Befoureye – Guilty Birthdays

 Befoureye – Guilty Birthdays

Befoureye – Guilty Birthdays – Album Review

I’m pretty sure this is the first story I’ve ever read where heading down to Florida cleared someone’s mind and set them on a path towards a better future.  Welcome to the life of rap artist Befoureye, where that exact trip was what he needed to turn his life around and put him on the straight and narrow.  After a lifetime spent locked in the icy grip of addiction, including a large heroin habit established that started back when he was only fifteen years old, this man’s story is one of redemption, and his music reflects that.  He’s a proud father now…he’s got himself a beautiful fiancée that he met in an ALGEBRA class of all things – if that alone doesn’t speak volumes on behalf of how much his life has changed I don’t know what else could!  Algebra?  Algebruh…that’s actually pretty damn amazing.  I’m somewhere in the thick of my early forties and I still couldn’t tell you a thing about why letters belong with numbers.  Anyhow – you get it – at one point, the needle was the only thing that mattered to him, and now he’s essentially found his way out of the darkness and into the light, and Guilty Birthdays details the path he’s taken to get to where he is today through an anthology of songs that have been recorded throughout the years.

Replacing addiction with accomplishment is one heck of a triumph – congratulations Befoureye.

“Silver Lining” starts the record out in the positive direction you’d hope to find in knowing the story of a man like Befoureye that has essentially seen the toughest parts of life & battled through them to become the artist he now is today.  While it’s a track that examines the ebb & flow of how life moves, it’s also a track that shows you he understands the ownership of how we respond to all that…that it’s actually in our control more than most would realize.  Circumstances are what they are, but the real “Silver Lining” is right there on the horizon when we recognize we can still make the best of each and every day, no matter what we’re going through.  Not every single one of these tracks will show you what year they were originally recorded or created in – “Silver Lining” is tagged with a 2015 stamp to it…truthfully, I think that it’s incredible that Befoureye has been sitting on this level of talent the entire time and I can only imagine it’s pretty awesome to have gotten this record out at long last.  Dude’s been spittin’ with supreme confidence for quite a while according to this timeline here…”Silver Lining” proves he’s been capable of putting together empowering & powerful rhymes together for years, and confirms he’s got the level of skill required to compete for those top spots on your playlists without a doubt.  All-in-all, the message is key, but it’s well balanced with the rhythm & flow…in my opinion, that’s the way to go about it – when that goes out of whack, you feel like you’re being preached to, and I never felt that way about “Silver Lining” – this is a stellar example of how to impart the wisdom of experience in a way that works.

“Relapse” details the struggle and how hard it can be – you’ll really get to know Befoureye here on this track without a doubt.  What I thought was really awesome was the way it started though – it begins with a message left on an answering machine…and did you notice WHO it is this person going through a “Relapse” is reaching out to for help?  Spoiler alert – it’s Befoureye – and as hard as this situation might be at the time of, it’s the kind of moment you have to look back on, and realize that of all people in the world, this dude leaving the message reached out to him for help, support, and guidance.  That’s the extent of the massive turnaround Befoureye has made in his life…from helpless, to being the helper – it’s a transition that many people aren’t fortunate enough to make in one lifetime…and he should be seriously proud of what he’s accomplished in that regard.  “Relapse” is great because not only do you get that tiny glimpse of how far he’s come, but he takes you directly into the grittiest details of where he’s been too…this ends up being a huge part of establishing his credibility – you KNOW he’s ‘been there’ – and that’s the exact kind of person you want helping others in the aftermath.  Stringing syllables together like it ain’t no thang, Befoureye flexes major finesse while keepin’ it extremely real with ya – dude is continuously moving, spitting with real confidence & conviction and powerfully convincing tone.

On “Overdose (Unbelievable)” you can hear Befoureye draw from the influence of Eminem in his delivery, hitting that sharp rasp in the way he springs off the beat with his words, and arguably in the design of the song as well with the way the hooks work too.  “Overdose (Unbelievable)” is a truly tough tune to take in if you’re really connecting with the emotion and content involved here…it’s clearly about the weight of loss, and the shock of the impact it can have as well.  If anything, I’d probably have spent a bit more time with the hooks of this track…we really only get the “one shot,” and the potential to make this cut a bit more accessible exists by getting that in there more than just the one time.  That being said, I dig the content, I dig the music, I dig the hooks for sure…and I think Befoureye played this really smart with the layers of vocals discussing the aftermath of loss at the beginning & end of “Overdose (Unbelievable).”  It’s somewhat odd that in a track where you’d notice that Eminem-esque delivery more that he makes a name-check reference to a “Debbie” in there too…that could be clever writing, that could be the reality of the situation, that could be homage to one of the best in the game…I’m not entirely sure.  I get the overall nod to Eminem and fully understand why so many out there to this very day continue to emulate things directly from his style of rapping – he’s one of the true G.O.A.T.s and it almost becomes harder to escape incorporating that influence into what we create because of that – but the flipside of that coin is you’re probably always going to find me advocating on behalf of not leaning into it too much, and really drawing on the individual strengths that make each of us great beyond any singular influence.  For Befoureye, that strength becomes songwriting and composition here.

Having the courage to write about what you’ve been through when it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows takes cojones, know what I mean?  “My Herowins” is intense without question – probably one of my favorite cuts on the record in terms of the ideas, style, delivery, attention to detail from the lead to the background…aside from its production, this whole track is pretty much my jam.  What I do like in that regard is that Befoureye is trying new things out here…and there’s value in that for sure, especially for the future to follow – it’s always important to test things out to see what works.  Some of this does, and some of it doesn’t production-wise…but I’d much rather have the man be willing to test the waters creatively to see what he’s capable of than simply stay safe in the same lane track after track on an album that’s got nineteen cuts on it.  Using the lefts & rights with his vocals is wickedly effective – that’s an example of an idea I loved…as far as the actual texture & sound of the vocals go, probably not my favorite in that regard.  The stylistic flow is completely on-point though – Befoureye raps with the full confidence of a veteran, and considering this is technically his debut record, that’s truly impressive.  “My Herowins” would probably benefit from a bit of a remix if I’m being real with ya – but in terms of what’s memorable, this track is a major highlight early on in the lineup of Guilty Birthdays, and still ends up being one of my favorite cuts on the record because of choosing to do things so much differently than the rest.  Dude went all-in on this one when it came time to perform – that always deserves my respect.

“Be Original” examines the relationship between men & women, and how badly it’s been damaged throughout the years…ultimately this track attempts to mend some fences in that regard, and set things right.  It’s an ode to the ladies without being fake about it – it’s an audible dose of encouragement and it’s got the right intentions.  We’re at a weird place in time right now…some of y’all will certainly take this as complementary and appreciate the assistance from a man that’s clearly proving he’s an ally and supporter of women & their empowerment – and there are going to be others that feel this is nearly a track that tries to mansplain the problem, offering help that they simply don’t want, or don’t need.  I’m all about measuring intentions when it comes right down to it…clearly, Befoureye is attempting to do something good here, and taking it any other way would practically be foolish…but alas, that’s the world we’re living in, and it could honestly go either way.  In my heart of hearts, I hope that people out there get it – “Be Original” is genuinely on the sweet side of Befoureye’s catalog…his intentions are good, the song sounds solid…it’s got a clever mix of the old-school vibes paired with a modern-day rhythm & flow.  Befoureye actually reminds me a lot of the early side of Souleye’s sound…good infusion of positive Hip-Hop on “Be Original,” and the dude picks up a few bonus points for rhyming “beautiful” with “cuticles.”  All-in-all, a track like this speaks strongly on behalf of his character – Befoureye is clearly a good guy yo.

Where some of the music you’ll find, like on “Silver Lining” at the beginning, uses creativity that’s a bit outside the norm – when Befoureye uses beats & sounds that lean towards more universally accessible vibes, like on “You Are,” he puts himself in a greater position to secure another win on your playlists.  At the very least, it’s likely less of an uphill battle, or music that requires less convincing on our ears – make sense?  Don’t get me wrong…clearly people are ‘getting it’ when it comes to something like “Silver Lining” – that track is in the six-digit category on Soundcloud alone…that could be extra promotion or the effect of being the first cut…hard to say – all I know is that for me, it’s a track like “You Are” with the extra layers of sincerity, emotion, and melody at work in the music that give Befoureye the edge.  For example – I heard “You Are” for the first time, and knew within about five seconds or less that I’d likely have found one of my favorites on this record sound-wise.  Content-wise, I dig it…the man’s capable of creating smart concepts, and this track plays cleverly inside of one of’em…it’s a tributary track of sorts, highlighting many of his inspirations and what they mean to him…more positive Hip-Hop in the mix here really, and that’s always gonna be something the majority of the people dig on.  For a guy that’s spent a whole lot of his life in the darkness, you can hear the effect that finding the light has played in the life of Befoureye – you don’t make tracks like this without discovering all those things that make life worth livin.’

So…alright…there’s a lot of ways to look at ‘how’ to go about releasing music.  In my opinion, objectivity reigns supreme, and it’s just about the hardest aspect of making music in any artist’s or band’s career.  If you haven’t made music before – can you imagine spending a ton of time & effort making something, only to leave it behind permanently without whatever it was even seeing the light of day?  Sometimes that’s crucial when it comes to making music though, and that’s the reality of the fate of many songs & the entire reason as to why we all know what the term ‘the cutting room floor’ means.  Not every track we’re on is gonna make the grade…not every song we’re gonna write necessarily fits the context of an album…not every cut is going to represent who we are or what we can do as much as we’d like it to.  In the case of Guilty Birthdays…I get it…it IS an anthology when it comes right down to it, and the tendency in those situations is to load it up with EVERYTHING, plus the kitchen sink.  That’s simply the effect of being so entirely close to the material as the creator…letting go of what we create is the hardest thing we ever come up against as artists, but self-editing and objectivity is the most crucial element of what we do & ties directly into how listeners hear the results.  Consider a track like “I’m Trapped” that traces way back to 2013, nearly a decade ago.  Production-wise, it ain’t in line with the freshest of the fresh on Guilty Birthdays…so there’s that…you can hear the noticeable volume drop at the very beginning right away, which creates a bit of an uneven listening experience in terms of the record overall.  That’s a fix it or toss it situation unfortunately…no two ways about it.  Then consider something like the line about Miley Cyrus – does that fit in on the same record with the version of Befoureye that wrote “Be Original?”  I ain’t gonna lie, it makes me chuckle, because I hardly take anything in life too seriously – but in terms of consistency in the messaging and character he’s looking to present…this is where time becomes the enemy a bit…Befoureye has grown exponentially since 2013, and it might have been time to leave this cut behind.  Beyond all that – there’s like, no such thing as a perfect nineteen-track album, and about four or five that would qualify as anything close to perfection with more than twelve cuts on it…so if there’s ever a clue that it’s time to be more brutal and objective on an album’s lineup…length will give it away every time.  “I’m Trapped” is ALRIGHT…I’m not gonna be the guy to go so far as to say that it’s a bad cut, it’s not – it just doesn’t quite measure up to the majority of cuts surrounding it.  An anthology/debut record is rare though…Befoureye isn’t going to BE in this situation twice in one lifetime…this is that album you put out, with EVERYTHING on it & included, to catch up to where you’re at now, and move forward from there.  Guaranteed he’ll keep things more current after Guilty Birthdays, so many of these issues I’ve pointed out on this cut, or in this lineup in general throughout this review, won’t come up again.

Case in-point tho, you can hear the volume spring back to life on “Try To Understand” right afterwards.  The last thing you want on a record is to have your listeners with their hand on the volume knob trying to manually adjust & compensate for uneven production in order to not blow-out their speakers when that next track comes on.  “Try To Understand” is one of the harder cuts content-wise for a dude like myself to listen to…this one hits real close to home.  It’s about those moments where mom and dad are arguing…and wrestling with the potential of falling short of expectations under the weight placed on a parent’s shoulders.  I’ve been that kid in the room playing while mom and dad are in the thick of heated discussions…and as much as they might have promised “we are okay” afterwards, the experiences still stick with me & haunt me to this day, and I feel like I can remember every word they ever said to each other. Befoureye balances out reality with good intentions and the right sentiment…and that’s obviously important – but it’s a case of actions speak louder than words too, right?  The scenes he’s describing are obviously still taking place, or have taken place…and it’s really about evolving past all that too – think of it this way…sending a kid to their room so that they don’t see or hear an argument seems like a solution and a good one – but wouldn’t it be better if those scenarios just didn’t come up at all to begin with?  I know, I know…sometimes arguments, fights, discussions, etc. – all that stuff SEEMS unavoidable…but I can also promise you that it’s not; but it takes a whole lot of learning & growth to get past all that stuff.  Best advice I can ever give parents on that kind of stuff is by pointing out exactly what I’ve told ya already – I remember every word & battle my parents ever had, and they all still affect me to this day, and I was in entirely different rooms from where the majority of them ever occurred.  On the other side of the coin, I grew up knowing I wanted something different than that…so that’s what I’ve pursued and eventually achieved.  I spent my teens & 20s thinking the cycle couldn’t be broken, but eventually it was.

“Dear Dad” is a cut that I could have taken another five minutes of easily…this is a great track on the record, and entirely too short – we’ll all want more of this.  The main reason being, we can all FEEL this one…we connect directly to the sincerity and emotion of Befoureye on this cut, and know the apology he’s creating here comes from real life experience and a very real place inside him that wants to say he’s sorry.  There are good songs written about things we’ll never experience, and there are great songs like this one, where no matter how hard the content might be to take on, the catharsis achieved by making it makes us better people overall.  The world doesn’t need more songs about chicks & cars – it needs REAL content like you’ll find here on “Dear Dad.”  The objectivity I was speaking about earlier works both ways – sometimes you gotta recognize when a track needs to be cut, yes – but what’s equally true, is the importance of recognizing when you’re really onto something and getting the most out of it too.  “Dear Dad” ain’t no ordinary track…you can instantly hear how much the material levels-up here…and to get only ninety-plus seconds of it nearly feels like we’re missing out on the rest of the story somehow.  I felt like Befoureye was tapping right into something important, and almost stopped himself from going too deep into it…everything from the rap to the lyricism, to the hooks…it all works here bro – I’d have been mighty tempted to keep this going for another round at the very least…”Dead Dad” should be minutes long as opposed to less than two.  Lyrics are so vivid here you can SEE every word he’s spittin.’

“I.F. I. H.A.D.” once again reveals the Eminem influence on Befoureye through a beat you’ll find on the Slim Shady LP from back in the day, with different words and grievances added in.  “If I had a million fucks, it wouldn’t be enough, because I still would be carryin’ way too fuckin’ much” – credit where credit is due, you feel the frustration here.  Like I was mentioning earlier, an anthology tends to include just about everything under the sun…a nineteen track record is bound to expose different strengths in the material too – in my opinion, Befoureye really has two albums threaded into one here.  He’s got the positive side of where he’s at today, he’s got the past where he’s struggled more and was practically rebelling against anything positive at all…so…yeah…I mean, if you read his story, it does provide context, but as a record including it all, still has peaks and valleys.  I like the performance, I like the words, I like the thought he’s put into this and how real it is – as to whether or not all this should have been included on this one experience of Guilty Birthdays…that’s probably going to be something we could debate a lot more.  That being said, a lot of what Befoureye has to say on “I.F. I. H.A.D.” is going to connect in ways you won’t expect…you’ll likely find yourself relating to more of what he has to say on this track than you’ll wanna admit to – he’s spittin’ the truth, real, raw, unfiltered…and as a result, he hits some of his most profound and honest moments.  It ain’t gonna be the happiest track you’re gonna hear this year or any year for that matter, but it is undeniably real…ultimately, there’s always value in going that route, not just for us as listeners, but also for the artists behind the words…”I.F. I. H.A.D.” is like a laundry list of “resentments” that Befoureye should be checking off in the present day, and leaving behind permanently.

“But Really (What Time Is It)” is probably one of my favorite cuts on this record when it comes to the potency of the lyrics once again too…Befoureye has penned some of his best into this one for sure.  The man does extremely well when he’s at his most focused, he’s feeling the beat, he’s writing from an extremely personal place, and adding in clever moments of savage wordplay into the mix…”But Really (What Time Is It)” kind of has it all in that regard.  The main thing that it’s missing, is the hook!  Don’t get me wrong, don’t get it twisted – it’s either a case of there being NO hook, or being ALL hook – and each of us will listen to a track like this differently in that regard.  There’s hooks in the music, there’s lyricism that should be more than enough to engage your mind & ears from start to finish…but yeah…in terms of what people would typically acknowledge as ‘the hook’ – that’s what “But Really (What Time Is It)” would technically be missing I suppose.  I know I’m gonna have no problem listening to a track like this and connecting with it…but I acknowledge I ain’t everybody.  Is there room for that kind of traditional hook in a track like this?  Yup.  All kinds.  I’m simply giving Befoureye things to consider for the future ahead is all…not adding something like that in here, is kind of like not taking the time to find that piece that would work or would fit…and ultimately, you wanna take that time to give your music every possible chance of being heard, to hit that level of accessibility and reach the widest audience you can.

We’ve been through the ups/downs of volume issues already, so I ain’t gonna dwell on it…but I will say I don’t think there’s a moment I had to reach harder to get some sound outta my speakers than on “You Stood I Fell.”  Listeners are a forgiving & accepting bunch…we’ll all accept this happening on a debut and an anthology that covers the span of a decade…but keep in mind, going forward, we’re gonna have to expect more from Befoureye in the consistency of production.  I think the music and the idea of “You Stood I Fell” – rap-wise, the lead performance is something that Befoureye can stand behind too…I don’t know if a line like “my Kim to my Kanye” quite says what it used to in the present day now, but I can remember when that would have been a good thing.  I’d probably have left this one off the record despite all the good stuff it’s got goin’ on though, if I’m being real with ya.  I think when you’re having a closer listen to this track, the background vocals in the hook aren’t quite up to par with what Befoureye is capable of at his most confident and most focused…when you’re staring down the barrel of nineteen tracks, it should theoretically become easier to find those spots that don’t measure up in-full in order to create the tightest record of twelve.  Objectivity my man, that’s what it’s all about & what I’m here for.

“To My Wife” is a solid cut…and it clearly comes out strong as a result of where the inspiration comes from.  I’ll say this…it’s probably a bit more push/pull in terms of balancing the dark & light that you’d probably expect, but once again, the sentiment and intentions come through & ring true.  He might be “depressed” at points, but at the same time, Befoureye has also highlighted a million reasons as to why he’s made this track to express the love he’s got as well…so there IS balance here, it’s just that you’d probably expect things to have been more on the positive-side of things on a track called “To My Wife.”  Hooks-wise, Befoureye has got some of my favorite on the record here, and he’s handled those on his own without farming out that moment to someone else or a sample piece, and I dig that.  You can hear the weight on this man’s shoulders…you can hear how much time he spends with his thoughts on an internal level, examining each and every move he makes in this lifetime over & over…and you kind of start hoping that one day he’ll just be able to live without all that at this point on Guilty Birthdays.  That’s what it’s really all about though…getting through the past to be able to be in the present…and in order to do that, we all gotta confront our demons and find our own path to evolution, meet the challenge it reveals, and become people we’re proud of being…making this whole record in that regard, is completely crucial to Befoureye leveling-up, not just as an artist, but as a human being overall, 100%.

I can say…wholeheartedly…that I haven’t laughed out loud in a room by myself as loud as I have during my first spin of “BiPolor ReLationShiPs” and the very first lines it starts out with.  That’s the impact of great writing right there is what that is – and believe me, there’s a whole ton of it within this track.  I was genuinely surprised by this one, straight up – there’s something absolutely spectacular about “BiPolor ReLationShiPs” that just can’t be beat, even if we don’t know exactly WHAT that might be.  I suspect it’s the fact that Befoureye is willing to ‘go there’ on this track, and simply say what’s on his mind without the worry of how anything will be received or taken by any of us listening on the other side of the speakers, right up to & including the person this song might really be all about.  Let’s be real here – Befoureye is being ALL KINDS OF PETTY here…and fuck, it is something else to witness y’all!  The honesty & humor at work here is practically second to none…”BiPolor ReLationShiPs” fast became one of my top favorites on this album without a doubt…I practically died laughing, and when I wasn’t laughing, I was nothing short of impressed with the cleverness of the writing and the personality within his performance.  Obviously content-wise it’s not gonna be the kind of stuff you’d want to write each and every time…maybe…but in any event, there’s a lot about this track I’d be looking at for the blueprint on the pathway forward if I was Befoureye – he’s confident, keepin’ it loose, leaning on his gift for humor, and holding nothing back.  For real y’all…I could quote just about every line in this song to highlight everything I loved about all the things he’s hatin’ on, and it’d keep us all reading until next week…”BiPolor ReLationShiPs” is brilliant.

Don’t get me wrong…”Let Her Go” is a solid cut too, but you can get a sense of what the difference is between making another decent track on a record with nineteen cuts, and a song like “BiPolor ReLationShiPs” that has us all refreshed and paying attention to every second of it, you feel me?  This particular cut deals with Befoureye closing a chapter in his life that wasn’t workin’ out on the relationship front…and it sounds like that was probably for the best.  It ain’t a bad track by any stretch…it’s hard to say whether or not it’ll get its due or stand out as much as it should on a record of this length, but Befoureye continues to prove he’s got serious chops when it comes to his rhythm & flow, that he can firmly compete with the crowd of rappers out there in the Rap game, that he’s always got something to say, and that he’s unafraid to simply tell ya like it really is.  I still feel like he’s got room to really emphasize the hooks he puts into his music…even on a cut like “Let Her Go,” where I like what he’s created in that respect, it still feels like there’s more room to make them stand out separately from the verses he’s spittin’ somehow.  That can be done through the transitions, through production, through different sounds in the music and beats he’s working with…the point is that the opportunities exist, and taking that extra time to do things like that, will help his cuts stand out to our ears that much more.

Again…we’ve kind of got two albums here, or a split-personality at work that’s can be more noticeable at times than others, you feel me?  We’re looking to accept the same Befoureye capable of writing “BiPolor ReLationShiPs” is also capable of saying “Good Bye Bad Vibes” only two tracks later on?  That’s what you want from us Befoureye?  Okay then homie, whatever you say.  I’ll do my best to keep things positive on “Good Bye Bad Vibes” and simply say there’s a lot of accessibility in this track in comparison to the rest of the lineup…if anything, this might be the one cut where Befoureye is leaning on the hooks too much & being a bit too spare with the rest.  I can’t seem to listen to this cut without thinking about “Bye Bye Bye” by whatever boy band that was at the same time…maybe it’s just not my favorite hook of the bunch here is all, but I can confirm that, like I said, I ain’t everyone – I’m pretty sure the majority of people out there will love this cut.  Ultimately, Befoureye is up on his positivity here once again, and I appreciate that…it’s kind of suggesting that having money solves problems…so there’s that…but hey, just because I’ve never been more than a hundredaire or thousandaire myself, don’t mean it ain’t true.

“Freestyle Bonus” starts out perplexing, mentioning that it’s “written” in the very first line…I ain’t saying that it is or it isn’t, but do we have different definitions of what a ‘freestyle’ is now?  I’ll put it to ya this way…as a listener, it’s never really matter to me whether or not it’s written in advance or not as long as the results are there – and for a cut that traces back the full decade all the way to 2012, “Freestyle Bonus” delivers on solid rhymes, rhythm, and flow for nearly two minutes.  I live in a place that already boasts one of the game’s best freestylers of all-time in Prev 1 aka Prevail, formerly of Swollen Members, I watch my shows online like Sway’s Universe online with Lil Dicky kickin’ ass on the mic…competitions and battles when I can…freestylin’ is an art and major source of premier entertainment straight from the underground.  Like I’ve been tellin’ ya…Befoureye has got the skills to compete – when he hits his stride and speed towards the end of this cut, you can easily hear it.  Not entirely sure if he starts running into trouble beyond what we hear as you can hear the mic being faded out, or if “Freestyle Bonus” didn’t have an ending that was gonna satisfy him…only the man himself is gonna know the answer to that.  He’s throwin’ verbal punches at just about everyone on “Freestyle Bonus,” but Befoureye does well when he’s fired up…solid beat & music to work with…it’s another really short cut, but it’s got the juice for ya.

“But Really (Slowed Down)” is what the title promises ya it is…and I’m eighteen tracks in at this point Befoureye…I ain’t lyin’ to ya when I say I could have probably done without this one in the set.  It IS unique from the rest of the set as a result of the speed being manipulated & whatnot…and it makes the main star of the show sound like he’s got fifty-pound balls & he’s ten feet tall…so there’s that.  I ain’t turning it OFF, but I don’t know that it’s necessarily ever gonna get me so excited that I’m reaching to turn it UP either, you follow me?  I hardly ever recommend having one song appear twice in one lineup unless the goals are to wear it out faster than the rest at a rate of 2:1 – but in this particular case, I don’t think it’ll really affect either version that much…for merely a speed adjustment, I’ll fully admit the final results truly do end up sounding completely different from each other, and like each variation is its own individual experience.  I’m partial to the original overall, but this “Slowed Down” version has merit too.

With the right production, “When It Rains” would be a perfect ending and killer finale to Guilty Birthdays for sure…as it stands now, it’s one last time where you’ve gotta reach to the volume knob & fuck around with it so that you get it up to the level you want.  Befoureye…my man…I hope you’re writing down some notes here my friend – you’ve taken ten years to release this debut record, and it needed ten years & another day to adjust the volumes and get all that in-line – and you get ONE chance to make a first impression on the people out there.  Skill-wise, LISTEN to the intensity of the bars on “When It Rains” – it’s clear this dude can seriously bring it to the mic when he wants to…and I really like the ideas he puts into the hooks with the switch in the effects and how that ends up sounding – there are positives here once again, but hindered by the uneven production of the record overall.  Nothing that sitting back and having a good listen to how it all comes out BEFORE it gets dropped online wouldn’t fix…which is kind of what makes situations like these a bit on the frustrating side, because it’s not like his ears work any differently than the rest of ours do…we all hear things the same way, and he already knows everything I’ve had to say about the volumes going back & forth from track to track throughout Guilty Birthdays.  It’s an easy fix, but an important one all the same…it impacts the entire experience, and can be the quickest reason people start tuning out, or getting straight mad when you turn up a quiet one for the next cut to come booming through and blow up your system.  Maybe it’s different on the Spotify version of the record, where there’s seventeen tracks instead of nineteen, and everything is in an entirely different order – but that’s also another thing you probably wanna avoid when putting the music out there though.  There’s stuff for Befoureye to learn, room to evolve, and a whole lot of skills & positives that should encourage him that even the smallest details are worth digging right into – “When It Rains” is a perfect example of a cut that should get the right treatment in the studio and a track you’d wanna get the most out of.  So DO that Befoureye – ain’t no one out there stopping you from doing that, unless you’ve got the industry poking you with a sharp stick for the music to get out yesterday.  If that’s NOT the case, then take that time my friend…get opinions from other sets of ears that can be more objective about it all…and go from there.  You’ve got the right talent for the game, you’ve clearly got the desire, and you’ve got material…shine it all up like it deserves, and keep getting on out there.  No more of this lettin’ a decade slip by…you’ve celebrated your Guilty Birthdays and put this out to commemorate’em all…now it’s about the future, and dominating the next phase with a less guilty record you can be fully proud of.

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