Hip Hop Album Reviews (06/2016)

BETA.

BETA.

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An album by Inhansed

Review presented by Warren Peace

Listen to “BETA.” by Inhansed

Any artist(s) interested in having a review done should check out the offers provided by The Write Reviews or contact The Write Reviews.


The Intro

I’m not sure how long Inhansed and I have been connected through social media, but I do know it was relatively recently that the connection happened. Inhansed has been a great supporter of The Write Reviews, checking out articles and reviews when he has the time and sharing some status’ along the way. Not only is Inhansed a fan of what I do here at The Write Reviews, he also has connected with some solid artists that I am familiar with and is learning the ropes by soaking up the knowledge being passed on to him. From Jeffersonville, a town in Indiana, this young man has released his first true solo album, titled BETA. Anyone who has ever visited the site knows how I get down on a review, and BETA. is the next on the hit list to receive the treatment. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the BETA. breakdown.


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The Album

1- Introduction

I really like how Inhansed gets the ball rolling for BETA. with the “Introduction”. This concept has been used a few times before, but is performed in such a fresh and creative way that I doubt anyone will think twice about it.

2- BETA.

This beat makes me want to get behind a microphone and spit some bars of my own for the first time in three years. Inhansed jumps onto the instrumental with an aggressive approach. Just as I was geared up to hear Inhansed rip into the track, the second line of the album comes through the speakers- “That my flow’s too shit”. Since I have the chance to point this out to everyone, this is a perfect example of a forced bar, or in this case a line. A forced bar, by definition, is when a bar or line is worded in an unnatural way so the rhyme scheme and flow can remain intact. The key word is ‘unnatural’. Look at Inhansed’s line again then say it out loud. It doesn’t feel right rolling off your tongue, does it? If you haven’t caught it by now, the issue lies in the ending phrase. I cannot think of any possible conversation two people would have that could include the phrase “too shit”. The wording is wrong, if that’s the phrase Inhansed is wanting to use. As I stated earlier, it’s probably more likely that Inhansed wanted to fill a gap in the line to avoid an awkward pause. Unfortunately he chose to use one of the many ‘filler’ words, and I don’t think he practiced the bar out loud before recording or it’s likely he would have noticed the unnatural sound of the phrase. Moving along (apologies for the long explanation), Inhansed is able to bring some clever, original bars from time to time, but also spits several bars that I have heard from more than a couple emcees over the years. The words ‘play station’ have been flipped in every way imaginable already; honestly, I don’t think there is any way of incorporating that phrase as original wordplay. “I know what I say doesn’t really make sense” should never be said by a hip hop artist. The “I wouldn’t feel their bars if they were written in Braille” line is extremely clever, and has been said by at least a few artists, although I don’t believe Inhansed intentionally bit the line. The hook is pretty catchy due to it’s repetitiveness. Within the two verses that make up “BETA.”, Inhansed doesn’t deliver any truly stand out lines and uses quite a few played concepts, as I’ve stated, but he does delivery a well-timed flow of lyrics, displays confidence behind the mic, and prominately packs potential.  “BETA.” has some ups and downs as the opening track.

3- They Say

The instrumental has a relaxed feel to it as the volume slowly increases. A woman’s voice sings the chorus, which is catchy and uses one hell of a metaphor. The settling strum from a guitar, Inhansed tears into the first verse with a serious tone. Inhansed drops lines about not being supported by people he felt should have and being made fun of by people listen end for seeking his dreams. In the second verse, Inhansed picks up where the first verse but this time he speaks about overcoming the odds and never giving up. After a few listens, I have determined that I really enjoy the track and the message Inhansed brings with it, but there are just enough bumps along the way to put me on the fence on whether this is going to make the Featured Tracks list or not.

4- Scared To Death

Following “They Say” is another instruntal with a laid back feel to the music. Inhansed doesn’t hesitate to dive into his first round of bars, focusing on the things he fears. With almost every line, he reveals something he is scared of while spitting his lyrics in a whiny, nearly crying, tone of voice to add more emotion to the delivery. The writing in some areas of the song could have benefitted from a revise and edit session. The hook for “Scared To Death” is actually well put together and kind of catchy, although I do wish he came through the speakers a little clearer during this part of the song. I really like the concept behind the song and, for the majority of the track, Inhansed does a good job of bringing relatable material to the table to make a connection with the audience. “Scared To Death” is a solid addition to BETA. but definitely could have been the strongest song of the album so far with a little rewriting and work on the delivery.

5- VG Bootcamp (Interlude)

While using ‘video games’ and their titles on a track is fun and entertaining concept that will easily appeal to the largest portion of hip hop listeners (young male men), it is also a topic that has been used before by several different artists in a similar fashion. One thing that happens during the course of this track that left me confused came when there was a break between the verses and Inhansed repeated the words “thirty-two” several times. Maybe he was saying it in relation to spitting thirty-two bars over the beat, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the concept of the track, as far as I know, so I am left baffled every time I hear it. Anyhow, the beat ties in several sounds from different video games, most notably the coin-ching from Super Mario Bros. Inhansed is able to flip some of the video game titles into clever wordplay, and other times he simply incorporates the titles into a line without flipping it as wordplay, using it as a metaphor, or packing it into a punchline. For anyone who hasn’t heard a track with this type of concept, chances are they will find “VG Bootcamp (Interlude)” to be entertaining and creative, but for a seasoned hip hop fan, this one won’t receive a higher grade than mediocre at best.

6- No Gimmicks feat. Hybrid the Rapper

“No Gimmicks” has the first featured artist on BETA. and that artist is none other than Hybrid the Rapper, who had his Starseed and Level Up albums reviewed by The Write Reviews last year. The instrumental has some intensity built into it along with additional sounds and scratches to keep things interesting for the audience. Honestly, so far this is my favorite instrumental of the album. Inhansed has the first verse, and the emcee decides to go all in with this one. With the first verse of the track, Inhansed doesn’t only deliver his best verse of the album, in my opinion he delivers the best verse of the song. Clever, humorous punchlines fill the verse, and most of them connect with serious impact. Wish he would’ve closed the round of bars with something a little harder, but I have no co!plaints otherwise. Instead of a traditional hook the break between verses consists of some scratching and blending of lines from each previous verse. I thought this was a great way to switch things up for listeners as well as provide more entertainment value for a beat that should have no problem moving people to the music. Hybrid the Rapper steps up to the mic and begins dropping bars with multiple syllable rhyme schemes while throwing punchlines that don’t hit quite as hard as Hybrid would have liked. Inhansed comes back onto the beat for the third verse. A couple forced lines take away from the verse this time and his punchlines aren’t as humorous as they were in his previous verse, but Inhansed sticks with the topic at hand while keeping a timely flow. While I feel the track could have been a little harder lyrically, it is definitely an entertaining song that people will enjoy, making it a definite choice for the Featured Tracks list.

7- Get My Own

The intensity fades to the background and we return to a more relaxed sound with the start of “Get My Own”. As snippet is played as the introduction to the track. Inhansed delivers calm bars during the course of the song. I do want to mention that I think it is a little ironic for this song to come after “No Gimmicks”. Inhansed gives the song some direction during the first verse, speaking from the heart about his struggles to gain supporting fans and recognition as a hip hop artist. He does really well painting the picture he intends to, and I can definitely relate to his words because of how well he presents everything for the audience. The hook comes through the speakers and does a great job of putting perspective into play for anyone who might have had a hard time following Inhansed on the first verse. I really like how the guitar picks up during the hook. The second and final verse transitions perfectly from the first, diving a bit deeper into the thoughts and feelings Inhansed has early in his career. He never waivers from the subject at hand and proves that some of his best material comes from the heart during the two verses on “Get My Own”.  My favorite part of the song comes during the conclusion of the second verse, which is when Inhansed makes it known that he plans to persevere despite the odds and stick to reaching his goals. The song closes with a continuation of the instrumental while Inhansed drops bits of the hook, and by sliding into a Featured Tracks slot.

8- Lately (Interlude)

Immediately the audience will feel the calming effect of the music for ” Lately”, but I am willing to bet no one sees the beat pick up an incredible vibe when the bass drops and creates an addictive bounce as Inhansed comes onto the microphone. In my opinion, “Lately” is a perfect track to follow “Get My Own”. There isn’t a hook or break during this song, just Inhansed spitting a bunch of heartfelt bars that touch on the same subject that is brought forward on “Get My Own” but also branches out into other personal areas. Inhansed does another great job of expressing his emotions in relatable fashion on this one. “Lately” is a great addition to BETA. and hits the Featured Tracks regardless of how much I would have liked to see this track expanded into a full-length song.

9- Feed My Flame

Continuing to push passionately through the patch of personal tracks with “Feed My Flame”, Inhansed uses the bounce of the beat to be more confrontational this time around. During the two full verses on the songx Inhansed decides to call out all of the people who wanted him to be there for them but were ghost when he needed them. He includes judgemental people, fake supporters, gossiping know-it-alls, and instigators. The hook is catchy, using “You just wanna feed my flame” repeatedly, but lacks the anger and intensity behind the vocals that should accompany the delivery. The third verse is more like a double-bridge as Inhansed gives another set of bars that add overall perspective then repeats the lines again for effect. “Feed My Flame” is one of the better songs on BETA. but is also a little too lackluster, causing it to fall short of the Featured Tracks.

10- The End feat. Graffik

The instrumental to end the album is a unique production that has horror movie appeal and a rather methodical sound. Inhansed is a little bit scattered with the content in his three verses for “The End”, but for the most part he is attacking other rappers in general. The hook, which features the incredibly deep voice of Graffik, is methodical and matches up well with the music in that department. Inhansed would benefit from more wordplay and hard hitting punchlines during the course of a track like this, especially when every hip hop artist who has ever existed has made at least one track like this. He does have some good concepts in his bars, but his execution and wording could have really brought jaws to drop. Not the best way to close out an album, but “The End” definitely isn’t the worst.


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Featured Tracks

No Gimmicks, Get My Own, and Lately


The Write Up

Alright, anyone who has read this far into the review, if anyone believes I’m just bashing or hating, or whatever, on Inhansed and his BETA. album has the following two options- #1: Leave the page and pretend you never saw the review or #2: Suck it up and read more stuff that’s like to hurt your feelings. As far as Inhansed goes, this guy has a lot to learn, has a lot going for him, and shows flashes of becoming an incredible emcee. His album, “BETA.”, shows everyone that Inhansed is versitile, has developed a much-better-than-average flow, and displays a great deal of confidence behind the microphone during most of the albm. Little things, like the wording on some of the tracks, will be picked up on by listeners. When it comes to emotional and personal tracks, Inhansed has a great way of performing his lyrics to make his words even more relatable to listeners. Lyrically, he could work on a few areas to add depth, expand the creativity and multiply the replay value. Sacrificing the content for a rhyme scheme is never a good idea, and an artist should never deliver a line that would not be said in normal, everyday conversation. Inhansed picks great instrumentals to work with and has a knack for switching up song structures to maintain an entertaining presentation for the audience. The bottom line for Inhansed is this- Everything is within reach, but only if he wants it bad enough to make it happen. The Write Reviews will be ready to breakdown the next album from Inhansed whenever it drops, and I have no doubt that Inhansed will be ready to raise eyebrows.


Star Status

★★

(2 out of 5 stars)

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