Beats Above Par, Lyrics Leave Audible Scar

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Image courtesy of soundcloud.com

30 days worth of a free membership will allow fans access to Purp’s newest album.

William Castro, Writer

The topics covered in the recent release “iiidrops”  are about sipping the lean, having a lot of money, and making women have relations with one another.  It’s also about escaping poverty, losing friends, and making amends.

This is Joey Purp’s sophomore mixtape and he hits all the right notes in crafting a definite sound. Even though that sound might have been heard countless times before, I feel Purp can just about squeeze a couple of his tracks in.

I really like this mix tape. It has a very big, very clean sound. It has such stellar production that in retrospect this saves it from some of the tired, cliché lyrics. These lyrics don’t do anything different. Purp is just emulating what any other mainstream rapper would rap about. But if you pair these lyrics with amazing beats and a tasteful mix-down, something interesting happens. It sounds really good.

Now, when I chose to review this mixtape, I knew what I was going to listen to. The generic lines of being hyped and doing drugs are completely expected, but it still becomes exhausting when large portions of the lyrics sound alike.

“Double cut sippin’ lean dripping off these swisher sweets. Two tone, yellow and rose gold like Mr. T.”

I’m not bashing the lyrics themselves, it flows and has rhythm.

It just quickly becomes too much of this and in turn it becomes shallow. It would be great if Purp could abide to the clichés in a more creative manner or expand on a different avenue completely.

The mix tape isn’t entirely cookie cutter, some tracks are really poignant  “Cornershop,” “Morning sex,” and “Winners Circles” all have a strong narrative. This is when Purp is at his best. He raps with so much raw emotion it becomes striking and intense.

“I done seen kids steal drugs from their own parents. Just to start a habit that they would inherit.”

These tracks deal with something real and with such intensity in his rap; this is something that probably affected Purp deeply.

“I wish that I could die for you. But I can’t, so I live for you. And I pray that you’ll stay alive. And wave a flag for you.”

Why I’m so frustrated with the lyrics is because Purp has the capabilities to write on a much deeper level and when he does so his raps sound way more intense and raw. It’s from the heart! Yet, these sorts of tracks are limited, from the 11 tracks in the mixtape about four of them have any actual substance. But, despite all this ranting I don’t really mind. In the far off future when I’m perusing my iPod and come across “iiidrops,” I’ll give it a listen despite the lyrical quality. Because good music is exactly that: Good.

Here’s an additional interjection: It’s not always about the lyrics but the delivery. Purp proves this on the track “Photobooth.” The lyrics are the standard, boastful rapper taking drugs and living a big life. Purp doesn’t engage in any sort of clever wordplay or string any series of rhymes, it’s all straightforward. And it still works, because the sound production is so top notch and the beat is so good.

Overall, the lyrics are a small fraction of the actual track. It more important that the rapper gives us those lyrics with conviction and in a flow that blends with the beat. Purp does this and in doing so ties a neat little bow tie on an already exciting track. Because the beat/instrumental is seriously one of the best beats I’ve heard. The sample used has an intense “in your face” melody that helps feed Purps own intensity. Mix this with huge bass hits (everyone loves those) and the result is an exceptionally well-crafted track.

The mixtape has a handful of standout tracks. Again, it’s the production of these tracks that gives “iiidrops” pedigree. If you’re one to get caught up in lyrics, it’s really nothing groundbreaking. Purp is simply rehashing familiar grounds. Though it’s really exciting when he showcases what he’s capable of on certain tracks.

Despite being nitpicky with the lyrics I have no problem saying the beats are seemingly tailored to whatever style he chooses. Whether serious or (ironically?) boastful he’ll definitely string a flow that intertwines nicely with the beat.

He could rap about anything and it would still seem appropriate.  I enjoyed this mix tape. I will definitely be listening to tracks “Cornerstore,” “Photobooth,” and “Morning Sex” on a regular basis.  You can download “iiidrops” for free at soundcloud.com.