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Lil Brick - Road To Ouroboros (Review)

In promotion of his project, Lil Brick went hard with his rollout and caught serious hype. So much hype that he appeared on our Timeline without anyone really knowing who he is. To familiarize with Lil Brick, I decided to check out his music. And to my surprise, for all his support, this is actually his first body of work.

So I listened to his two preceding singles, “Thinking Twice” and “Memory Lane”. The first being his first ever song – it does sound amateurish. There are some cool things (like the flow style and cadence) but there’s some glaring flaws like his excessive autotune use, the production isn’t particularly interesting alongside slight offbeat rhymes and a lack of conviction in his delivery. The latter is nothing like the first. The production is far more enticing, the delivery is convincing, there’s multiple quotables, a nice rhyme scheme and a cool concept for the song. The guest verses are also strong. Already an indication of his ever-improving nature. After playing both songs, I already know three things:

 

  1. Although his name is Lil Brick, he’s deeper than just rapping about moving dope. He’s tackling real topics.
  2. He has flaws as a musician but he’s a solid rapper.
  3. He has a good ear for features.

 

These singles lead us to his EP, “Road to Ouroboros”. Created in the span of 6 days, the tape is meant to be digested as a teaser for his debut album, “Ouroboros”. The first thing that stand out is the title and its references. The ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake or dragon eating its own tail. It symbolizes the cycle of life, death and rebirth. The concept is already something that requires thought.

The project opens with “Energy”. Produced by JHershey, the instrumental invokes a sense of nostalgia. Boom-bap-like drums alongside a cool melody. It reminds me of the early 2000s. Something for suitable for a kick back with the family. With that idea in mind, it only makes to have singing guest feature. Alex Jay kills the guest hook as he sings smooth and melodical words. Shortly after, Lil Brick enters. He begins with storytelling as he narrates meeting a woman as he tells her about his suicidal mindset. The concept is truly interesting. As a rapper, he’s able to flow with relative ease. His delivery is pretty confident, but his cadence choice could’ve been better. Although short, his verse relates directly to the hook and sounds seamless. The guest feature from Yo’shinyah ‘Asre is lyrically strong and fits thematically but his delivery isn’t all the way there. Nonetheless, this a solid opener for the project.

Thereafter, “At War” begins. The production is pretty bare and raw. It doesn’t have much instrumentation and its relatively generic.  The song opens with an autotune inspired hook by Nick Enaigbe. I completely dislike the use of autotune. Melodically, Nick’s hook would’ve been strong with his natural voice. However, from the jump, the tone has been set. The song sees Nick and Lil Brick address the occurrences in America in regard to police brutality, racism, inequality and a few other socio-political issues. Lil Brick’s verse is enlightening. I think he raps well and addresses the flaws in America’s socioeconomic system. The verse is lyrically dense, high rhyme density and he uses a cool flow. My only critiques are his delivery – if he comes with more energy and conviction, this would hit much more. Also, since the instrumental layers are removed during the vast majority of his verse, experimentation with rhyme schemes would have been cool. Thereafter, Nick gets his turn to rap. And he does so well. His delivery is cold, the flow is ill, his rhymes schemes change with ease and his guest verse fits as he addresses some challenges in his life and the world. While this song has its flaws, it is a good attempt at socio-political rap.


The penultimate song is “Eagled Eyed”. The production is experimental and dark. It reminds me of Danny Brown production. This beat is pretty unique and weird but fuck it… this is lowkey hard. On this posse-cut song, Lil Brick goes hard (even if the verse is short). A dope flow, nice rhyme schemes, good delivery and wordplay. Shortly after, Fourxe rhymes and the verse is incredible. High rhyme density, cold punchlines as he exhibited his lyrical ability. The third verse sees Jay Moss show the fuck off. When he says his “flow is real mean”, he ain’t capping whatsoever. A nice flow, short rhyme schemes, lyrical depth and a different delivery – I truly enjoyed the verse. The fourth verse sees M.O. Stoic go insane. He catches the flow pockets incredibly, takes advantage of the rhyme schemes and sounds unbelievable. A commanding delivery and clever wordplay throughout. The fifth sees SoundMind spit his heart out. He’s witty and his punchlines hit really hard. He sounds like a well-seasoned MC, plenty of buoyancy and it resonates within his rapping style and flow choice. The final verse from Pres completely contrasts the delivery style of the prior, it’s slower. Yet, he oozes confidence with every syllable. His delivery alone makes every line convincing. Add onto it, a clean flow switch? Yeah, that’s a strong showing. All in all, the posse cut is my favourite track yet. The competitive nature of raps sees these rappers going back to back and they don’t disappoint whatsoever. Every verse is ill, and this is the type of shit we need more of!

The penultimate song sets up Lil Brick to end the song in a commanding manner. The beat is pretty bare, but it KNOCKS. This is hard. “Forever Freestyle” sees Lil Brick sound completely comfortable in his voice and tone. His delivery is alluring, his wordplay goes over heads and the flow is pretty cool. At only 1 minute and 39 seconds, I wish it was longer because this is definitely his best showing in all formats. Lyrically, this highlights his ability with slick flow switches, which quickens and slow his pace as he sees fit. Oh, not to mention – this freestyle was truly off-the-dome. The song ultimately brings the EP to an end, on a high.

All in all, Lil Brick’s debut EP is solid. There are clear flaws at times (especially in terms of his delivery and at times, production choices) but above all, there’s clear strengths. He’s got a good ear (as seen with his flow and melodical choices), a willingness to experiment while also being a solid lyricist who can hold his own. I’m eager to hear more of his music because there’s an upwards trajectory with every song released. I don’t think we’ve yet to hear him in his full glory. On this EP, there’s multiple guest features and that limits the span of his own verses. Yet, as the project continues, Lil Brick’s involvement is more apparent, and the music melodically becomes darker. He also has content depth as he addresses more things than the regular rapper while showing the knack for picking good features. His flaws are only due to a lack of experience, not a lack of talent. It’s things that can and probably will be improved in due time. I look forward to his debut album, “Ouroboros”.

65/100.
Hybrid.


Written & edited by: Dithekgo Mogadime | Twitter @DithekgoM

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