Published Sep 28, 2016Alt-rap diehards will fawn over The Easy Truth, the new joint album by Detroit beat smith Apollo Brown and New York MC Skyzoo.
The LP's music mostly consists of Apollo's trademark rugged, unfussy instrumentals, though it seems working with the Big Apple spitter (who picked flashy beats for his prior solo albums like 2009's The Salvation) has prompted the Motor City producer to adopt subtle flights of fancy. Take "A Couple Dollars," which has the expected tinny, bare-bones percussion, but is also overladen with samples of hazy, soft strings. Skyzoo raps aptly on that track about the allure of the almighty dollar, but his musings are even more moving on "One in the Same" where, over minimalistic jazz keys and another tinny beat, he spits: "Money loud like the only way we can live is blatant / Until it muffle a crowd and they get complacent."
While those musical elements make for a compelling listen, they are used repeatedly throughout the first handful of tracks, making The Easy Truth drag a bit after a while. Thankfully, the fifth track, "Basquiat on the Draw," makes for a welcome change in pace with its booming, rattling drums and overall menacing instrumental. "The Vibes" is also a standout from The Easy Truth's glut of midtempo tracks, thanks to its whirring synths and haunting, séance like backup vocals. Skyzoo adopts a pitter-patter flow that makes the song nearly catchy enough for Top 40 radio.
In moments like these, it's clear that these rap peers are pushing each other out of their comfort zones and into exciting new territory. Hopefully they'll team up again soon and offer a more varied track list that capitalises on the promise hinted at on The Easy Truth. (Mello Music Group)