Hearing a fan of Hip-Hop complain about the current crop of MCs while reminiscing on the 90’s is common as negative babble on the Internet. The rhyming that took place in those years had a sense of urgency that lacks in today’s market. Even the most lyrical of this generation rarely contain the same compelling aspect in their flow that was found in previous eras. This has left a lane wide open for Philadelphia’s own producer/MC Lushlife and his new school vintage sound that will be sure to please purists and contemporary listeners alike.
With a penchant for soulful beats (alongside Rajesh Haldar) and a verbal arsenal that knows no bounds, the Philly wordsmith’s debut album Cassette City is an audible treat that is sequenced beautifully with nary a disappointing song in sight. The project starts off with back-to-back, boom-bap beats that find him lyrically gallivanting about his lifestyle, setting the tone for the rest of the album with “Innocence” and “Daylight Into Me.” And “The Kindness” captures and bottles up the essence of Hip-Hop with one lyrical run after another.
The rough drum patterns and chopped up samples found early in the LP permeate the majority of the tracks found on Cassette City. But his three-part “Meridian Sound” showcase keep the album exciting with a trio of beats containing a sonic value that seem more cinematic movie score than rap album. As for notable features, eLZhi and Camp Lo both come through to rock along with the master of ceremonies on “In Soft Focus” and “Another Word For Paradise” respectively; excellent complimenting the melee without underwhelming the mood.
Truthfully, picking out certain songs to highlight in order to exemplify the essence of this album is difficult to do since the majority are worth a mention. At 25, Lushlife has plenty of time to grow as an MC and producer, which is a terrifying thought for his competition yet a wonderful prospect for fans. With the entire album taking place in the present tense and flurries of introspection abound, the only default is its lack of an explosive single that could possibly raise the status from underground gem to mainstream competitor. Other than minor prestige issues, Cassette City is a masterwork of modern day Hip-Hop that does a tape deck proud.