Sometimes a risk can pay off. I was looking for some new releases from mainstream artists and something directed me to check out this release from Sap. Now, I had never ever heard of this guy before but when looking into him I learned he is from Delaware, Mid-Atlantic area and that's different. He also has done some production work for other artists and a few features but doesn't seem to be well-known. I took a listen and decided it was worth doing a review of his new album, "Self-Employed".
The album jumps off with "O Eight" and the first thing I noticed is that he has the voice of the 90's East Coast. It's like an Ali Vegas almost. i mean Troy Ave sounds somewhat similar but Sap has a much better flow. The track sounds like some Golden Era production and he just goes in as Sap talks about his journey and it's funny that 2008 is the pivotal year for this young man and reinforces my own age. "I'm Made" feels like a late 90's East Coast meets West Coast production and is serious head nod potential.
Speaking of head nod, the first song I checked out was the video for "Boom Bap" which has that kind of sound and feel to it as Sap spits alongside Hit-Boy, Mike Zombie, and Hodgy Beats. This is a throwback to the crew cuts that would come on Rap City. My dude Stat Quo co-features on "Trading Places" and the track is superb with movie samples over the place of the chorus. "On Mute" has Sap talking about established rappers who have failed by not paying attention to business while he waited for his time and still ignores the haters.
I'm not fond of "And I Mean That" with Shizz Nitty, but it's an uptempo song some dudes will roll with. "Nobody Out There" has a dance hall clap but I really liked how Sap freaked the sample and the flow within his verses. it was cool yet fit into what else he has been doing on the record. "In the stars" with Devin Cruise gave me a nostalgia for the 90's with this track that is directed at the ladies but it isn't syrupy. Just smoothed out a bit and the way it is produced I can allow the auto tune a pass.
Mac Miller features on "C4" which reminds me of something from his last album. His verse is average and Sap out does him. "Don't Call Me" with Tdot Illdude is just a cool song where Sap talks about struggle a little bit but not in some way where he is talking about himself being in the streets but a more arrogant way that reminds me of the attitude Fab or a Young Jay Z brings to the track.
He also has "B4 The Documentary dropped" with the Game and "Backpack,Backpack" with Chris Webby and Jitta on the track before ending the album with "I'm Tired", which wasn't the strongest way to end this album.
For someone I had never heard I was glad I ended up with the chance to listen to this album. There were some real solid songs that gave me some faith in this new generation and hip-hop in general. it's hard to find someone who balances a sound I am familiar with and like with some new energy and freshness. The crispness of his beats and the quality stand out far and above that of a guy like Troy Ave who wants to represent that sound and era so bad.