Hyperfocus

HYPERFOCUS

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An album by Voltaire Slapadelic

Review presented by Authentik Rhymez

Listen to “Hyperfocus” by Authentik Rhymez

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

After approximately three years, Voltaire Slapadelic has finished putting together his project titled Hyperfocus. He began searching for people to review his album through social media, which resulted in a mutual friend connecting Voltaire Slapadelic and myself. After learning about The Write Reviews, Voltaire Slapadelic agreed to get a track by track breakdown on site. Around the same time, I began looking for additional writers to join the staff at The Write Reviews, and Authentik Rhymez stepped up to express his desire to join the team. All of that has led to this, a complete track by track review of Voltaire Slapadelic’s Hyperfocus.


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THE ALBUM

1- Hyperfocus

To say this album is different is simply a huge understatement. This project dabs into many styles of production and Voltaire delivers unique flow patterns throughout. That’s exactly what we get in this first track, an easy going beat to nod your head to and some fun, ‘alternative’ lyrical content. Now, the overall vocal mix sounds decent, but there is a little slurring during the double time bars that could have been redone in first verse. Other than that, the recording is clean overall, which is important to listeners. The project uses some stock instruments and sounds from Reason to make a simple melody here, with some modern twists to the traditional boom-bap style drum patterns. Hip-Hop heads of the new era could appreciate the updated changes. The overall vibe and lyrical content is fun and refreshing to listen to. You don’t hear the same bars you’ve heard in every other song out nowadayth Slapadelic comes out much stronger in the second verse in terms of flow and delivery, and the transitions from one rhyme scheme to the next seem effortless. Definitely a track I’d recommend to listeners, and a nice way to start the project off.

2- Distracted feat. The Genie

Here we have a much more melodic beat, with some dark undertones, reminiscent to an old Western atmosphere. In this track, Voltaire and collab partner, The Genie, showcase their storytelling abilities, talking about experiences at school and beyond., One of my only complaints would be that it’s fairly difficult to differentiate between the two artists, both having similar mic presence and tone. I almost hear a Madchild style flow at times as well. This track definitely has an underground hip-hop vibe. Another decent track worth checking out.

3- Yeah

This song definitely has one of the more unorthodox style beats, which can be a great combo with his equally unique flow and lyrical content. As the track goes on, it gets progressively more aggressive starting at the beginning of second verse and showcases a cleaner attempt at his double time rhymes this time around. His consistent flow fits well in the pockets of each bar, leaving no real awkward silences. This is another beat similar to the traditional boom bap style you can nod your head to. Real, straightforward lyrics, are the reasons why I’d show this track to other listeners.

4- Grinning

Fourth in the lineup comes another unique beat with almost dark, choir-like pads playing behind the song to give an ominous feeling that blends with the raw content in the lyrics. The Hip-Hop centered theme in this track hopes to bring a sense of unity between the rap community, which goes well with this heavy sounding beat to really drive home the main message.Though short, it does keep the heads nodding, as well as keep the steady competitive theme thatI’ve heard throughout this project so far, and given the topic he chose to tackle here, other artistscan begin to respect where he’s coming from at this point. Again, the only real issue would beoverall production done on the instrumentals and the vocal recordings. A good ear can make this project glow.

5- Underground

Another short track here, you’re introduced to a sample in the beginning of this raw sounding beat. The production was done in Reason, as confirmed by Slapadelic, and sounds almost electronic with rock-influenced guitar hits, or maybe its a kind of moog synth. Anyway, it gives me a kind of celestial feeling, in spite of being a track about being ‘underground’. The writing again brings that competitive tone, and the overall content is centered around being unknown, but doesn’t seem to stay on that topic throughout and branches out a bit. With how short the song is, this can be forgiven, as Voltaire simply wanted to fill what time he did use with as much content as he could. It still fits this project, offering a different sound that is just outside the lines of mainstream hip-hop. Though short, and unusual to the ears at first, this track can definitely grow on you after a few listens. I found myself nodding my head at the top of the second verse. RIP Nathan.

6- Vision

The 3rd straight track under 3 minutes starts off with a soft, almost wah-wah style effect in the intro, then suddenly flips to a raw, moog-style electric synth that almost competes with the quick flow for dominance in this track compared to the previous tracks. Still keeping the boom bap theme alive, we yet again hear more unique flows coming from this track, though I’m starting tohear similarities in Voltaire’s overall vocal projection on this project so far, or lack thereof, which can sound like he’s lacking conviction and is reading his rhymes to some experienced ears. Nevertheless, this is worth the listen as this track reminds me of the classic hip-hop style with some nice head-bobbing drum patterns.

7- Angry

Another sample starts this short track out, with a man speaking of Anger bringing a sort of ‘energy’ to a person. Slapadelic only works his magic on this song for about a minute and a half before the sample reappears and continues at the end, easily identifying the theme of this track. Based on the straightforward content, the title fits well. Voltaire doesn’t bring as many crazy flowpatterns or deliveries, and instead focuses on the message he’s portraying in the short time he has to rap. Varied sounds and styles in production can go a long way, and this beat shares that quality with those heard prior to it on this album. I just wish it was slightly longer, the track may have progressed well if it went on for another verse. What’s impressive is the consistent versatility in production, similes and metaphors, though being slightly more straightforward than other tracks on this project. Being 7 tracks into a hip-hop album, that’s not so easy to do nowadays.

8- Pass The Time

This is yet another track slightly under 3 minutes, but doesn’t really feel like it when you listen to it. With the slower melody and flows displayed here, it feels like time slows down a bit. The simpler, mellow style in the vocals and production definitely set a more intimate setting, allowing listeners to ‘pass the time’ and just enjoy the sounds. The slower pace doesn’t mean lack of flow, but more so reflects Slapadelic’s ability to switch from full speed, crazy bars, to a mellow vibe with little effort. Again, I wish this was slightly longer, because we ‘pass the time’ just a little too quickly here. Definitely one of the more favorable styles to the smokers and more chill hip-hop heads looking for some conscious style rap.

9- Isn’t It Nice

After the almost interlude-like break, we jump back into another quick paced track with more aggressive rhymes and bring the banging vibes with the up-tempo production. Though, we are still on the shorter side, it’s definitely a nice pick me up after the slowdown in the last track. Voltaire Slapadelic brings the bars back and comes with slightly more conviction than he had in some tracks before it. However, the slight off-timing of the backing vocals can throw off a listener, and though I have already spoken on it before, it’s definitely evident throughout the project and even more so in this track where the simple, repeating melody forces you to focus your ears on the lyrics. Overall not the strongest, but still a decent track on the project worth giving a listen.

10- Stay Focused

Heads will be bobbin’ when listening to this song. The production sounds very similar to the ‘Vision’ and ‘Underground’ tracks on this album, using simple, distorted guitar notes throughout. The rhymes and overall mix sound a bit cleaner here, being more unified and well thought out. Definitely pleasing to the ears and something fun to listen to, this track also showcases the raw, blunt lyrics we’ve heard through a few of these tracks. And don’t worry guys, this track is sitting just over 4 minutes, so you can ‘stay focused’ a little bit longer here. This is another one of my favorites so far on Hyperfocus.

11- Want

This next track comes up a bit short, containing only one verse and no hooks. The beat isvery unorthodox, which isn’t so surprising at this point in the project. But it seems to serve more as a tool to set the atmosphere more than anything else. You get a constant clap/snare that sounds like it’s been slightly delayed and hits slightly off beat, and has heavy reverberation, which makes it sound like it’s in a hall or large room. The overall message is centered around what people want and look to gain in life, mostly materialistic, as well as what Voltaire hopes to gain as well. He briefly describes the results of a life chasing these things, and how it affects you in the long run. Thesporadic ‘rhythm’ in this beat can make it hard to hear the vocals at times, nor is it something you can bob your head to, but after a few listens, the message had grown on me and I was able to appreciate this track for what it is. Understandably, this is a song most may sleep on, since it takes a few listens to understand what’s going on.

12- Pleasanton feat. The Genie

Another collaboration with The Genie opens to Spanish guitar, which gives a darker, western type of vibe to the track. Also, the electronic sounds throughout add a little variety and pleasant changes in the melody to counteract the repetitive guitar notes. This was another opportunity for the two to showcase their narrative skills, as they describe crazy,troublesome lives as kids before ever getting involved in music. This one really isn’t focused on the bars, but about the story being told. The title refers to the current hometown of Voltaire, and is briefly touched on in this piece. Real solid track all the way around.

13- Powers That Be

This next record’s melody is composed of some high pitched electric-style strings, and Voltaire goes in and out of double-time rhyme schemes throughout his verses, with a few slurs here and there, as he has had in nearly each attempt at ‘chopping’. The choir and flange- style notes playing in the background help add depth to the song and backup the strong lyrics pretty well. Though I’ve spoken on how diverse the beats are on pretty much every track, it’s clear theoverall production in this project still needs mixing and mastering work. This track falls somewhere in the middle for me, almost as a filler track.

14- Politician Deficit Disorder (P.D.D.)

One of the more crazier beats on the project is in this track here. With its quick hitting hi-hats and low-end melody, Voltaire Slapadelic goes off on ‘P.D.D.’ and delivers his views on the political world, while maintaining the competitive flare that has carried throughout the entire project. Both the vocals and beat come off extremely aggressive, almost erratic even. If I close my eyes while listening to this song, I can see a music video consisting of distorted televisions, political events, and old propaganda ad. This song just has that sort of tone because of the way he comes at this track. Though it’s a nice attempt, if I had to pick a few tracks off this album to play for someone, this wouldn’t be one of them. Definitely worth a listen, but it’s not something that newcomers in the underground hip-hop scene would be looking for.

15- Ghost

Underground hip-hop to its core, the final track of this album slows the melody down and focuses on the bars, reminding us one last time why Voltaire Slapadelic shouldn’t be slept on. The overall theme is as the title suggests: about life, death, immortality, the spirit realm, etc. Though he only provides one verse, it’s a nice closer for this sporadic project, and serves to tell the audience how Voltaire’s legacy will live on, long after he leaves the physical world. Nice way to change things up and close an all around divers project.


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FEATURED TRACKS

Hyperfocus, Yeah, Pass The Time, Stay Focused, and Ghost


THE WRITE UP

Though I don’t see this project appealing to most, overall it has some pretty decent sounding vocals, and seems to be totally self-produced, which is something I can’t say for every project nowadays.

However, not as many tracks stood out for me as I’d hoped, but the unique flows and delivery fit well over some very versatile instrumentals, helping this project stand out amongst the monotony that we’ve heard all throughout the 2010’s thus far. As previously mentioned, the production as a whole still needs work, but it’s decent and is a consistently diverse album. Voltaire Slapadelic is a risk taker, with his down south background combined with his new bay area swag, I look forward to hearing where he goes from here. The entire project as a whole is pretty cohesive for being so diverse, and transitions well from track to track. I recommend giving Voltaire Slapadelic a good listen, he’s definitely got potential, but in the end, the overall production was too much of an issue to get over at times.


STAR STATUS

⭐⭐⭐

(3 out of 5 stars)

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