From a momentum standpoint, releasing Hit-Boy’s debut album (and debut of rapping, for that matter) makes sense considering the G.O.O.D. Music compilation album Cruel Summer is coming out next month, which may include a verse from him. Better known as the producer behind “Ni**as In Paris” and more recently Kanye West’s “Cold,” Hit-Boy adamantly vies for a spot within the house that ‘Ye built on HITstory; the declaration is promising at best.

Bringing listeners up to speed on his journey thus far, the opening title track gives a play-by-play recount of how he came up through the industry. Over swaying strings and an ascending melody, Hit-Boy is determined to make the transition from budding beat maker to wordsmith. He shows even more potential on “Fan,” a role reversal record that finds the California-native craving his latest affection. With signature drums pulsing and a synth line drawing parallels to “Ni**as In Paris,” Hit-Boy’s delivery fits perfectly in the pocket. Perhaps a conclusion to “Fan,” the next song “She Belongs To The City” carries a more somber tone as he discovers his supposed sweetheart acting mendaciously.

While Hit-Boy gives listeners shades of personal material, the bulk of HITstory relies on brazen cuts (“Busta A** Ni**as,” “Option”), while in other instances the production overshadows his lyrical skills altogether (“Brake Lights,” “East vs. West”). Then there’s the matter of Hit-Boy finding his own voice as an emcee. To be fair, he does a great impression of an individual sounding like a rapper. With that said, the lack of continuity on HITstory interrupts the albums execution. Case in point: the piercing irony on “Option” when Hit-Boy raps, “Trying to steal my style but it’s no way,” as he then proceeds to jack Big Sean’s cadence minus the inflections.

HipHopDX | Rap & Hip Hop News | Ad Placeholder



“This is Freshman Adjustment meets Late Registration,” Hit-Boy boasts on “Jay-Z Interview,” a seemingly triumphant record centered around crisped production from BINK!. Certainly not lacking the confidence or passion, Hit-Boy could find himself in step with his G.O.O.D. Music brethren down the road. For now though, small doses of Chauncey Hollis will suffice.