Perspective by Grynch
Grynch has been making great strides to refine his craft, and with nearly three years since his last project, Perspective easily settles in as his best work to date. Matching up with a handful of Northwest stalwarts from the production side (Jake One, Budo), one will have little trouble finding the groove with tracks like “I’m Good” featuring Emerald City brethren Sol or “Mister Rogers.” On the latter record, Grynch takes the listener on a pleasant stroll through his city, though it’s safe to say that a Northface jacket should be on hand just in case. The album also finds a more serious tone (“No Price Tag,” “Drowning”), and Grynch likewise follows suit with a maturity that “My Volvo” fans have yet to encounter. A few minor hiccups make their way on Perspective (“The Twilight Zone,” “Too High), though this is based on interchangeable selections and not for lack of effort. Lighthearted but still relatable, Perspective can be measured by a line on the album’s title-track in which Grynch admittedly states, “I used to only care about being the best emcee / Now I care more about if people can’t connect with me.” In that regard, Grynch should be more carefree going forward.
Brooklyknight by Sene
There’s something about Sene’s calm cadence that makes you gravitate toward his words, yet he doesn’t sound like a rapper born and bred in the 718. True, he spent some years in California working alongside the reclusive Blu, and Brooklyknight likewise broadcasts this coast-to-coast progression. The album’s title-track perfectly encapsulates this balance, with Sene’s New York-centric rhymes bouncing alongside bright production made for a sunny day in Los Angeles. Similarly, the Exile-esque production on “Footprints” glides as Sene waxes on about life while the Blu-assisted “Backboards” takes the cake as the album’s standout record. This balance on Brooklyknight works for the most part, thought at times you’d hope Sene would break out of his metronome flow (“The Fortunate Passport,” "It’s Been Said") and exert more enthusiasm like his east coast counterparts. Still, Brooklyknight is the type of album that listeners from both sides of the country can appreciate.
Crown Me King by Chuuwee
Chuuwee may be a young gun in this game of Rap, but it’s clear on Crown Me King that the Sacramento lyricist is the real deal. Whether he’s blazing through verses on “Comin’ Up” or taking a more rugged route on “Pride & Prejudice,” Chuuwee’s solid delivery makes you believe he’s a grizzled vet. Check “Murder Over Jordans,” a merciless two-minute record that sends you back to the '90s. Just as impressive is the production, which ranges from buttery smooth (“Chariot”) to raw boom bap (“Glorious Revelation”) thanks to a variety of up-coming beat smiths who would be wise to continue their work with Chuuwee. At 17 records, trimming the fat (“Your Highness,” “The Great American Race”) would have aided Crown Me King in its musical flow, but that’s simply nitpicking. If his debut album Wild Style matches this same demeanor and execution, Chuuwee is definitely an emcee who deserves all ears.