FZY – The Bunny And The Cub
FZY – The Bunny And The Cub – Album Review
If you read these pages on the regular and have a heartbeat & a pulse still, you’re probably familiar with the name FZY by now and get the full picture on how excited I’ve been about this dude’s music from the first time I heard it back in 2016 through the single “Whatever Waits Above” from his record Act 1: Exposition. It was the only cut I had…so I continued to spin it like I was trying to put grooves in an MP3 somehow…for like a year & a half, before the lead-single combination of “Compatibility” & “Voice Of Treason” showed up at the end of 2018. I managed to get a bit more insight into the man behind the music around then…and I had also learned about the upcoming record, The Bunny And The Cub for the first time. To say I was stoked to hear there was more coming, especially after hearing FZY come back so strongly with “Compatibility” & “Voice Of Treason,” would have me qualifying for understatement of the year…the endless creativity & innovation in this solo-project is purely among the best of the best, full-stop. You couldn’t possibly predict which way the music of FZY will twist, turn, or transition – it’s pretty much a hybrid beast beyond comparison…but like…artistic AF at the same time. With as much of a range in sound & ideas as The Bunny And The Cub and the music of FZY will take on, you’ve gotta admire the focus, commitment, and full-blown passion that guide even his most extreme concepts.
I’ll comment more on this later on down the line, but for what you’d typically expect out of Hip-Hop based music, FZY continuously bucks tradition in search of new combinations both inside of the genre and outside, proving that he can’t ever be contained in a single box of any kind. “False Self (Intro)” starts The Bunny And The Cub in a Post-Rock/Alternative style sound, driven by gripping guitars and vocal samples laced throughout its length. No rap from the main man in charge at all on this first track, revealing that FZY’s got plans to take us on a genuine journey & experience that’s got him connecting to more than just the words on this new record, he’s right into the music at every moment as well. The man has incredible attention to detail, even in short spaces like this song at 2:11 in length, the way he mixes sound and uses layers set deep within the music provide an experience you can continually repeat and find something new to discover. “False Self (Intro)” starts up this record with a direction & tone you probably wouldn’t expect, even if you thought you knew what you COULD expect from FZY, which for the record, I don’t know how that would be possible ANYHOW – but there’s no doubt it works.
“Blood Steps” is the kind of innovative set of ideas that’ll lead FZY to victory with those out there looking for more out of the music they listen to. Musically, he’s still in a Post-Rock vibe here on this second tune, though he’ll grab the mic and let the rhymes rip over the instrumentation of this cut…this is where you start to really appreciate the balance between the two main strengths. Music & microphone – FZY has clearly taken the steps to ensure that every damn moment we’re gonna hear is loaded with something that’ll genuinely catch the attention of our ears, one way or the other. It flows in perfectly with its dreamy guitar tones ringing out in the background, carrying on from where we left off in the intro to The Bunny And The Cub and ready to take it to the next-level. I love that you can hear the genuine roots of Hip-Hop in the way that FZY writes & delivers rhymes…it’s his ideas that have him sounding perfect for the modern-day if not future-tomorrow…but at the core, you can hear his authentic love & respect for the genre & craft. I head a track like “Blood Steps” and how it fills in that gap between what was and what will be so well, that I can’t help but think FZY’s gotta be almost aware of that somehow. The few times I’ve spoken with him behind the scenes over the years revealed a guy that seems pretty laidback on the surface, but there’s no doubt after listening to his music that he can go a lot deeper when the time calls for it. It’s like he feels the responsibility of challenging the genre to live up to its potential somehow…and it sounds audibly like he’s fully determined to get it there.
When FZY gets amped-up on the m-i-c, you definitely notice. He’s spittin’ venom on “Silver Bullet” and diving deep into the pain & emotion of his own personal experiences & thoughts – but like, with impeccably resounding commitment that has him owning every syllable he raps out. It’s POETIC homies – you hear what I’m sayin?’ “Silver Bullet” will take FZY into the wildest extremes of the most brutal & punishing Metal you can pretty much imagine in the middle of this tale, once again shifting his sound to where you wouldn’t expect it to go. The music itself heads into a bit more progressive terrain in behind him as he flows, FZY is a master wordsmith and there’s simply no denying that for anyone listening – you can hear him take on an innovative canvas like the music of “Silver Bullet” and make the most of every moment with precision, professionalism, and his own vibrantly wild personality still intact & owning the majority of the spotlight with supreme confidence. Talk about a monstrous range of versatility within one experience! You come out of some of the most accessible, bright, and damn near jazzy vocal hooks and explode right into a raging riot of sound that’s determined to make sure everyone’s awake still. Everyone. Like, even the people five towns over kind of everyone, you feel me? Dude’s crafted a killer tale with “Silver Bullet,” told over multiple styles & sounds as the song flows and transitions much smoother than you’d think it would considering how different each of these sections are. Says a lot about FZY’s talent behind the boards in the mix, his writing & ability to perform it all from soup to nuts, and once again, that all-important attention to detail that has him making sure the experience flows flawlessly, no matter how jagged, ragged, hurly, or burly the sounds he’s choosing to create may be.
“Briar Rose” makes use of a massive beat and FZY’s intense energy on the mic leading the way. An excellent example of how to use the dynamics of the music to your advantage, listen to the way that FZY springs off the beat and how it gives this song the punch it needed to make a real impact. Nothing not to love about this cut – FZY’s right in the flow and kicking all the ass on this stylistic jam. Awesome drums on this tune…that’s just facts and something anyone with ears could tell ya – but in addition to that, the hooks and the surge of sound that come with the chorus will certainly make an impact too. Star of the show remains the star here though, no doubt about it – FZY loads this story with imagery & detail in his words, weaving a wild tale of love gone weird on “Briar Rose,” pivoting & shifting his lyrics and bending them to his will as he raps. This is where you hear the heartbeat in the craft y’all – listen to FZY dial-in on the dynamics of the song and use’em to bounce & snap his words to the beat crisply, or give’em some extra finesse or flair to complement the jazzy drums happening around him. Any way you slice it, the man is right on-point here throughout “Briar Rose,” the hooks are memorable, the execution continues to be exceptional…again, remember this is all coming from the mind of one man dear readers, dear friends. The amount of thought, skill, and passion combined on these tunes is seriously audible.
So…true story for you…”Compatibility.” I know what I like, and I love this tune. I also know that, much like FZY knows already himself, he’s so on the outside of what’s typical, that he’s gonna be appealing to a niche audience somewhat. True Hip-Hop fans should get it, hell, I think musicians should certainly pick up on how much effort would be put into a solo-project like this…the artistic & creative crowd, they’ll dig it too – but the rest, the ‘normies’ out there, are always gonna have a tougher time with what FZY chooses to do with his music. To me, the instant interest that comes along with listening to “Compatibility” for the first time is immediate enough to be measured in split-seconds – but I do know that I might be part of a smaller crowd that’ll make that connection to a cut as ambitious & artistic, intense, frustrated, emotional, and authentically different from a ton of what’s out there, if not all of it. So I figured I’d put this on a mix CD and toss it into my ride & see what the wife would think when it eventually came on…she’s my litmus test for what’ll pass in the mainstream and what the everyday listener will struggle with. I like to think she’s almost never right for when it comes to what’s artistic, challenging, and cool when it comes to music – but she’s guaranteed to pick up on a potential radio hit better than even I am. She made it about a good half-verse into “Compatibility” before she looked at me like I was crazy for even putting it in the mix to play for her…I knew she’d feel that way. Confirmation works in several ways…I also know that if she can’t handle it or get behind it in some way, that a tune is going to appeal to a whole other crowd of people altogether…my people. ”Compatibility,” like all-things-FZY, is going to attract an odd audience of musical misfits – but people that KNOW what they like. Personally, how someone WOULDN’T love the edgy melody and frantic intensity of “Compatibility” and the incredible onslaught of thoughts spilling into the microphone and madness of the atmosphere & drums surrounding him…well that’s just beyond me. This cut still crushes it as far as I’m concerned. The transition in direction & sound with like, still two minutes left to go, is one of my favorite moves that FZY has made on any of his tunes that I’ve heard…dude can rap no doubt, but make no mistake, dude can seriously play too. Finds great melody-lines that are haunting, pensive, and suspenseful…creates killer drum beats that flex a ton of passion in every hit…he’ll go on to prove all this even more in the second-half of this original duo-lead-single thing goin’ on with “Compatibility” and “Voice Of Treason” coming up to finish the experience off on soaring guitar notes. “Voice Of Treason” has some of my favorite lyrics from FZY still…full of hope in the way he delivers them on the mic, full of realistic & objective perspective in his bars throughout the verse. Guitar-wise…like goddamn…LISTEN to this guy just decide to up and start shredding in the solo of “Voice Of Treason” as it heads towards the end will ya? Loved these two cuts when I first heard’em and they’re a powerful back-to-back experience here on the record still now – read my original thoughts on “Compatibility” and “Voice Of Treason” by clicking here.
“Presentiment” – wordplay begins right there in the title y’all. Wait though…wtf…that word doesn’t come up flagged in spellcheck? That’s a word? Be right back… *Google …hey no shit, it IS a word eh? I love learning. According to the world of the internet, “Presentiment” is “an intuitive feeling about the future, especially one of foreboding” – I honestly didn’t know that before…this is why following an artist/band down the rabbit-hole to see what they’re implying in their words, music, titles, art etc., can be extremely rewarding and also provide you with insight into what you’re really dealing with. FZY creates incredible texture in his music by bending sounds, shifting frequencies & tempos…”Presentiment” has a whole bunch of that good-good signature stamp of his style all over it. I don’t know if I necessarily feel the foreboding lol…much of this tune has a chilled-out and inviting sound to it in my opinion. Maybe that skewed bend on the sounds we hear implies the fragility of the future, and then there’s of course, the lyrical aspect to examine…which might be projection…maybe it’s a glimpse of where the future could personally take him and how it might affect his art & music. Or maybe it’s just a damn clever title…it’s hard to say what the ultimate meaning or message may be, but “Presentiment” will still entertain your faceholes while you try to figure it all out.
I thought I could get away with Googling “0111021202” and find out something really cool was going on – but all that popped up was FZY’s music in multiple locations…which, I suppose is cool too, it just wasn’t the deeper meaning I was searching for. If there is one here, it probably eluded me…even with the comments I’ve made already, I’m sure there are layers upon layers that I’m missing still…dude puts a ton of effort into constructing material that holds up & offers even more to your ears as you absorb it over time. All-in-all, “0111021202” plays like a wild & bizarre, semi-psychedelic interlude of sorts…it’s definitely a trip, that much I can tell ya. From the accordion, to the sped-up tape sounds, to the roar that comes out of left field to EAT YOUR SOUL, to the eventual calmness of waves gently lapping the shoreline & ambient atmosphere, face facts, “0111021202” accomplishes a lot in under three minutes. Probably the hardest of the bunch for you to sing along to without any words, but damn entertaining.
“Colleen Stan” is one of my favorites from this record…and I think, if anything would reveal just how much I’m on FZY’s side, it’s loving this crazy cut from the moment it began. You know how much I celebrated right here in my chair when the hooks of this cut revealed themselves? Let me tell ya folks – it was like I’d just run up the Rocky stairs…the payoff in how this song shifts into such immaculately smooth hooks & hazy vibes is pretty much everything I want to hear in music happening in ONE song. The bizarre bending of sounds that starts the beginning is seriously cool to listen to – and then hearing this song expand into what’s quite possibly some of the most accessible, warm, and hook-filled verses to follow…I mean, c’mon – this was like complete validation as to WHY you always want to find out what FZY will reveal next in his music. That’s RIGHT…I hear a cut like this and I feel VALIDATED – he should too; finding moments that resonate this universally in the melody is honestly not something that comes along every day…”Colleen Stan” has an X-factor working for it that creates a highly memorable moment in time. I don’t even feel like I need to point the single-worthy potential of a song like this – that’s how strong it really is – “Colleen Stan” is bulletproof from sound to sentiment and a huge highlight on this album. Going back to that earlier story I was tellin’ ya about my wife listening to “Compatibility” – “Colleen Stan” is the kind of song that…well let’s just say I already know her well enough to know how she’ll react to pretty much anything I’d play for her…and this song, without a doubt, she’d truly love. Even though there’s still some tangibly signature weirdness happening in the distortion of the melody of barely audible samples threaded into the thick of the music, there’s no question about how accessible the main bulk of “Colleen Stan” is and just how damn good it sounds. Not just a great cut on this record, but a real highlight in the FZY catalog as far as I’m concerned – I absolutely think it’s one of his best yet. Part love song, part apology…the melody & hooks of this song come out stunningly sweet & sincere.
I think a lot of people will make the same mistake I probably did at the beginning, and try to label FZY as a Hip-Hop artist without thinking much more about it…but the more you dig into this record, you’ll realize that bars & rhymes are just more tools in a very large set of’em. At the core…I’m sure if you were to get out your pen/pencil and start keeping score throughout this album, you’ll find FZY trippin’ into Hip-Hop more often than not maybe – but tracks like “Cognizance” are a great example of how much more he brings to music overall. Even from the title alone, he’s messing with us…or at least as far as I can tell – FZY’s plenty clear whenever he wants to be, but on “Cognizance,” which literally refers to things we know & recognize, he muddies the waters on the mic, masking himself behind the effects. Were it another artist out there, I’d probably assume it was completely coincidental – but I don’t think there’s anything unplanned or not mapped-out to the nines in FZY’s music…this was intentional for sure. “Cognizance” also refers to noticing things…and you’ll probably notice that you can’t catch or recognize what’s happening through the vocals…so there you go, double-edged sword…something like that. Where was I? FZY trips my brainwaves out sometimes. Some seriously gnarly & badass sounds roaming around “Cognizance” underneath the brightness of the surface melody…I ain’t gonna lie, it sure seems like a strange lil’ tune at the end of the day, but it still has a completely smart vision and conclusion to come that pretty much changes the game. I don’t wanna give all his tricks away…but let’s just say that by the time clarity comes to you, and you finally absorb the words that have been repeated all along, the lightbulb that goes off over your head will be bright enough to light-up the house you’re livin’ in.
Livening up the sound, a janky piano & bass groove loosely compile to create the canvas for FZY to paint his words on during “Kevin Hines” – and he’ll hit the bars with genuine swagger & style in mind as he rhymes & raps out his thoughts on this creative cut. Can’t deny that bass & beat combo people, c’mon, you’ll feel this vibe for sure…and those chorus hooks? Right on the money. Piano-wise, I don’t know if the man just got lucky in discovering this or if it was planned out note-for-note…but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t have something brilliantly unique here that really works. FZY shifts gears between the full-speed of the verse and the clever chill & sway of the hazy vibe in the chorus – in either mode, he brings personality and charisma to the mic. “Kevin Hines” has a tangibly uplifting vibe that runs through the whole cut…piano leads the way in that department, adding in the bright-sunshine sounds into the mix here – and there ain’t no doubt that the verses would impress just about anybody’s ears out there. All that being said – it’s the chorus that people are going to remember here most, despite all the innovation & melodic wildness happening and the art of the wordsmith right there on display for all to hear. At the end of the day, it’s the insane amount of catchiness that FZY has stockpiled the chorus with and how stylistically chill it comes out sounding that people will remember…and they’ll remember to turn it UP.
For an outro, “Prism (Outro)” is longer than the six previous songs before it, so believe me, FZY’s not just leavin’ quick without letting you in on more than a few final thoughts before he wraps this up. Love the guitar melody that starts the song, love the distance in the drum sounds in the mix, dig the meaner rhythm guitar coming in to back-up the lead…and of course, the star remains the star – once FZY takes hold of the mic, like on so many songs, you can’t take your ears off this guy. Dude mixes and plays everything on his own y’all – recognize the effort it would take, but also recognize the stellar results he’s achieved…if I was this guy, I wouldn’t let another living soul near my music when it’s all going this right as it is now. FZY proves on The Bunny And The Cub, and certainly once more here on the “Prism (Outro)” that the only person he needs in front of & behind the studio boards, is himself. This is what focus sounds like…you get innovative & inventive music, you get words that line-up and make some damn sense, and a performance that brings it all together…FZY has crushed this album. I had wickedly high expectations for this artist and I felt like he still managed to find a way to exceed them more than I’d ever have possibly imagined he could have between hearing him the last time and now. But this – THIS record…is certainly one to remember…in so many ways, you just couldn’t possibly find another one out there like it – FZY has the kind of uniqueness that truly makes an impact and material that lasts. Personally I think he’s miles ahead of the game still…I think people will continually pick up on what he’s been laying down all along over time and hop on his bandwagon to stay permanently when they do. “Prism (Outro)” also reveals the fragmented perspective FZY has, resulting from the multiple experiences he’s had, both good & bad, over his time here on earth – and he’ll lay all this on ya straight-up on the mic and direct throughout this final tune…I think that’s what people will really dig about this last cut. FZY’s proven to be plenty creative…and he’s definitely had mad bars to be enjoyed along the way – but “Prism (Outro)” is a flow so solid & consistent, so flawless, that it’ll silence any last haters. With the final line being the mic-drop moment supreme; “the king emerges at last” and just as quickly as he’s declared, he exits through the musical mist & haunting notes of the guitar ringing out into the air as “Prism (Outro)” ends on fact-based lyricism & well-earned confidence. Things are still heating up for FZY…The Bunny And The Cub is 100% killer and ambitious…the man himself is fearless when it comes to just how hard he throws himself into his material…committed AF really. More than impressive considering it’s all on the shoulders of one man to deliver from the music to the microphone – and then when you factor in just how much is involved in each of these ideas, you can’t help but be awed by what FZY is capable of creating and how well he truly executes from the beautiful to the bizarre on this album.
Find The Bunny And The Cub by FZY from the official links below!