So far in 2013, Michigan-based crew, The BLAT! Pack has been responsible for some of my favorite releases (Jahshua Smith's "The Final Season" and Red Pill & Hir-O's "The Kick"). This has led me to check out some of the group's back catalog, and based off of the strength of his verse on Smith's "Carry On/The Ark" I decided to check out P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. He is based out of Lansing, Michigan, and last July he linked up with producer KuroiOto for a pre-album EP titled "A Little Light for You" or "#ALL4You" for short.
The six-track EP is the prequel for P.H.I.L.T.H.Y. and KuroiOto's upcoming album "Living Daylights," which is dedicated to people who use their talents and gifts to bring light to a dark and bleak environment. "A Little Light For You" packs a lot of positivity and uplifting moments into just under 20 minutes, but does so without being cheesy or preachy. "I Try" stands out as one of the EP's best cuts with blasting horns and a top notch hook – one of P.H.I.L.T.H.Y.'s strongest attributes as a rapper. He talks about his spirituality pretty regularly throughout the project, but has the charisma to pull off lines like "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength like Creatine" without sounding pretentious or overly religious.
Production-wise "#ALL4You" is predominately bright sounding – great for the incoming spring and the summer, when it was originally released. BLAT! Pack vocalist Yellokake drops by on "A Little Light 4 You (Interlude)" and serenades the brief track with her sultry vocals. And Sareem Poems, who sounds a little like Chuck D, also drops a spoken-word verse on the interlude. One of KuroiOto's best beats on the project is the up-tempo "David's Dance," which is driven by a strong vocal sample. He steps away from the light briefly on "Sometimes," which features some very dark, filtered guitars. But even on the darkest track on the EP, P.H.I.L.T.Y. remains wholly optimistic:
"I'm just a happy-go-lucky, they like 'man he's so lucky'
Because I won't let this savage world go and budge me
I know every eye on this planet gon' judge me
But it's so sad how they act so ugly"
Overall "A Little Light for You" is a very solid project. There is no reason to skip any track, and there isn't a wasted moment during the EP's 20 minutes. P.H.I.L.T.Y. is a solid lyricist, but he doesn't do much to stand out in terms of delivery and flows. He can write and perform a great hook ("I Try" and "High and Mighty"), but there are still some aspects of a great emcee that he's lacking. "#ALL4U" shows an emcee with tons of potential, and is a great introduction project (to me at least, he has several other projects available on his bandcamp page). And I will be anticipating "Living Daylights," which I hope he will continue to develop his craft and grow a more distinct voice behind his already strong lyricism.
Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10
Originally posted: April 9th, 2013