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Picture it Sicily …Football season is underway, and you (largely due to your profession) find yourself in a very YT space. You know the space I’m talking about…where you’re more Trevor Noah, and less Gucci Man Laflare. Where you bring up 80s hair music (I’m a closet fan) and refrain from even saying Joey Badass. The lovely place where Connor or Hunter casually walks up to you and inquires about your NFL team and wants to dialogue with you about them. Do you:
(A) ACK LIKE YOU DON’T EEM LIKE FOOTBALL (which is rare because black) or
(2) START SINGING LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING IN THE DEACON OR MOTHER BOARD RANGE or…
(TREY) ACTUALLY OPEN THAT CAN OF NIGHT-CRAWLERS
Welllllll If you know me, you know which one I chose because I’m petty, intentional, and an OG Triple OG about mines.
I have politely stated before that “I’m boycotting the NFL so I don’t know what’s going on this year. ” Which is usually enough to get them scurrying along, because most people (that are not being impacted BY the struggle, don’t want to hear anything regarding the struggle) – Basically keep that black-ish over there LeRoy and please tell me your fried chicken secrets (I usually tell them to use catfish grease with hella sugar in the batter).
BUT ALAS, ‘TIS NOT JUST THE WHITE PEOPLE!
The ones that get me, are those of negroidian descent that will clean smooth slide on that FUBU 05 quality football jersey and cheer on as if literally nothing is going on. I find myself wanting to take my fingernails and start at the top of their head…and slowly peel that beautiful melanin enriched skin that they have…off. But I can’t get mad at them, I mean we can’t act like every black person was down with the cause just because they grew up in the 60s. We have a tendency to “magical black personize” older black people with gray hair. When in fact a lot of them were probably trash, retro F-Boys, or pre-historic turbo-thots. To them I just stare, with a deep, dark and intentional stare…as to say – “I can’t stand you, you extremely poor excuse and sad representation of our community”
…but hey, I’m just a black man trying to exist as a bougie-ratchet.
Take a moment to visualize a life time of experiences. Imagine the growth, the changes, and choices you are faced with. Now imagine, because of these experiences, things don’t come at a surprise anymore, such that, your reactions aren’t even reactions; instead, it is pure instinct. Really internalize this concept, because it is very important.
Valmore Gold is a 37 year old emcee, who is still chasing his dreams. He will tell you that, and he has no shame about it. How many people can say they are still chasing their dreams even at the age of 25 before bending the knee to corporate or a 9 to 5? There is a lot of rhetoric about what is acceptable, and what is not. Just remember, a lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.
Valmore Gold released an EP titled “Casual Savage” on August 20th, 2017, and while only six tracks long, it covers decades worth of experiences. Some would argue that the project wasn’t long enough, and that’s definitely something to consider; although, more often than not people forget a big lesson in maturity, Less is More. Before I go any further, let me make this very clear, THIS WORK OF MUSIC IS FOR GROWN ASS MEN AND WOMEN. This doesn’t just mean if you pay your own bills, or if you don’t club and party every weekend this EP is for you. It means if you don’t have that killer instinct, or that mastery of emotions you’re going to miss out on a lot. The EP is grown; it’s sexy, and full of passion that can’t be taken lightly. Let’s get into it.
First and foremost, when it comes to music—sound is everything. The very first things to note about this project are the production choices. It is very easy for artist to put a variety of styles on a work to show they are talented. Generalizing even more, it’s easier to go for something catchy and to have one big bar in a song that makes it all noticeable. Simply put, amateur mistakes are made all the time when attempting to find your audience. In contrast, the Casual Savage EP has a very specific audience. Valmore Gold didn’t spread himself thin on a variety of styled beats; instead he found his groove and did it pro. This choice shows a lot of experience. To describe the sound, it utilizes a fusion of funk and 90s R&B with some articulate lyrical flows to modernize it all. It refreshes that you don’t need blaring 808s on every track for the song to bang. The sound reminds us there are other forms of bass, including the ever so neglected kick drum. This is very important. Why? Remember…. Less is More. The production doesn’t stray too far from each other which give it an advantage in stylistic flow. How you bop your head from track one to track six is done with the same enthusiasm.
Slightly off topic, but it’s going to tie back in, I promise, but I watch A LOT of Ink Master. Ink Master is a show about tattoo artist competing for $100,000 grand per season. One thing the judges stress so much is technical application—the technique and technical prowess of how the tattoo was applied—so I want to take some time to talk about the technical aspects of the project because it’s important.
First on the list of technical application is delivery. What I loved about Valmore’s delivery on this project was how natural it comes off the tongue. Nothing was forced. Staying true to the title of the EP, the lyrical flow is indeed very casual. He’s not shouting at the top of his long for you to feel what he is saying, but you definitely feel that shit. This is also an attribute to his word choice in each verse, which leads me to my next point on our technical breakdown….. Space
There is so much space on this project. This EP is live because it has enough room to breathe! (Lol See what I did there). Every single verse on this project has an ample amount of space. On the first track I’ll B. Sure, he’s not forcing a bunch of syllables into a bar, only the ones that need to be there, and after the verse going into the hook, it’s so spaced out and then the beat drops. I. Lost. My. Shit. Space makes it so the sound is more comfortable to the listener, and also it gives your being a chance to digest everything. Too often the music we hear doesn’t have a lot of space, if any at all. If you pay attention to each song, you can find the space in every instance. There’s even a song on the project that doesn’t have any vocals at all. Smack Dab in the middle of the project! Risky? Maybe, but it’s so vibey, you won’t care. It simply created space that allowed you to enjoy the sound. There’s not one verse, not one hook, not one section of a song where you can’t find a hint of space. It was very casually accomplished, and it was (segwaying into my next point) consistent.
The project is so consistent from production, to verses, to hooks, it’s all good. Every single track on this project keeps the casual delivery. The hooks on the tracks are clear and enticing. The vibes on all of the tracks do not overwhelm you; instead they continually set the mood. My opinion would go so far in fact to say you could play the tracks in any order you want it, and the album would sound the same. There wouldn’t be any disruption in the atmosphere.
Definitely want to thank all the readers for making it this far, because I can talk about this project all day. The only way I can define this project is as a classic; a classic that no one knows about, but a classic nonetheless. I just want to throw out a few concluding thoughts, I figure you all can get behind to go listen to this EP on repeat:
- What does this project accomplish?
- Who is project for?
- When do you play this project?
- Why is it a classic?
Initially I’d say this project accomplished a lot. Namely, that a 37 year old emcee shows us youngsters how to do it for the culture. It sets the mood for any event with friends and/or family. The project has six great tracks of pure sauce. This EP is the new go to for all grown and sexy events. This EP is the go to for a night out with someone special. This EP is every vibe you need to effortlessly kill the game.
This project is for the culture. Plain and simple. This project is for those young professionals who work 9 to 5 and wonder if they still got it. This project is for those who never lost it. This project is for those who want to have a good time without hearing about molly, percs, xans, and lean every other rotation. This project is for those who have that killer instinct about life. For those who know they were born to f&$@!in’ kill it.
When do you play this project? You play this project when you wake up. You play this project to shoot your shot. You play this project heading to happy hour, and you play this project when you pourin’ up.
Lastly, it is a classic because this record inspires your best you without doing too much. Literally doing the bare minimum. Again, this project is only 6 tracks long, and anyone would be disappointed it’s over when it is. It’s a classic because it’s timeless. Guaranteed you can play this same project 20 years from now and it still has the same effect. The EP is classic because it embodies everything great about music: dope sounds, great rhymes, relatable content, and digestibility.
After my first few listens I immediately had to call Valmore and just talk about it. One of the first things I said was it was a very mature project. You can tell this isn’t his first rodeo in putting together a project, and honestly what impressed me the most about it was the time frame it took to put something this good together. That’s right ladies and gentleman, if you didn’t know any better you would think this project took a decent amount of time to put together, but realistically, Valmore Gold did this in a month’s time. Some people might not be impressed but think about it like this; the production, the timing, the mixing, the mastering, the review, the correction, and the drop… it took one month. This record is QUALITY. Most artist who are putting out this quality are taking minimum 6 months to drop something great. If you ask me…. That’s savage.
Hence the title, Casual Savage. Valmore Gold killed this shit effortlessly. This project was pure instinct.
Hanzo The Phantom
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