Never Bet The Devil
An album by Hei$t
Review presented by Warren Peace
Listen to “Never Bet The Devil” by Hei$t
Hei$t da Great is an emcee with something to prove from Baltimore, Maryland and now resides in the rural town of Marion, Indiana. I have been connected with Hei$t through social media for awhile, knowing that he has been constantly working on his music. With the album I’m about to review, Never Bet The Devil, Hei$t is going to use seventeen instrumentals as his canvas and show everyone his artistic talents. Let’s find out what he’s working with.
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1- Beat God (Intro)
In the opening track of Never Bet The Devil, Hei$t chooses to drop a ton of bars. It doesn’t take long for Hei$t to prove he can hold his own lyrically as well as hold the attention of the audience. He displays a smooth flow while using metaphors, wordplay, and punchlines carry his content. There’s no hook; instead the break in Hei$t’s barrage of bars is used to speak some thoughts before busting out another round of bars. “Beat God” is likely to be eye opening to anyone who has never heard of Hei$t before. A great introduction to the album, as well.
2- New Day
Using an intense instrumental, “New Day” allows Hei$t to speak about coming into his own as an artist and how hip hop has now reached a new era. Continuing to use wordplay, metaphors, and punchlines to his advantage, Hei$t keeps his content entertaining while sticking to the topic at hand. His flow is on point, rolling well with the music. He uses a hook to assist in reeling in listeners, and does exactly that with the catchy chorus featured on “New Day”. Each verse is equally on par, and that’s truly saying something with the bar Hei$t has raised for himself so far on the album. After two verses, “New Day” comes to an end and finds itself as the first Featured Track of Never Bet The Devil.
3- Numbers feat. Bodybag Dutch
“Numbers” begins with a woman giving the definition of the word ‘number’ while the instrumental eases through the speakers from the background. Hei$t takes off with the first verse once the beat drops the bass. He uses some metaphors and similes to support his content, which is focused around the idea of Hei$t selling units and making money from record sales while many artists don’t. The hook is something I don’t believe I have ever heard in a hip hop track before, as it is split into three parts that could have served as hooks individually but come together in a creative and catchy way that will stay with listeners long after the track has finished playing. Hei$t and featured emcee Bodybag Dutch find a way to split the hook also, with Hei$t throwing out percentages in the first part, Bodybag Dutch joining Hei$t to repeat the phrase ‘you ain’t doing no numbers’ in the middle of the hook, and Bodybag Dutch closing out the three-part hook with a couple well written bars. Bodybag Dutch takes the microphone for the second verse, spitting bars with a smooth and confident flow. He leans more toward a trap rap influenced verse, shying away from the lyrical style that Hei$t enjoys to infuse in his bars. Hei$t comes back for a third verse, following the formula he used on the first but also finding a way to blend the approach Bodybag Dutch brought to the track. “Numbers” is more than a solid addition to Never Bet The Devil; it also barely made the cut to be the second Featured Track of the album.
4- Before Work
Hei$t starts off “Before Work” with the hook, which happens to be another catchy chorus due to its repetition. Actually the audience may find the repetition to be a little too much on this track, and some of the blame for this could be put on the verses for the reoccuring phrases during the course of the song. One way or another, listeners are likely to become slightly bored from hearing the same words and phrases repeatedly. Another thing I noticed (although this doesn’t have any impact on my thoughts for the track) is the number of times the word ‘struggle’ is heard during the hook while the phrase “before work” isn’t heard at all. Most of the time this has no effect between the artist and the audience, however there are those times that it causes issues with people searching for a particular song in search engines. Whenever this happens it can cause a fan, or potential fan, to be discouraged or aggravated. Hei$t converts back to a fully lyrical approach as he slings metaphors, wordplay, and punchlines throughout the track. The majority of the song is about overcoming struggles to succeed and not allowing anyone to hold you back, although Hei$t seems to lose focus in a couple places. Maybe it’s just me, but I also cannot figure out what the title of the song has to do with the song itself. Regardless, “Before Work” has several quoteable lines but finds itself falling short of the Featured Tracks list when everything is said and done.
5- Streets feat. Andrea Haygood
I really enjoy the feel of this instrumental, almost as if it belongs to the opening sequence of a late 80’s/early 90’s television show. Hei$t delivers a lyrically sound first verse while maintaining a top notch flow. The hook adds another welcomed element to the album, featuring the beautiful voice of Andrea Haygood and a well written chorus that has depth even though it will not have any problem getting the audience to sing along with the lyrics. In addition to the metaphors, punchlines, and wordplay Hei$t has been able to incorporate in all of his verses throughout the album so far, he provides a little insight to his background and uses a slight bit of imagery as he spits his lines. Hei$t’s witty lines and the superb performance of the hook carry this song into a well deserved place among the Featured Tracks.
Another great instrumental is selected for Never Bet The Devil, this time for the track titled “Progress”. The content focuses on moving forward and reaching goals, and Hei$t wastes no time getting to the point. Hei$t is able to tie in a few funny punchlines, but leans more toward metaphors in the first couple of verses. The third verse gives the audience a little background on Hei$t without getting to heavily into any details. The hook is put together well and easily gives the track perspective. “Progress” is another solid addition to Never Bet The Devil, but barely misses the Featured Track train.
7- Need Nobody
This is one of my favorite tracks of the album. The instrumental has an interesting rhythm that is easy for anyone to move with. Hei$t opens the track with a little bit of talking before bringing a catchy and entertaining delivery on the hook. Many people will be able to relate to this song without question. In the first verse, Hei$t let’s everyone know he has no problem standing on his own and won’t be letting anyone take control of his life any time soon. The second verse picks up right where the first one left off, except Hei$t brings up the female aspect of things toward the end. Hei$t closes out the track by speaking a little more on the topic, and by adding another Featured Track to the total accumulated by Never Bet The Devil.
8- G Thang feat. Darnell Soul
Switching things up with an instrumental that boasts more of a carefree vibe than the intensity put forth by most of the music earlier on the album. Hei$t has no problem incorporating wordplay and punchlines into his verses on this track about overcoming the odds and becoming successful. His flow is crisp, and during the course of the album Hei$t has shown the ability to adapt his delivery to roll with the music or to switch it up whenever he sees fit. The hook, sung by Darnel Soul, is right up there with “Streets” for my favorite of Never Bet The Devil. It isn’t just well written with a fantastic line to end the chorus and bring in the next verse, the voice behind the lyrics is powerful and captivating. The voice on the hook is also the one that brings the bridge to the audience. “G Thang” makes its mark, landing among the Featured Tracks with ease.
9- Good Morning
Another instrumental with a semi-relaxed, positive vibe can be found on the ninth track of Never Bet The Devil. Hei$t uses the energy from the music to create a track about working to succeed and beginning a new chapter in his life. He also delivers some inspirational words to the hustlers who have hit bumps along the way and for the women who have been through the struggles of being a single parent or have had to deal with bad relationships.. Again, Hei$t gives the audience a catchy hook that won’t take long for listeners to sing along with while they nod their heads to the music. “Good Morning” will be enjoyed by most of the people who hear it as it rises above the horizon to reach the other Featured Tracks.
“Business” sounds like the type of hip hop track that needs a little bit of intensity and a head-nodding thump of the drums in the instrumental. Hei$t must have felt the same way. Hei$t describes himself as a boss during the first round of bars, blending wordplay and punchlines while painting his picture for listeners. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hei$t sounds off another great hook; it might even be expected of him by now. Still, Hei$t continues to entertain and be creative by having Bodybag Dutch perform background vocals with the hook to add a deeper, rougher layer to the mix. On the second verse, Hei$t seems to wants to slam bars and exercise his lyrical ability. When the last set of bars rolls through, Hei$t throws in some chanting and plays to the audience to keep everyone involved. Listening to the album from the beginning has caused me to be on the fence about claiming “Business” to be the seventh Featured Track out of the ten songs heard so far. I’m sure others who have listened to Never Bet The Devil in the same manner would be inclined to agree- the songs aren’t the same necessarily, but they are beginning to sound the same in the big picture. Finding a way to switch things up would be refreshing for listeners. When everything is said and done though, “Business” does well standing on its own and that’s enough for me to give it the nod to the Featured Tracks list.
For the first time on the album, Hei$t drops a strictly self-hype track. With some bounce to the beat, Hei$t gets right to the first verse. He doesn’t slack in the lyrical department, giving the audience punchlines, metaphors, and wordplay in every bar. The hook won’t have any issues getting people to sing along. He continues beating the beat with bars over the final two verses of the track, maintaining his approach without wavering in the slightest. “Bossin'” is a solid addition to Never Bet The Devil, but isn’t able to find a place with the Featured Tracks. While the overall idea of the song is a fresh concept for the album, it’s also a concept that every hip hop artist has touched on. As a hip hop artist, when dropping a track like this, you have to connect hard with every single line you spit if you want to turn the heads of true hip hop fans.
12- It’s On
Hei$t appears to be in a good mood as the track begins. He rolls out the hook first, keeping it catchy as usual. By the end of the first verse it’s apparent “It’s On” is going to follow in the steps of “Bossin'” with one noticeable difference Hei$t connects more consistently for the audience this time around. Other than a couple of lines, Hei$t delivers bar after bar of quality lyricism. Overall, “It’s On” is also a step up from “Bossin'” in terms of entertainment value. It only takes two verses for Hei$t to drive the nail in the coffin and earn yet another Featured Track for the Never Bet The Devil album.
13- Go Time
From the jump, Hei$t let’s everyone know that “Go Time” will be focused on overcoming the odds and putting in work to be successful in the game of hip hop. This isn’t the first time he has approached this topic, but Hei$t is able to deliver a fresh take on the track at least. The hook isn’t quite as pronounced as any of the hooks prior to “Go Time”, but I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing because it does allow the audiences to experience a different sound than before. Also unlike any of the previous tracks, Hei$t abruptly concludes the song at the end of the third verse with the firing of a single round from a gun. “Go Time” has its strengths, while it carries out some new stuff for listeners to enjoy, and proves to be a good fit for Never Bet The Devil.
“Justice” is not about anything anyone would guess from reading the title. Hei$t speaks his mind about how fake and undeserving people seem to lay claim to success while anyone who is real and hardworking can’t get ahead or lay claim to what they have rightfully earned. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that Hei$t has no problem spitting another hook that is likely to resonate with the audience. The Featured Track count continues to rise after “Justice” proves to make the cut.
Treading familiar ground, “Mountains” is centered on making something out of nothing. Hei$t brings a lot of energy to his lyrics while the instrumental takes a backseat in a way. Continuing to find ways to incorporate wordplay and punchlines regardless of the topic at hand, Hei$t has no problem ‘rising above the rest’ if you decide to ‘sleep on his ability to come up’. See what I did there? Well, Hei$t has been flipping wordplay like that during the entire album (for those of you who haven’t listened to the album). I like how he delivers the hook, which is on par with the expectations of Hei$t’s hooks developed by the audience, with a more aggressive tone of voice. From the beginning of the track to the end, I have no doubt that this song will be enjoyed by the majority who listen to it. Needless to say, the result is the tenth Featured Track.
16- Bad Guy
I’m not trying to short Hei$t on this review in any way, but there really isn’t much to be said about “Bad Guy” that hasn’t been said about any of the previous tracks focused on Hei$t’s lyricism. The hook is a little too repetitive for my liking, but will still have an audience that enjoys it. I would definitely like to see how well Hei$t would actually go in on someone with more direct fashion, using a little more humor to his punchlines. If “Bad Guy” is the bad song of the album, Hei$t still shuts down 75% of the rappers spitting right now, and you can easily base that on the potential displayed. Never Bet The Devil? I bet him that Hei$t will only increase that number from here on out.
How’s that for saying something when there’s nothing to be said?
17- On My Way (Bonus) feat. Derek Miller
This track is a great way for Hei$t to close out the album. The instrumental has plenty of bounce and will appeal to women and men alike. The chorus has Derek Miller singing the lyrics and blends a female’s voice from the background. Not only is the hook catchy, it has a sound for radio and will be enjoyed by people of all ages. Built more for the ladies, “On My Way” gives Hei$t the chance to show what he can do with a song geared for radio, and he wastes no time getting to work. With a fluid flow, Hei$t works in wordplay, metaphors, and a little imagery (though I don’t think I would compare a female removing her shirt to Hulk Hogen) as the track progresses. Instead of a third verse, Hei$t opts to talk a little before the last round from the hook. Never Bet The Devil concludes by adding one last song to its Featured Tracks, as well as a lasting impression with this hip hop critic.
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New Day, Numbers, Streets, Need Nobody, G Thang, Good Morning, Business, It’s On, Justice, Mountains, and On My Way
The Write Up
If I were to sum up Never Bet The Devil in one word that word would be “incredible”. Hei$t sounds more like a seasoned veteran than an emcee on the come up. Lyrically, Hei$t is on point. His flow doesn’t need to be polished in any way; he even has the unorthodox style down. Honestly, his hooks are some of the best I have heard in terms of consistency. Other than maybe shaking things up by switching up song formats and including a few different voices, the only thing keeping this album from reaching its full potential is having that one breakout track that hits on a taboo subject, is creatively original (see Nas’ “Rewind”, or leaves hip hop fans with no other choice except to restart the song as soon as it reaches the end. Hei$t is definitely on his way up and Never Bet The Devil proves he is capable of becoming a big name in hip hop if he sticks with it for years to come. I know Hei$t has my attention, and when the next album drops, I will be one of the first in line to give it a listen.
(4.5 out of 5 stars)
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