Slumprine - The Holiday Tape 2 [Review]

The Holiday Tape Volume 2. After seeing a general rising trend in collaborative projects between solo artists, I expected the South African industry to follow suite. Enter Slumprine.

Collaborative efforts often lack chemistry. That’s the biggest factor when you’re creating music (unless you’re Russ and you don’t have friends). Can producer and rapper(s) create the perfect union? Slumprine redefines the established myth that collaborative projects don’t live up to their individual rapper’s namesake.

“All Talk”. A dark start to the project. The beat drops. Shit. Al & Doou$hii’s production is crazy. It’s baffling how they’ve managed to make a simple instrumental sound so hard. SKYFFA’s verse is cool but nothing overly impressive. However, through the level of confidence exerted by SKYFFA & Doou$hii on the hook - I can tell that this is just a warning. A warm up to what promises to be a lyrical onslaught.

On “Drift”, Doou$hii’s use of 808 is worldly - his drum patterns are spastic. High-pitched synth work, dope underlying hi-hats and a sinister melody. The production is excellent. Miles and Tyson S.T take clear advantage. Tyson’s hook is irresistible. He’s able to create syncopated flow pockets that work hand-in-hand with the instrumental. His dark cadence choice mixed with his vicious delivery creates an incredible union with the instrumental. Miles’ verse is impressive. His opening lines are “I don’t need a co-sign, my signature’s good enough/ Walk in the room and you know it’s us”. Miles oozes confidence. It’s clear with his comfortable cadence and imposing content - he embodies the assured nature of an MC. Every MC has to think that they’re the nicest out and to be fair, Miles is talented. Good delivery and a rhythmic flow – he impresses. The instrumental switches into a mellow outro. The transition is smooth and Tyson S.T relies on a leisurely flow and a clean cadence to create a sonically rich experience.

“Red Corvette”’s instrumental is crazy. Al & Doou$hii’s Baroque inspired piano melody creates suspense while the sliding 808s complement it perfectly. The drum patterns are convulsive.  Doou$hii’s hook is nonchalant. The flow is simplistic yet it’s catchy. “On my toes, yeah. I dumb it down! (Dumb it, dumb it, dumb it doooown!)”.  Skyffa’s verse is characterized by an upbeat flow and good wordplay. He follows the hook’s content and he dumbs it down - a simple and enjoyable verse but it’s nothing extraordinary. The second verse is incredible. Tyson S.T is a lyrically talented MC, who has no business being on a trap/mumble rap inspired instrumental, going crazy. His dark tone is perfect for the instrumental. His cold and aggressive delivery style is hypnotic. His flow is also unpredictable – he switches his rhyme schemes with relative complexity. With every flow switch, there’s a growing sense of confidence in his ability. Whether double time or slow, his flow is invigorating and relentless. The verse is rhythmically dense as he takes advantage of every syllable to differentiate himself from the norm. His flow is almost so infectious that you disregard his content and the overall lyricism. Tyson’s a gifted wordsmith and clearly one to look out for.
“Alaska” is a banger. Doou$hii’s production is a fresh outlook on mumble rap/trap instrumentals. Although using familiar sounds and techniques, he has no trouble differentiating himself from the norm sonically. Doou$hii’s hook is pristine. He seems to have a knack for making great hooks. They’re always simple but they connect to the listener every time. His baritone tone accompanied by some tantalizing melodies and cadence creates an alluring effect. Doou$hii and SKYFFA spit a joint verse. They’re completely in synch. Their vocal tones are distinguishable but it sounds cohesive. IllRose has the last verse. IllRose floats on Doou$hii’s production. He takes inspiration from Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Young Thug and Future but he puts his own spin on the flow. He changes rhyme schemes and his cadence works well with the instrumental. In essence, this song is sonically pleasing. It’s the type of song that wouldn’t be out of place at a party.
“B4” is another banger. However, it’s different. Slumprine seem to have mastered the art of creating mumble rap that’s slow but not static. It’s just as enjoyable as listening to most aux worthy songs but there’s a distinctive sense of calmness. This could be attributed to a few things. Doou$hii’s production sets the tone. His piano-reliant melody is slow and subtle but it sets the pace. It’s not as inert as a drug-induced and psychedelic mumble rap, there’s actual progression taking place. Another song, another fire Doou$hii hook. There’s a build-up with every verse. SKYFFA’s flow is effortless. Although using a standard flow, it’s important to note how his verse is filled a high rhyme density. It’s a decent showing. Bill’s verse is cool but it’s relatively disappointing. It’s filled with wordplay, humour and a clear display of skill but it’s clear – Bill lacks confidence. He sounds as if he’s reading rather than rhyming. He needs to be more assuring with his delivery. The last verse is Miles. Miles’ verse is shaky at first as the flow is slightly off beat but, contrasting to Bill, Miles’ delivery is what sets him apart. Miles' verse uses an ordinary flow but it’s his sense of belief in his ability that makes him shine. He switches to an andante speech-like flow and it’s connecting. His delivery is enticing and his boastful wordplay is inviting.
“Godspeed” is the project’s first miss. It’s a miss for various reasons. The mastering is poor. It’s hard to hear every artists’ lyrics, however, I assume that’s part of the creative attempt. Moreover, the production is too simple and relies too heavily on a loop. SKYFFA’s verse sounds uninspired. Bill’s hook is cool but due to his delivery, he sound lazy. The song lacks energy. It’s clear that the creative direction was to create a harmonically rich, sombre and introspective song but it was executed poorly. Sub-par. “Cruz” sees Slumprine in their bag again. Doou$hii’s production is finely calibrated. He also manages to create an appealing hook. It’s got high replay value. IllRose brings vast amounts of energy. The instrumental is laidback and his ebullient delivery matches the production well. His double-time flow is especially sonically pleasing as he takes advantage of off-beat counts and finds rhythm pockets within the instrumental. This can go straight to your party playlist.
“S.W.A.T” sees Slumprine take another creative direction. Al and Doou$hii’s production is based on melancholy and darkness but the synthetic melody is strident while the drums are upbeat and polished. The drum kicks are throbbing. It’s a great fundamental for any rapper. Doou$hii’s hooks are so hypnotic. His cadence and melody choices never disappoint. Bill drops his best showing so far. His presto flow, aggressive delivery style and cold cadence makes this verse quite memorable. “Put your dreams in a casket, sell your shit. Quit rapping!” Yeah, that’s ice cold. Bill murdered this verse. SKYFFA’s verse also drops a standout verse. His verse is characterized by high rhyme density and an imposing flow. A fluid flow, an assured cadence and good content can never leave any rapper astray. “AC” is characterized by desolation. Dou$hii and Al’s production is gloomy. To add onto that, Tyson S.T’s dark and aggressive flow creates a sense of despondency. The hook is dismal but the verses are incredible lyrically. Tyson’s lyricism is invigorating – he’s incredibly skilled. He switches rhyme schemes, produces great wordplay and manipulates words intricately. However, due to the heavy poignant sonic direction – the verse doesn’t connect as it should. Moreover, the mastering needs some work. A good concept but the darkness drowns out the verse.
“Great Stuff” is a psychedelic inspired rap song. It’s experimental but not overly expansive. Doou$hii and Al create a refined and relatively soulful instrumental. This song wouldn’t look out of place on an Earl Sweatshirt project. It’s melancholy, introspective narration and skilful rhyming. Doou$hii’s monotone hook resonates so easily with one’s soul. Mas’ verse sees him reference his love life. His cadence is perfect for the instrumental. His voice heightens the sense of pain expressed within the music. “Indigo” is a banger. Doou$hii uses West Coast influences to create a sonically impressive tune. K. Onyx murders the first verse. Double entendres (and even triple – at points), R-Kelly references and a dope flow – K. Onyx shows he’s quite skilled. He also creates a memorable hook. He’s right, this does seem easy for him. Doou$hii’s verse is also dope. He takes advantage of flow pockets, switching from a midtempo rhyme scheme to double time, to accentuate offbeat counts. It’s a short verse but it’s a definitely a worthwhile contribution.
“THT” sees Slumprine return to melancholy and psychedelic rap. The song arrangement is excellent. Keith and Al are good singers and their vocal contributions were valuable. Their harmonizing works well with the almost dormant melody. K. Onyx shows lyrical prowess. The rhyme density is high – he exploits syllables with ease. He rhymes about his biggest failures and fears. Self-examination on a gritty instrumental. It’s a great showing by him and a great outro on this project.
The Holiday Tape Volume 2 is a good project. It’s only 35 minutes yet it feels like a long listen. There’s variety, however, at points – too much of one sonic direction. It’s an inclusive project. There’s clear lyricism, great delivery and good overall sense of musicality. However, there are also clear faults. The mastering was subpar on a few songs and that diminished song qualities. There’s a lack of sonic cohesion and direction. The mixtape would benefit from removing two or so songs, in favour of consistency. Moreover, the project’s tracklisting could’ve been arranged far better for listening purposes. In addition to that, the project could’ve benefited if some verses were filled with energy.  However, in essence, the mixtape shows a lot of promise for various rappers and producers. Slumprine have forged their own sound. Their production is impeccable, they have skilled wordsmiths, a professional hook-killer and aren’t afraid to experiment. They can easily establish themselves as a group and as individuals.
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