Artist: Passalacqua (Mister x Blaksmith)
Album: Zebehazy Summer
1. Better Made
2. Lovers Leap
3. Rapraprapraprap Pt. 1
4. Ms. Washington (Bridge Card Hustle)
6. Beverly and Duane
7. High Anxiety (ft. Ben Miles)
8. Rapraprapraprap Pt. 2
9. Sunset City
10. Own Thing
I must admit, I was not expecting a Passalacqua full length this year. As many of you know, I reviewed their sensational, self titled release, earlier this year. That release is a hard one to top and it took me a while to give Zebehazy Summer enough spins to appropriately differentiate the two. The main difference is in the production. Dr. B produced their first release and I thought it had a more straight forward hip hop appeal. Erno the Inferno really brings the funk and soul out in the tracks. It took me a moment to digest this new flavor. But with that being said…Mister and Blaksmith take this new style and really lay claim to each track.
One thing that I have come to know about the duo over the past year is to expect the unexpected. They do not do ordinary. Everything they do sets them apart from others. (Their PR video ads are absolutely hilarious) So why wouldn’t you expect them to hustle the ladies? Erno The Inferno flips a beat that seems like it was lifted straight from three decades ago for Ms. Washington (Bridge Card Hustle). The track is fun and playful where Mister and Blaksmith each trade verses about scamming poor Ms. Washington. The female chorus and male vocals laid down towards the end make this song just come to life. It’s one of those moments where you think, “Well, it’s ok for hip hop to be fun.”
Both emcees tackle the same production on Rapraprapraprap. Mister takes part one and Blaksmith takes part two. I want to mention these two different instances because last time I wasn’t really able to dissect their bars to give you a feel for what they are like lyrically, and while it really isn’t any easier, I thought I would at least give it a shot. First, Mister:
…I for one am sick of these persnickety parsnips / Trying to change the mission to my starship / But they done miss the target / Talkin’ , they talkin’ all that garbage / Reaking like a bushwackas armpit…
…In that 69′ Fastback / 69 Flashbacks / In how we got up in this, it’s like 69 ass crack / Skip beyond, past that / I had a mental exile / Come back in the freshest textile…
These are just mere snippets of verses that are laid to rest over a simple, yet again, funky rhythm. The vocals that are looped in by Erno are perfect for this beat. The two wordsmiths have such a unique style. It’s hard to capture their thoughts and musings in a blog. Their verses really need to be heard to be appreciated but I thought I would give it a go. Blaksmith also has this “seasonal polygamist” line that I rather enjoyed as well.
Sandwiched in between the two solo performances is the cut High Anxiety. This song contains a verse from our recently featured Benjamin Miles. The cut has the three emcees trying to fight the tension in their lives. This is my favorite song of the album. I like the funk guitar and the chorus really connects the verses. Speaking of, Miles really has a gem of a verse here:
…keep the hatin’ to a minimum / Act like a gentleman / Go to crowded shows and I clap at the end of them/ With the envy got me feelin’ greener than a Gremlin / The upper echelon’s lexicon / Ain’t no better than the penmanship I’m peddelin’ / Or pedigree I represent….
After listening to Zebehazy Summer a handful of times I came away with several realizations. One is how much I appreciate Dr. B’s beats on the first recorded venture. The man is very talented and that has always been a production style I prefer. However, Erno The Inferno gave me a new appreciation for what a funk/fused hip hop album should be. I didn’t think I would like it nonetheless, love it. He really executed his vision to perfection. This album embodies that Seventies/Early Eighties Soul and Funk vibe. It really opened a new door to me. My last epiphany when listening to Zebehazy Summer is how unique Passalacqua is to hip hop. No matter what production style is set before them, these guys just take their unique flows and lyricism and make great music. That consistency between records is impressive.