thawilsonMAG issue102

"Returning To A Forgotten Place" SWORDSCOOL Album Review by Jhantu Randall

Read More by Jhantu Randall
I personally think that the Soundcloud era of hip hop is both a good and a bad thing. On the plus side it allows creative people who never would've had a shot an opportunity to get themselves out to the public. For those who are truly serious about it, it gives the ability to turn a passionate hobby into a profitable career. On the flip side, it’s this same platform that almost enforces a sense of monotony. Lowering the barrier of entry and allowing sub-par rappers to flood the space, making it harder to discover actual MC’s. Those who still give thought to their content while challenging themselves to improve lyrically as they use words to paint pictures and transcribe their stories.

I was asked to review an album, sWordsCool by a collaborative who perform under the same name. Appropriately referred to as a “Triple crown triumvirate,” sWordsCool is made up of Suntonio Bandanaz, Julie-C, and Ready Ron Beats. From the opening track, I heard an introduction that was very reminiscent of the early Wu-Tang Clan mixed with the best of what made the West coast. While not exactly the same it definitely set up a similar atmosphere sonically. When the production of the sound is this encompassing, the challenge lies in the rappers stories to complete the overall picture.

With the combination of these 3, I can say that the bar was not only met but exceeded easily. While all members are essential in this incredibly gifted group, it’s the initial energy of Julie-C that stands out. She’s the best one to kick off the tracks as she sets the bar quite high straight out the gate, pushing both Suntonio Bandanaz and Ron Ready Beats to immediately match her fire. “Event Horizon” is the perfect display of this all coming together as each members verse not only plays off the other but paints a vivid picture for the listener. The beat used only enhances it as you feel almost transported to another world where SwordsCool are the only trusted guides. “New Swag” is a track that amps me up while at the same time sending me back to the days when we used to smoke blunts while just riding around with our friends. Much of the album gives that feeling and is also a project where weed would only enhance an already well plotted piece of work. “One Thing” has a way of putting the listener in a rather reflective state as the verses cause your mind to wonder from one topic to another, which as a consumer, I actually enjoy. “Not An Option” is an immediate repeat track as it builds up only to have Julie-C grab the mic and just let loose. “Gutter Town” has the term “Anthem” written all over it and it’s evident the moment the beat drops. “No Shade” is a track that’s radio ready right now and given the right views, could be positioned to take off right away. Both “Rap Hard” and “Death By 1000 Bars” are self explanatory, it’s a lyrical slaughter! That final track is all 3 just ripping it and decimating anyone and anything unlucky enough to stand in their vicinity.

It’s albums like this that lead me to appreciate writing these reviews. It’s one of those special albums that strikes memories and reinforces why I love hip hop in that way that I do.

It’s available on the streaming sites and if you find yourself coming across it, I guarantee it will persuade you to give it multiple listens just to pick up everything they threw into it.
 

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