Format – Spotify Songs – Singles Review
This homie is crackin’ the bat yo!
On the last episode of the SBS Podcast, we went deep into the bio of American rapper Format and learned all about the life he was leading prior to music, back when he was all lined-up for a career as a pro baseball player. Like I mentioned on the show, you can read about all kinds of impressive credentials and his journey towards the majors in his bio online…but at the moment, it doesn’t quite finish the entire story. As much as I kinda want the official answer as to whether or not he officially walked away from baseball, retired, or if he’s still playin’ in his spare time – what I really dig at the end of the day, is the end results. Whatever the circumstances were then or are now – we’ve got him. You hearing me people? We’ve got HIM. Format. We can claim him now. Sports can’t have him any longer.
The short history is that in 2015 he officially started getting back into music, and by 2017 he was rockin’ singles online and signed to an official label. We’ve got three of those cuts here in review today…and what’s probably best in this scenario is not just to provide some insight into what “Doubts,” “Hold On,” and “No Entry” are all about, but also to see if we can post some theories about what’s coming up. For you see, in the late stages of 2018, Format dissolved his contract with his label and went back to the roots, remaining unsigned to this very day and focused solely on the next mission – the upcoming Reformatted EP. Rumor has it that the songs for Reformatted are going to be like the second-coming for this artist…a reinvention, reset, and resurgence…with the ability for Format to take his music in any damn direction he chooses to with complete creative control and without any interference or unnecessary pressure from the suits’n’ties to get that music out faster. I mean, I started these rumors myself on the SBS Podcast, but hey…just sayin,’ I bet it all ends up being true! These are my theories of what’s happening behind the scenes right now with the music of Format – after everything I’ve experienced with the three cuts I’ve got here from his past – I hear every reason this man should be on the mic where he belongs. Those huge crowds of chanting fans are still in this guy’s future without a doubt…only this time around, ain’t gonna be for baseball – it’ll be for his music.
Alright…so…I’ve got these in alphabetical order here, nothing fancy, just the straight-up on these singles. Each of them build on Format’s verbal arsenal – there’s no question that the man has mad skills on the mic and he’ll give you a solid hook or wild set of bars in all of these singles that’ll make listening worth your time. In fact, I’d argue the vast majority of what you’ll hear from this emcee already reveals just how skilled & ready he is for that next level – I’m already stoked to hear the Reformatted EP, let me put it that way…because I really do think he’s gonna somehow take it all a step further than this and these three cuts are already one hell of a start. Massively impressed with what this emcee is capable of.
“Doubts” was the first of the three I listened to…and all-in-all, it was a good introduction into Format’s music without revealing all his cards at once. My initial thoughts were that he definitely puts the work into the precision, flow, and metering of his bars – he’s right on-point there. The piano-led music & beat definitely work…the low-end infusion coming through sounds MASSIVE and provides a hook of its own in addition to dosing this cut with seriously vibrant sound – no issues to be found there. “Doubts” is the kind of cut where the attitude is looser than the actual assembly & writing of the track is…that swagger that Format brings to the mic & his performance on this tune almost has it sounding like he could do this all damn day every day…which is probably true as well – but yeah, it’s like he’s comfortably in the pocket for his vibe, rhythm, & flow on “Doubts” and dials-back speed a bit in favor of more flavor in the vocals. I mean, have a listen homies – the man has just as much style on the mic as he’s got lyrics & bars – he might sound chilled-out & laid-back on this first cut, but he’s fully invested & engaging at every moment. At its core, “Doubts” is one of the more personally revealing tracks out of the three as well…Format will bring you from the outside and into his thoughts on this single…confident enough on the mic for us as listeners to know he’ll get to where he wants to go, despite him being his own worst enemy and questioning his every move along the way throughout his career. He might have missed some opportunities – but he’ll have plenty more coming his way if he keeps the quality of his cuts coming out at this high of a standard. Lots going for him on this first cut and it’s a great first impression – he’s got one section that comes out a bit like…hmm…it’s like the same melody of a playground rhythm from back in the day when we’re kids…content isn’t, that’s still on-point…but it’s almost close to something like knick-knack-paddywack at a couple points and Format’s gotta be conscious of stuff like that when it comes to the future. He’s straight-ahead for the most part…you’ll find a couple doses of humor in his music along the way, but the more he keeps our attention without us raising an eyebrow in question about a part coming too close to a childhood memory…I’m just saying, the more seriously he’ll be taken. It’s a minor part of the song at most, and I’m still largely in favor of all of what’s happenin’ on “Doubts” – the flipside of my argument is that, in many ways, the flow comes out similarly to a Nelly-esque kind of movement at times, only with a much deeper & more ballsy sound on the mic & in the music here.
Where things really got movin’ and Format completely sold me, was on “Hold On” – this is where the man flexes such intense verbal skills that no set of ears out there could possibly deny his talent. And hell yeah – that’s exactly why I spun it on the SBS Podcast just earlier this week when we had Format in the mix – “Hold On” is straight-up single-worthy in every sense of the word. He’s “coming through at full speed” on “Hold On” – and that’s the truth y’all, he said it better than I ever could right there. To me, this track is a perfect example of the dedication Format applies to his rhymes and how to execute them when it comes time to perform them…the man ensures through the writing & flow that these words spring to life off the beat and really have enough punch to make an impact with every syllable. You factor in the blazing speed he’s spittin’ with on “Hold On” and you’ve got all-out entertainment that holds nothing back, full-stop. I’ll put it to you this way, “Hold On” isn’t just a good title for this song – it’s also a full-on WARNING yo! Because if you put this song on, the ride begins…next thing you know, the volume is going up through the rafters and the party has started up…and if you ain’t hangin’ onto something, the beat pushed out of your speakers might just blow you to the back of the room. I mean…it definitely ain’t the worst way to go out in life, there’s that…death by awesome music and my speakers murkin’ me with killer sound? I’m actually fairly alright with that personally. The music of this cut has a lot of crossover appeal too…it’s kind of like something you’d figure you’d hear in a song from The Cure with its textured guitar tones, but combined with the wicked beat on “Hold On,” everything moves with a much more crisp & lively electricity in the air. You can hear Format charging-up as the song begins…likely getting in a couple last breaths before he steps to the mic to officially rap…what I’d assume is the entire dictionary on a single track? It’s damn near like no one told Format he could make another song one day and he tried to include ALL the words we’ve got into ONE experience – you’ll hear no complaints from me whatsoever; he spits incredibly clear, puts thought behind his words & how they flow, and the speed & precision found on this track is absolutely second to none. The chorus hooks allow this dude to get some oxygen in him and keep on pushing the limits in the verses – but I felt like they also opened up doors to a crowd-participation moment where they’ll sing or chant along too…it’s minimalist at that point, but still memorable. Considering it’ll take you at least a year of your life or more to be able to rap along with Format on “Hold On,” it’s probably best that we all stay in our lane, get out the man’s way, and meet up with him in that chorus anyhow – you feel me? I love everything about this cut from beginning to end – he’s got supercharged charisma on the m-i-c, the music provides a killer beat and big dynamics for Format to work with, and he makes the most of every second he’s got. For reals – I ain’t jokin’ – “Hold On,” ‘cause this man is 100% about to BLAZE IT UP on this powerful cut.
The final track, “No Entry” probably falls somewhere in the middle between the other two cuts in terms of speed, swagger, and style. Format will once again start the rhymes ripping into the mic and lock right into the moment, focused, hungry, and delivering with spot-on precision. The chorus of “No Entry” has that more spirited menace in the vibe like you’d find on “Doubts” with the backing vocals popping into the mix, but you’ll also find that remarkable speed and fluid flow like on “Hold On” making itself known once again on this final cut of the three. In a sense, it kind of by virtue of its hybrid nature, becomes arguably the most accessible track in this set of singles I’ve got here…I think there’s an argument to be made on behalf of why someone out there would like or love any of these cuts – but when it comes to what the overall masses would conclude, I’d be willing to bet it’s “No Entry” they’d be digging most. Format goes big here in the chorus…rhythmic, but with a theatrical backing to the music, and there’s a genuine majesty to the sound of the verses on “No Entry” with its string-led melody and dramatic vibes running through it all as well. But in terms of balance…that’s where this track is going extremely right – I think both verse/chorus here possess equal strength and give you two entirely different reasons to listen as well. You get that mayhem-infused vibe of the chorus and that confident presence in the bars of the verses – you can hear from the words that Format is spittin’ that he’s determined to make his mark with listeners out there and that nothing is getting in his way in between point A & B. It’s kind of like the audio-equivalent of a phrase I’ve always thrown around when it comes to the music business & promotions – “no door is closed if you pull hard enough.” Don’t tell Format that there’s “No Entry” – because he’s got the moves, skills, talent, and sheer TESTICULAR FORTITUDE to bust down doors and create his own opportunities. You get the idea…he’s a serious force on the mic and writes an ill rhyme.
That’s not to say he won’t face obstacles in the future, or adversity, or even…*gulp…even some damn recognition at his OWN SHOWS as he illustrates at the end of “No Entry.” Believe it or not, I’d be willing to bet that moment in “No Entry” is probably based on his own true story – if not his own, then someone he knows – you’d honestly be surprised at how many times I’ve heard this happening to artists & bands simply trying to make their way to the stage to play their own damn shows! The struggle is real, as they say y’all. Format knows he’s still got a long way to go, but that every goal he’s got is an achievable one. Or at least he should. The kind of talent he’s got is completely pro-ready, entertaining AF, and he’s got music/ideas ready to roll out to the masses on a worldwide scale. These three singles fully prove this emcee has a ton to bring to the mic and I’m completely stoked about hearing whatever Format comes up with next.
Find out more about Format from the official pages below!
Official Website: https://www.rapformat.com
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