Hip Hop Album Reviews (06/2017)

Outlaws To The End

OUTLAWS TO THE END

cover

An album by Hidden

Review presented by Warren Peace

Listen to “Outlaws To The End” by Hidden

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

This is the second month in the third year of operation for The Write Reviews and we have already had five artists with previous album reviews return to us to feature track-by-track breakdowns of their latest work. Well, now we can say that number has gone up to six. Hidden had his latest release The Way of the Warrior reviewed back in November of last year, and seemed to fall short on The Way of the Warrior overall. Still, Hidden managed to be named November’s Feature Emcee and made an appearance on the promotional compilation seris The Renaissance’s Volume VI. His style and subject matter on The Way of the Warrior had caught my attention though, and after speaking with Hidden, the decision was made to review an album released prior to The Way of the Warrior. This is the review of that album, which is titled Outlaws To The End. Let’s see if Hidden exposes the true talent he possesses on this twelve-track project.


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THE ALBUM

1- Outlaws To The End

The opening track provides the audience with a Western/country sound and lyrics that follow the same theme. The presentation is heavily influenced by hip hop, which makes for an interesting combination that Hidden pulls off incredibly well. The hook is catchy as hell, and I have no doubt listeners will be singing along by the time the track concludes, just like I am. Metaphors and imagery are delivered by Hidden in a back and forth manner, much like a Red and Meth track except Hidden rides out solo. Definitely an interesting introduction that will grab the audience’s attention, along with the first Featured Track of the album.

2- Boss Scene

The instrumental is awesome. The bass/drums hit heavy and the twang of the guitar brings a certain intensity to the track. Hidden lyrically plays off of video games and cartoons throughout the track. His vocabulary is nothing short of impressive while his delivery matches the delivery presented on the title track. His flow continues to be smooth and there’s another well written hook, albeit not as catchy as the hook heard on “Outlaws To The End”. Regardless of how well the hook sticks with listeners, Outlaws To The End lays claim to its second Featured Track in as many songs.

3- Run For The Hills

Starting off with the hook, which leans on repetition more than the previous hooks, “Run For The Hills” has a semi-structured and deliberate melody to the music. This track seems to have some direction, but I can’t seem to place it because it doesn’t really get there. A few lines pop up sparingly in the verses and don’t feel relevant, but then again I’m lost on what exactly the bottom line to this track is so I could be completely wrong. Either way, I’m glad Hidden changed his delivery (mostly) from the back and forth sound to a delivery that sounds like he spits most of each verse in one take. There’s definitely likable attributes to be heard in “Run For The Hills” but, in my opinion, this one isn’t on the level of the previous songs.

4- GunSlinger

Fantastic music for the topic of choice or, depending how you look at it, vice versa. I like the imagery and the presentation of the lyrics, which goes well with the music. The hook is catchy and well written. I do wish there was more of an actual story involved to help give the song closure at the end. It appears to be a story in the beginning with the imagery and all, but that’s not how it turns out. Regardless, “GunSlinger” is original and well-performed, making a great case to be on the Featured Tracks list.

5- Like a Western

In my opinion, “Like A Western” has several similarities to “GunSlinger”. The imagery and presentation will likely give listeners the impression that this track has a story to it, but as the track plays the listeners will realize it doesn’t. The hook is very similar in how it’s written and delivered. The writing elements are also very similar, as description is conveyed to paint a picture but doesn’t include wordplay or many metaphors. I might not feel “Like A Western” is a Featured Track, but it is still a likeable track that’s a solid addition to the album.

6- Ra(w)

Ah man, I really like this intrumental. It hits heavy and hard, laying the base for an aggressive track. Hidden plays off of that well, dropping lyrics from the mentality of an actual outlaw. The hook is catchy as hell. His vocabulary is really nice, and his delivery has a newfound spark behind it, even though he is still playing with the back and forth presentation that I mentioned early in this review. The way Hidden closes the track adds to the release of aggression that many fans will really enjoy. Outlaws To The End adds another to its list of Featured Tracks.

7- Strike

Hidden brings a slight curve ball at the right time, switching from the ‘typical’ song formats he has been following to a bar-for-bar style for “Strike”. The imagery used during the course of “Strike” is on point, proving Hidden has practically mastered this element of writing and has no problem putting a poetic spin into his songs. Unfortunately, after several listens I have not been able to pinpoint what exactly it is that Hidden is trying to get across to the audience. It seems like the track may be a metaphor for something, but it’s not clear what and there are not any hints that I can hear during the song. Regardless, “Strike” is a solid addition to the album.

8- Kill the Eyes

I like the way the instrumental for “Kill The Eyes” is laced up. The title of the track makes reference to taking out a man’s eyes, leaving him completely helpless in nearly every area of living in the Wild West. This is another track on the album that I have a hard time figuring out what message Hidden is trying to get across to the listener. When the track comes to an end, I feel listeners will want more of a conclusion. Instead we are kind of left hanging, if we are able to grasp something to hang on to while the track plays.

9- Me Against

Now this is more like it! Imagery gives this song life, but Hidden also includes some metaphors while painting the picture of a man wanting to be who he truly is and remove all the facades that he has created during his life. Plenty of artists have made tracks about ‘battling’ with themselves, or having to deal with the man in the mirror, but none have put this type of creative spin on the topic. Well done, Hidden. Outlaws To The End has another slot filled on its Featured Tracks list.

10- Strength

It’s pretty obvious what the subject matter for this track is going to be once you read the title. Hidden takes it a little farther though, explaining how being solo through life’s journey is where he draws his strength and how he became mentally and physically strong instead of letting the fact that he’s traveled through life as a loner bring him down and destroy him. This track is definitely a strong addition to the album.

11- Lion’s Den

What would be a perfect way to follow up a song titled “Strength”? One way to do it would be to have a track titled “Lion’s Den” next on the track list. In this case, the “Lion’s Den” is about battling depression, the negativity of this world, and obstacles stopping you from reaching your goal. Hidden presents the material as he has for many of the songs, if not all of them, but this presentation seems to work pretty damn good on several different instrumentals, and this is one of them. The unique and creative writing behind this track win me over, bring the total Featured Tracks up by one more.

12- The Road

Closing out this Wild West story, starring Hidden himself, is “The Road”. I believe the metaphor, which is actually the entire track itself, is referring to this journey called life. Toward the end it seems like Hidden ties in some religion and leaves the door open for a possible part two to Outlaws To The End. Definitely a good way to close out the album, and pretty unique at that.


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FEATURED TRACKS

Outlaws To The End, Boss Scene, Gunslinger, Ra(w), Me Against, and Lion’s Den


THE WRITE UP

I’m not going to compare this project with The Way of the Warrior in any way, because I feel they are two different projects entirely. One of the biggest reasons for this is the amount of guests are featured on each album. The Way of the Warrior had an abundance of verses from featured artists, while Outlaws To The End doesn’t have a single one. In my opinion, this allowed everything to fall solely on Hidden’s shoulders, and he definitely held his own on this project from top to bottom. I would have loved to see a little bit more from Hidden on the lyrical side of things, and it would have done him some good to break up his presentation a little bit or have one or two featured artists to help him in that department. Otherwise, the audience is in for a well-balanced album in terms of great instrumentals, well written lyrics, catchy hooks, and a spread with the subject matter that sticks with the theme of the album. There is a lot of creativity and originality on this album that should not be ignored, especially when so many artists have been following the ‘trending’ styles instead of trying to create their own sound and style. Hidden goes out on a limb to do exactly that, and in my opinion, he nails it. Not only do I recommend this album to anyone reading this review, but this album will find itself in my personal regular rotation.


STAR STATUS

๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ

(4 out of 5 stars)


Check out more great stuff at The Write Reviews!

REVIEW OF THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR

RETURN TO REVIEWS

ARTIST OF THE MONTH

FEATURED EMCEES

THE INTERVIEWS


Hidden can be found on Facebook!

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