. So I guess it’s worth listening to. Like he says, “Spoken word – art or entertainment?”. His stance is clear – art. I agree. Art can still entertain, and he does. Nice.
22. 4 Heaven Sake + Brasco – We Don’t Love Them… (Friday)
Every hip hop CD should have a track about pussy, and Brasco almost let me down. I’m glad he didn’t. The beat is nice, and it’s a good outro to the CD.
Overall impression – Nice CD. I’ll be looking for #2. Brasco shows that he can put a CD together, and flow too. Keep an eye out for some of these guys, as I think there may be futures here. If not, I still want to cop any future releases from Brasco and his associates. For an indie release, it’s worth checking out. A few letdowns, but that’s to be expected on a project like this. The sound quality is better than I expected, as are the skills of some of these guys.
If you’re interested in getting a copy of this cd, hit up Brasco at SafehouseREC@cs.com