Chubbz & Hari Upfront – The Cap & The Hoodie

 Chubbz & Hari Upfront – The Cap & The Hoodie

Chubbz & Hari Upfront – The Cap & The Hoodie – EP Review

Chubbz & Hari Upfront, you say…nice.  Those are good Christian names right there.

Lemme tell ya about two dudes that certainly do not give a flying fuck whether or not their material offends you – Chubbz and Hair Upfront.  They’re beatin’ up pussies and bustin’ rhymes…and hell, why not start everyone’s week off with a combination of rappers destined to piss a few people off as they make their way into the scene.  It wouldn’t take ya more than a single spin through the low-end intensity and agro-lyricism of “Alpha Energy” to hear they’re bringing beef to their bars.  We’re not talking about anything so extreme that they’d run BIG KIDD outta town, but you’d probably still wanna cross the street to be safe if you saw these two homies comin’ atcha.  Personally, I’m not all that moved by anyone’s content and pretty much shock-proof at this point in my own career, but I do appreciate that there is skill in behind the conviction you hear from Chubbz & Hari.  As in, yeah – shock value is a large part of what’s motivating them to do what they do how they do it, but beyond that, these dudes can actually rap & trap and all that too…they ain’t just going LARGE as a gimmick, you feel me?  “Alpha Energy” is what it is…exactly what its title implies it’s gonna be, and they deliver straightforward like that.  They’re bound to make you chuckle in a few spots as you try to figure out whether or not they just said what you think they said (spoiler alert – they did) – but you can’t help but take them seriously too.

As “Jawbreakerz” starts up, you also realize they’re having a hell of a lot of fun as well, which is good.  I don’t wanna ruin their street cred by pointing out you can practically hear them smiling as they rap through another set of highly offensive bars, but facts are facts, you can.  If you’re under the impression that makes them any less hard…well fuck…I’ll let you deal with them on that directly and keep myself out of it.  I’m just here to report back on what I’m hearing, no more, no less.  This duo enlists Austxn as a third man in to give this track a bit of extra edge to it…and honestly, it all works.  It’s gritty, it’s tough, it’s intentionally intense and ultra-agro once again, but that’s clearly the direction that Chubbz and Hari wanna go in – they’re making anthemic fight-music, so lace up your sneakers if you plan on listening son.  They “only fuck with girls that fuck with girls” and “thicc” bitches…and I suppose when they’re not crackin’ heads with bats and shit, they’ve got time to get to their business between the sheets & all that.  I’m just guessing…I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I can only assume…scheduling is tough for everyone, and there’s always lots to fit in.  “Jawbreakerz” shows they know what’s up when it comes to using the dynamics of a beat to their advantage though…I’m impressed with the way they spring off the music and use its energy to make an impact on ya.  Speed is also an asset in this crew…for real, they’re wildly competent and capable rappers y’all.

They’re real close to where they wanna be, and they don’t reveal too many cracks in their armor overall.  The most noticeable one you’ll find in the first three tracks occurs in “Brawl” where they’ve pushed some thangs over the red line a bit and let the production slip a little, but in terms of consistency to their vision and the kind of music they wanna create, this is another idea that definitely fits the path this duo has chosen to go on.  Right up to & including the video-game music they add into the intro of “Brawl” – these two street fighters are clearly lookin’ to be “throwin’ hands” whenever the opportunity arises.  I’ll admit, I don’t even know what to say about all that…I’ll probably stick with the ‘everybody has gotta write about something’ line I tend to throw around these pages of ours…if fighting is your thing, believe me, Chubbz and Upfront have certainly got something you’re bound to dig on.  As for the rest of us peace-lovin’ folks, it’s hard to say what the average set of ears will make of what these dudes do and whether or not they’ve given their music the chance to appeal to everyone, or if they’re even interested in that.  I have a hard time believing that anyone would make the music they’re making without knowing that it’d be tough to make it universal if we’re considering the themes & all that…and like I told ya at the start of this review, these two clearly give no fucks about doing anything to please anyone else, you dig?  “You don’t wanna see us pulling up on the block” – let’s be real here, they spit with conviction to the point where you can practically feel the air from their words comin’ on outta your speakers…they’re lyrically tough and everything you hear suggests they’re ready to physically back up their words any time you feel like puttin’ them dukes up.  From my end as a listener/critic, I don’t need to relate to the world of every artist/band I listen to – and I think it’d be straight up foolish to think that’s even possible anyhow – so for me, I’m listening to absolutely wicked way they start “Brawl” moving with their rhymes and the way they rap…and I’m tellin’ ya, it’s supremely awesome.  They don’t quit either, the quality in how they approach the m-i-c is completely consistent and it’s one of the best things about’em – which is why by that same token, they need a remix on “Brawl” to get it in line and be as listenable as it should be.  The personality is there, the skill is found in abundance, the hooks are KILLER…so yeah…don’t get me wrong, I know they’re going for a larger-than-life sound on “Brawl,” but they gotta reign it in a bit to wrestle it underneath that red line.  It ain’t easy to do y’all…I give’em credit for getting real damn close.

For the most part, they DO get their production right in line where you wanna hear it, and it’s fair to say that each of these tracks would largely present the same challenge, which is why it makes “Brawl” a bit on the frustrating side by comparison.  It really is an incredible cut…it just needs the same polish they apply to a track like “Coco” right afterwards, that’s all.  What I really dig about Upfront & Chubbz is that they have really brilliant instincts in terms of how to generate immediate interest in their material – like, you’ll listen to a quick intro from the music in most cases, and in no time at all, they’re “ready to rumble” with some kind of clever lyrical flow that’s mad enticing to listen to.  I’ve said a million times on these pages of ours that personality matters more than most skills ever will – and the reality is, Chubbz and Hari have the good fortune of having a wealth of both they can use to their advantage.  They also layer their shit in the right ways too, know what I mean?  Like, if you’re listening to a duo when it comes to Rap, that basically leaves a space for one lead and one hype man.  You might trade the mic back and forth like these two do, but the roles remain the same – make sense?  What makes these two as great to listen to as they are is that they’re seriously strong no matter what role they’re playing.  Whether it’s the lead or the supporting role, they seamlessly slide into place and click right into gear, and on tracks like “Coco” you can audibly hear how effective that is.  Combined with a deadly beat like they’ve got goin’ on throughout “Coco” and the uniqueness of the music they’re using…the wicked level of speed and skill they use…I mean…c’mon y’all…credit where credit is due, they’ve got a ton working in their favor to pull you in.  If you’re into your fisticuffs and whatnot, that’s a bonus – but even if you’re not, it’s tracks like “Coco” that prove their personalities can push past any theme to appeal to an even broader audience.

They’re “all bout that action” – and hell, right on homies, get after it.  With all the grey in my beard it would be stupid for a guy like me that’s older than dirt now to front like I know anything about half of what Chubbz & Hari choose to rap about…I ain’t about that life, and I’m man enough to admit that I’m a big ol’ pussy that is more than happy to sit quietly on the sidelines instead of bustin’ up these beautiful knuckles.  What can I say?  I need these hands to type out the words you’ve been reading.  Anyhow.  I like that they give their record a different dimension with “Dojo” – this track shows depth in this duo and will eventually make an impact on the people out there listening.  I’ll be the first to tell ya, “Dojo” is up against it y’all…it’s got that slow-burning vibe by comparison to the rest, and the rest of this lineup is so in your face all the time that it’s fair to say “Dojo” will have to fight for some attention at first.  What is also undeniable however, is that they’ve put just as much intensity into every syllable you’ll hear in this track as any cut with a quicker pace…hell, they might even be more forceful with their words here.  They even slide right into a multi-lingual moment in this track too…Spanish I think?  Fuck if I know, I don’t know much about anything other than music.  They sound damn good on “Dojo” though – and I’d hope they get recognized for the work they’ve put into this one.  It’s by far one of the most different cuts you’ll find on the EP by comparison to the rest of the material in terms of their sound and approach, but it’s seriously potent stuff.  The attention to detail is there too…if you’re listening to the layers and the effort they put into their backing vocals, you realize that Chubbz and Hari continuously give your ears something new to listen to beyond the lead.  They use clever effects, smart beats, and layers of vocals to create victory after victory…these words hit hard enough that they might not even need to throw a punch if they keep this up.  That being said, I think they will anyway…because it’s fun for them.  Great hooks in the chorus of “Dojo” though…and an outstanding layer of backing vocals for the finale.

I think I’ve gotta push back a little bit on “Blader’s Spirit.”  I get the temptation to introduce someone else to handle the hooks, and more often than not, it’s usually a great strategy…but it’s way tougher to introduce something at the very end of a record when you’ve already proven you don’t need an ounce of anyone else’s help, or have any other sounds that are comparable in that regard.  The results end up standing out for sure, it’s just a matter of whether or not they stand out for the right reasons, feel me?  Don’t get me wrong, the quality is there and the singing is good enough…I’d definitely have sunken the hook further into the mix of the music though, and the reality is, we just haven’t heard any of this on The Cap & The Hoodie yet.  Sure, saving some fireworks for the end of a record can always be a great idea…but I’m not so convinced that’s what we get with the enlisting of Knight Of Breath in this final cut.  I’ll put it to you this way…and this is how you can prove whether or not what I’m saying is true…when you’re listening to “Blader’s Spirit,” do you not feel like the best parts of this final cut are found in everything that surrounds the main hooks?  I’ve got no gang affiliations or allegiances to anyone – my only job is to call things like I hear it…and I think, despite the vocals still being on-point for tone and performance, I’d be willing to bet they know exactly what I mean.  So on the one hand, sure, I like the fact that Chubbz and Hari tried something new, but on the other hand, it’s still the main duo that steals the show in this last track and the rest is nearly a distraction.  If they wanna fault ME for feeling that way, have at’er hoss, that’s all good and I’ve got broad shoulders that can handle the weight – but all I’m really arguing on behalf of here is the fact they’ve got more than enough skills on their own to keep us all thoroughly entertained.  If every second cut on the EP had a guest-star involved to handle the hooks and whatnot, I don’t think it would have been as noticeable or stick out like a sore thumb like “Blader’s Spirit” does a bit at the end in that regard…I ain’t saying it’s a whack track, but yes I am saying that it doesn’t quite stack up against the rest if we’re talking about the main hooks.  These two can fucking RAP though y’all…there’s not a track on this EP that doesn’t speak strongly on behalf of how large & in-charge these two are with their bulletproof bars, and I’d definitely listen to more of’em in the future.

Find The Cap & The Hoodie by Chubbz & Hari Upfront at Apple here:

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