Gentry Fox – The View From Nowhere – Album Review
Crazy. I just looked it up. You realize we’ve been rockin’ with the Fox since back in the ’14? Unreal!
It’s amazing how much time can pass in general, but when you’re more zoomed in on anything in life, you tend to not realize how much it’s moving, or how quickly it is, while you’re paying close attention to the details of a story unfolding. Hence here we are – we’ve followed Gentry’s evolution as an artist for over six years now – and it still feels like it was just yesterday that we first connected I tell ya. He’s appeared on our pages in reviews of everything from records in his Rare Demo Shit series to full-studio albums like last year’s Project Alpha…we’ve played his music on the SBS Podcast, we’ve talked about him on SBS Live This Week while we jammed his track “Ascension” in the background…the history goes deep here y’all. No lie…over the years, I’ve certainly been known to just pop in to see what this verbal chef’s been cookin’ up online – and in 2020, he’s been putting out tons of content via streams & whatnot…if y’aint followin’ Gentry Fuggin’ Fox than what are you even fuggin’ doin’ with your fuggin’ life bruh? If you’re lacking entertainment, or you’ve made it to the end of Netflix during the lockdown – we hear ya, we feel ya…but maybe start tuning in to what Fox has been up to, cause he’s always up to something. That’s right, I said HE – as in Fox the person…not the network of television bullshit, tyvm.
According to legend and these notes I’ve got in front of me here, The View From Nowhere was largely written, recorded, and all-that good-stuff over the course of the past year. So you know what that means…chances are, we’ll be sliding straight into some of the ol’ current issues we’ve been facing collectively as we cruise through this new album. Anything come to mind y’all? What’s been happening in your 2020? I give the man serious credit for not busting out a Covid-tune straight off the bat as The View From Nowhere begins…believe me, just about errrrrrrrybody else in the world is doing it right now; I cannot express just how thankful I was that Gentry didn’t go that route immediately when it came to this new album…it’s justifiably on everyone’s mind, and I certainly don’t mind if/when it comes up in the course of listening…I suppose what I’m saying is that I’m grateful for those out there like Fox that still remember we got a whole lot else goin’ on for us on this floating rock we’re spinnin’ on. There are still so many ways to approach the pandemic subject in general that have yet to be explored beyond surface-level complaints…which again, I understand…I’ve just been waiting for the scene to catch up and find a better angle on it. Fox has always drawn inspiration from life around him – so I’d expect it to come up in some way, shape, or form – but as per the signature style we know & love from the past, he stays true to the insightful combination of themes he knows well, and that we as listeners can relate to. I’ll put it to you this way, the whole pandemic aspect is less referenced and more-so implied – we all know what the world has been like over the course of this past year – The View From Nowhere will largely dive into what’s much more important, giving an insight & observation into the impact & effects it has had on the psyche & mind of Gentry Fox over that timeframe. You’ll certainly find it’s relatable.
From detachment to depression, from empowerment to personal growth, from the bars to the hooks, Gentry’s always been fearless when it comes to what he’s willing to rap about, and once again he’s got you covered with a stellar set of sixteen cuts that speak strongly on behalf of his evolution as an artist. I ain’t gonna lie…in my head, whenever I throw on a Gentry Fox record, I never really know exactly what to expect other than the fact he’ll give everything he’s got to it. The facts are, in my own experience, having listened to everything from his early demos to his shined-up pro-studio joints…I always have to remind myself that, when it comes time to do things for real, the man brings nothing but his A-game. Those rough spots that come along with any kind of demo experience and the incubation process that ideas go through in their early stages…I mean, there’s just none of that here on The View From Nowhere whatsoever; this is one of those Fox records where he’s clearly spent the time to make sure the quality on these cuts couldn’t possibly be mistaken for a demo…production-wise, this is absolutely his best to-date. You factor in that time + experience & dedication = more skills, more confidence, more abilities – and come on y’all…anyone that knows anything about Gentry knows he’s working around the clock 24/7 – it would be insane not to assume that you’ll hear him make leaps forward with every release he’s got.
Gliding into the smooth sound, aura, and atmospheric vibes of “Nowhere” – it’s Gentry & his bong, doin’ his thang, giving himself the green light to let the rhymes rip. In amongst the jazzy synth vibes, soaring background, and spoken word samples, the man goes to work quickly on the m-i-c to generate verbal entertainment for ya that’s well worth your time. Like for real y’all – the very first verse should make a huge impact on your first impression of The View From Nowhere and give ya all the enticement you’ll need to wanna stick with it from there – listen to Fox command the words he’s using and bend them into shape to fit perfectly. He’s claiming to not be able to even sleep based on his mind forming words around beats all night long…and it’s kinda hard to argue otherwise – “Nowhere” makes it sound like it, that’s for sure. Gentry comes out strong on a subtle groove, audibly sounding like he’s ready to make this album a new statement & high-point of his career – and yessir, I’m absolutely fuckin’ HERE for it!
“Viewfinder” – hellz yeah. Some beats you can hear just work 100% without a single solitary hiccup and present the right setting for an artist to do what they do best – which is what you’ll hear on this second cut from The View From Nowhere. It’s an early highlight right off the drop – I’m not nearly sayin’ he’s giving ya the full dose or THE highlight of the record yet, but definitely one of’em without question. You can hear the inspired spark & bounce that comes with his rhythm, cadence, and flow on this cut in the verses – and of all things, I’d say those are the spots that stole the show. The main hooks tinted with their auto-tuned wildness towards the end come out about as predictably controlled as a Ghostbuster trying to snag a ghost with one of those crazy proton streams…but that’s kinda the nature of the game when it comes to using that effect, and it’s a minimal part of this overall experience. Basically, if you can get as many layers as you’ll hear in the finale of “Viewfinder” to fit 95% of the time, I figure you’re in pretty damn solid shape as far as I can tell. The main meat of this sandwich is fully intact and that’s what matters – “Viewfinder” keeps the rhythm & groove locked & stocked, supplying a mesmerizing swirl of sound that moves slowly in between the lefts & rights, back & forth as you listen. Smart moves like that create an authentically sensory experience overall…it becomes sound you can feel. You wouldn’t want that as your main deal throughout the course of an entire album mind you, but when you choose to pull that card, you want it to make an impact and you’ll find that steady slow-bounce in the pulse & sound of “Viewfinder” does exactly that. The vast majority of this cut jams reliably – its only in taking the last few moments up a notch to create the finale that Fox starts wild’n’outside of the lines in this colorfully layered digital twist at the end. So the man caught the vibe and got amped for a second – can ya blame him? “Viewfinder” supplies a smooth groove worth being excited about…it’s only natural that sometimes an artist can get so into the moment that it fully takes over…I don’t hold it against him. To me, it was actually kind of a fun moment that reveals a lot of character in the man behind the mic – Gentry Fox genuinely IS excited about making music, and as serious as he can be, shit yeah he still wants to have a good time creating some cuts for you to enjoy – you’ll find he loosens up the vibes in a few places throughout this record, and for the most part when he does, it creates sincerely endearing spots that will just make you dig what he does even more – that make any sense to anyone? Hello? Bueller?
When it comes right down to it, “Chi” stands a solid chance of becoming a big deal out there in the court of public opinion. Gentry is working with a tried, tested, and true aspect of Hip-Hop here in many ways, which is freakin’ GREAT…performance-wise, he leaves nothing outta this one…musically, it’s right on the money with a mix of interesting & compelling sound. When it comes to the main hook, he’s given this song a shot at genuinely creating a new buzz word in Pop-culture with “Chi” – don’t be surprised if you start hearing people that have listened to this record slipping that right into their daily vernacular yo! That being said…there’s an unspoken but inherent risk that comes along with creating a cut like this that goes for the elevation of a particular word…and that’s whether or not people out there will accept it; we all know the infamous story of what happened to them Mean Girls back in the day trying to make ‘fetch’ happen – and no matter which way you slice it, you’re up against a similar situation when you go this route by placing the emphasis & success of a track more or less on one single word. Like I said, I think Gentry’s gonna do just fine here…I know I plan on using this terminology myself now…I’ma be like, ‘yo, my Chi says that another hit on this bong is a great idea’ or ‘I’ma treat myself to another five minutes on this morning’s deuce & live like a king today because my Chi demands it’ – that kinda thing; it’s useful! On the real though, I dig the spoken-word intro and its relevance, I dig on Gentry’s down-to-earth performance while rapping about going to outerspace and his memory into the ether beyond – “Chi” has quite a relevant & real philosophical core that people will connect to for sure. Burnell Washington also comes in to lay down a set of incredible bars in the second verse as well to give “Chi” even more depth & dimension in style & sound…no complaints from me. Vibe with Gentry on his frequency will ya?
“Lucid” was a very strong cut all-around. Conceptually, lyrically, musically…flexibility & versatility – Fox lays out a ton of audible reasons to be listening closely to the thoughts he’s putting through the mic, and notice the smart pairing he’s put into the effects to match the idea & suit the songwriting. Smart stuff. You’ll hear from Gentry’s words and the samples around him that so much of this cut deals with a faded, “Lucid,” dreamlike state – but in his lyrics, you’ll find he also remains hyper-aware, and arguably more connected to his surroundings than ever before. Like every artist & band out there in the world, we’re all on some kind of curve & character arc for our careers – we experience ups & downs along the way as a natural result; all I know is that if I was Gentry Fox & I ever found myself getting down for a moment or two, I’d put “Lucid” on as a reminder of what’s important to remain focused on. At his most focused and in-tune with his thoughts & emotions, Fox is capable of extraordinary insightful, humble, and sincere lyricism without having to sacrifice any entertainment value in the process of getting out what he truly wants to say, exactly how he wants to say it – “Lucid” is one of the finest examples of that – and in my personal opinion, it’s one of the most major transitions in this lineup of tunes you can point to where Gentry begins to take everything to the next level from good to great with the cuts to follow. “Lucid” is that first step in a chain reaction that sets off Fox in all the right directions as he stockpiles the middle of The View From Nowhere with many of the most memorable, vivid, and realized tracks upon it.
When it comes to “Real” – you might just find it’s one of the most apt titles on any cut you’ll hear this year…that’s exactly what this is y’all, “Real” AF. Unfiltered, kickin’ back with tabs of acid and a whole collage of colorful sound, Gentry chills right the hell out into the zone while keeping the focus on his words perfectly in-line. Syllable-for-syllable, pound-for-pound, “Real” deserves extreme credit for adding massive strength to the lineup of The View From Nowhere early on – and it’ll remain a huge highlight in the set-list no matter how many times you spin through this record. The extra attitude & edge that Gentry brings to pivotal lines is key, but so is the naturally relaxed flow he’s workin’ with and how on-point the metering is while also cranking out a dictionary’s worth of words at ya. As far as accessibility is concerned, “Real” is damn near the very definition – it’s just about one of the easiest cuts you’ll ever find sliding outta your speakers and straight into your ears with no struggle. “All day, every day” – Gentry keeps it “Real,” 100% – if ya don’t know, now ya know – he’s barrin’ out on this record. I loved this track from start to finish…I think the sound-selection & production is freakin’ stellar, I think the old-school scratches & spins are perfection, the sentiment comes through enormously strong with the conviction Fox spits it with…it’d be hard to not dig on “Real” when it’s all come out this flawlessly.
“Different” was one of the cuts I felt like I related to the most, and what a hella chill vibe he’s got rockin’ along with him on this track! The View From Nowhere is undeniably picking up strength as it plays, even when the sound itself becomes more spread-out like you’ll find on “Different.” I know I’ve harped on this point many times throughout the past couple reviews, so I’ll keep it brief this time around and just reference the fact that, once again, it’s not about complexity all the time – it’s about getting it RIGHT. In many cases, the best way to go about that is to use the simplest ingredients and make sure you get to their absolute maximum potential – and that’s what you’ll find Fox has done with the music on this cut. From the gentle scratches of the record as it begins to the magnificent use of the subtle boom/bap beat combo in tandem with the sweetness in the melody of the guitar loop – what’s not to love here? Gentry keeps the recipe simple and gets the most out of the meal here y’all – “Different” is definitely one of the most well-assembled & tight cuts on the record, mind you, Fox has left any of us with precious little to complain about. As per his signature style of writing – which he’ll even cop to in the lyricism of this song – “Different” explores the personal side of his own thoughts…and even though he somewhat rags on himself for writing this way, you can hear he’s proud of it as well, which he should be. Documenting his journey like a diary or journal of sorts, these songs Gentry Fox has created over time all speak to the legacy he’s looking to leave behind…it ain’t about one massive overnight hit, it’s about longevity and a full catalog of cuts that represent pivotal & important moments, thoughts, and feelings he’s experienced. Just so happens we get to be entertained through that in the process – but I personally appreciate the fact that he’s so willing to share, so giving as an artist even when he’s got a middle finger raised up high to the sky, and this invested in his material. Making music MATTERS to Gentry Fox – and it’s in songs like “Different” that this becomes crystal clear to each and every set of ears listening to him.
“Forget” is a fuggin’ masterpiece Foxy – this is the kind of looseness that works perfectly. The second-longest cut on the entire record, Gentry loosens up the vibe here perfectly here in his approach to the m-i-c, and creates an incredible, serious storyline to fuel the main themes running through this cut. Delicate in its demeanor and highly sincere in sound, Fox lays out what’s real on “Forget,” for better or for worse, and keeps it grounded as possible in a twisted tale of life & love. He does well with the extra space here – you never feel like Gentry is rushing the moment or trying to hurry through his bars – he’s locked right into the moment with precision, and knows exactly the way he wants to get his vocals to come out here. He’s not quite going full on Chance The Rapper here, but you’ll get what I mean when I say he’s rockin’ with a similarly loose & addictive style when you hear how Fox rap-sings his way through this cut. “Forget” is one of those tracks you hear and you know it’s going to generate different reactions with just about everyone who listens, strictly due to the fact that he’s put so much character & personality on display – but I’d suspect many more people will fall on the side of loving this cut like I did than not. As far as lyrical detail & storyline goes, I think “Forget” is easily right up there with the best of the best in his catalog to-date – and personally, I think the hooks he’s got are completely memorable. Like many a Gentry tune, the verses probably stand out the most because he’s clever with his words, imagery, perspective, and emotions laced in – but he does deserve bonus points here when it comes to the chorus and how quickly it grows from the want of hearing it to the NEEDING of it within just a couple spins. There’s just so much to love here – the story is incredibly well-crafted, and of course Gentry deserves serious credit for getting this all into one compelling tale that found a vibe perfectly suited to support it…”Forget” is powerfully serious in its emotion, but it makes for a massively refreshing listen to hear Fox come alive in such a decisively different way here through this twisted tale of life & love that leads to no good…which gives this cut an oddly uplifting vibe underneath the surface, and in the chorus.
“Vanguard” deals with a ton of introspective but highly relatable & thought-provoking feelings & emotions many of us experience. There are a lot of songs you’ll find throughout The View From Nowhere that dig deep on a personal level for Fox for sure – but when it comes to “Vanguard,” you’ll likely feel the same as I did in coming to the conclusion that there’s a whole helluva lot of HIM in this song…as in, we really get to know the man behind the mic on this track. Musically, I felt like this was one of my favorites on this record without question…it’s a freakin’ masterpiece of subtlety and almost mesmerizing to hear how much Fox can do with what’s essentially so little going on. I mean, if you’re REALLY listening, you’ll hear there’s actually LOTS going on, but it really sounds minimalist in design with the way he’s got it mixed. For me, it really worked well…it came out like…something like Boards Of Canada with a rapper up front…it’s the kind of understated curious & mysterious vibes that set the stage for us to listen intently, and the effect works to maximum result here. It’s because of that space and just the hint of sound guiding the main melody he’s springing off of tonally, you get right into Fox’s lyrics hit the crisp snap of the beat and the personal tale he’s woven here word-for-word…and the circle of life in a song continues on, with each aspect & part of the song feeding off of itself, retaining our full attention. Looking far beyond his existence into what life would be like without him when he’s gone…in answer to the questions he’s puttin’ out there – it’d be ME…I’d still be listening to his music and tellin’ his tales to my grandchildren’s grandchildren! Or at least people like me…I’m ancient and I’ll be long gone before Fox will be…but I’ll make sure his legend & music never die way before that by making sure to tell all you fine folks out there reading about what Gentry’s been creating over his years as an artist. We’ll live on! You’ll get it when you hear it…but “Vanguard” likely deals with a lot of the questions you’ve likely had yourself about your own lives & music…Fox is just fearless enough to give a voice to’em is all – but you’ll probably relate…or at least you should…it’d be weird not to wonder about what happens after we’re gone wouldn’t it? We’re all ghosts from day one anyhow…Gentry gets it; “Vanguard” is proof of that. With his optimism up & his focus on a better tomorrow…you gotta respect the fighting spirit in Fox.
Switchin’ it up as the second-half begins, guest-star T00M3R leads the way as “Jaded” begins, handling the first verse with confidence and solid bars & then passing the mic to his homeboy Gentry Fox to bring it home. LOOK…I’m NOT gonna sit here and complain about what’s bulletproof, cause that would just be stupid – these two guys nailed this track from start to finish and that’s indisputable. Do I want MORE than just the fuckin’ 2:25 they give us? Of COURSE – and you will too! And dammit, that’s on US and not on THEM and I HATE that…but that’s what the repeat function is for. The method & logic is 100% sound…ultimately I respect how this has gone here, even as much as I want another twelve minutes of “Jaded” – keeping a song tight to its moment in time, without an inch of space out of line…I mean hey, that ain’t exactly a bad idea y’all – pay attention to the Fox blueprint on The View From Nowhere. Love the stylistic sound of T00M3R’s vocals…and in general, you’ll find as you listen to this album that when a guest-star tends to show up & lend an assist, it’s always a noteworthy track. Definitely an effective cut in the lineup…and there’s a solid level of contrast to keep you interested in the words being spit atcha; you’ve got T00M3R pretty much expressing gratitude & much of what’s molded him into the person he is today…and Gentry gives you a laundry list of reasons as to how easy is it to become “Jaded” in life.
The jazzy elements & sound selection on this record has been spectacular & deserves a major shout-out. For whatever reason, I feel like it hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind as much as it should be, but that seems to speak for the ease of listening to this whole record…almost like I take it for granted that Gentry’s always got something compelling in the mix from the lefts to the rights and I don’t even mention it? Come on…I should be better than that. Suffice it to say, I got to “Distant” and that was where it snapped into focus on that first spin; dude’s got this album loaded UP with incredible sounds. As far as content is concerned, “Distant” finally hits up that Covid-theme head-on…I mean, we knew it had to be coming at some point right? Coughing his way into the beginning, “Distant” gives you a skewed sound & psychedelic swirl in the mix with voices echoing long into the background while Gentry keeps it live up front. The poetry this man produces! Man! “Distant” is a killer example of the man picking a theme and excelling from start to finish…he’s dialed right in, making every syllable count and packing true weight into his words. Everything is landing with impact, generates mad interest, and keeps his naturally insightful wisdom pouring through the mic at all times; in the case of “Distant,” he’s spittin’ lots of truth, so once again, pay attention and listen y’all…and for fuck’s sake mask the fuck up.
I had a conversation the other day with a completely different artist out there who wanted to send me a record with sixteen cuts on it, but noticed that in general, I tend to call it at fourteen in most of what I write about, which I’ve always put out there visibly for people to see. Dude wanted to know why that was…and I told him the truth as I would anybody else – it’s not that I’m opposed to listening to more music, obviously I love that – it serves as a deterrent/reminder to the scene at-large that there’s about maybe two perfect records out there in the world that have more than fourteen songs. Arguably, I could scale that down to about ten tracks and still feel comfortable in that assessment…but the point is for that line to be established to serve as a reminder to step back, be objective, and really examine whether or not that next song completely measures up to all the rest, or if maybe it’s time to cut a tune or two. It’s just about the hardest thing to do in the world when it comes to making all your own music & material happen, and who could blame an artist or band for feeling that attached to what they make? Sometimes ya gotta look at it in context of the rest of the record in comparison, sometimes it’s only something you become aware of by other people listening & realizing what it is they hear in what you create, sometimes you crack the bat so hard with other material, that it edges out what was once a really strong tune early on in the recording session, and by the end, should maybe be left out of the lineup. “Outlier” IS exactly what its title implies, though perhaps not for the reasons originally intended. That’s the song that, while still satisfying in many ways…is also what I think I’d consider to be one of two cuts on The View From Nowhere that I wasn’t 100% convinced quite hit the standards set along the way. It’s not like I’m here waiting to pounce on that moment and jump on Gentry in a critical gangbang – it is what it is…let’s focus on the positive and recognize it wasn’t until track ELEVEN on this album that I even felt like there was a questionable cut to be found…that’s not a breakdown, that’s an achievement. Verse-wise, he’s as bulletproof as he’s been throughout this whole record…it’s really not until we get to that main hook around the ninety second mark that we discover the first real crack in the armor. As to whether or not it’d be worth tossing completely as a result or relegating it to a B-side status…it’s hard to say – I felt like when it came to “Outlier” that, even though you spend more time in those verses & bars by far, the impact of those hooks searching for the right gear & tone and coming up just short might outweigh the rest of what I’m lovin’ – but vice-versa, you might feel exactly the opposite. At the end of the day, I get what Gentry’s going for here…it’s a tough energy to get through a microphone with the right amount of power & tone without that taking over what’s supposed to be a more low-key moment; I respect the idea, I respect the attempt…I still never skip over “Outlier,” so that should tell ya somethin.’
THIS is how you respond though – and I want to hear a fucking SHITLOAD more of THIS from Gentry Fox – because what you’ll hear on “Hindsight” hits the target like Robin Hood splits the arrow yo! Vocally, he’ll put some of my favorite bars into the mix on “Hindsight” without question – Gentry flips the script in fantastic ways as he flexes his capabilities in the flow of this cut. One of those genuine moments where you can hear how the inspiration of the music directly affects the results of the performance of Fox on the mic, the dude gives you a full dose of an array of styles to spit his words throughout “Hindsight.” You’ll hear the spoken-word sample talk about using potential…more importantly though, you’ll hear potential being maximized all throughout “Hindsight” as Fox adds a superhuman dose of personality, charm, and charisma that you simply will not find in any other cut on this record. Does that make it the ultimate highlight from The View From Nowhere? In many ways, I could definitely argue it actually DOES…and I can’t imagine anyone clappin’ back at me for that choice. This is just so radiantly on the mark though…it’s like, how could ya NOT notice? The jazzy beat is as ill as ill can be with its piano-led vibes…but it’s the main star of the show that steals this one from top to bottom as he flexes verbal capabilities that many of us out there, even his regular listeners, have yet to experience from him. Would I encourage this to happen more often in the future? Fuck YES I would – this is the kind of flow and artistic courage that stands out for all the right reasons…Gentry’s giving a fearless performance on this cut that embraces his license to go any damn direction he wants to with his art & music. Why choose just one when you can prove you can capably kick all the ass on a whole range of styles right? “Hindsight” is all that & a bag of chips yo…absolutely one of my favorite cuts on this album, full-stop.
I’m such a huge fan of spoken-word to begin with that Fox basically had me at hello with the way “Okay” starts – and once again, the man has found another truly exceptional vibe to support him with the distant sound of guitars and crystalline atmospherics sparkling quietly in the background as the song plays on. Not only that, but the subject matter is so boldly serious from the moment this song starts that you can’t help but pay attention – it sounds URGENT…and for many of us, the messages at the core of this cut genuinely are. “Okay” is a reminder that “at the end of the day it’ll be okay” – and he ain’t wrong homies, so listen up! Fox ain’t afraid to get gritty with the details on what tends to set us back, but at the end of the day, he’s up on his positivity soapbox here & doin’ his level best to comfort the rest of us while also convincing himself of the same things in the process. You get the whole range of his inner thoughts, and the frantic nature of the chorus is supremely effective…it’s got that sense of urgency I was referring to…like a desperate plea for things to be as “Okay” as we hope they can be. A lot of the lyricism you’ll find is exactly what drives this record…it’s more or less laid out right here on this track, and as a SUPREME bonus, Gentry gives you a glimpse of the powerful effect this track has already had out there in the world on one listener via a recorded message that comes in at the end. “Okay” is the cut you likely didn’t know ya really needed until you heard it…but once you have a chance to listen, it’s pretty much impossible not to feel the sentiment of what Fox is sayin’ here and the reason WHY he’s sayin’ it. I think the inclusion of the answering machine message on top was nothing short of brilliant; it’s an example of the exact reasons WHY Gentry got into this music thang in the first place, and full proof that he’s never forgotten what it is that brought him here…the ability to move hearts & minds, and create entertainment that connects to listeners on multiple levels from downtime to party-mode.
Again, on a musical level…in terms of style/sound…I think that’s where you’ve gotta give Fox major credit for the differences you’ll find in this record as opposed to some of his others. If I’ve been critical at all of the man in the past, it was all in effort to encourage the diversity & versatility he was always capable of – and I felt like this album really put that on display like he made it all a giant priority. As rappers, or even as singers, everyone tends to lock-in to a similar style of what works for them best – which of course, can be a good thing in playing to your strengths – but when listeners are checking out a record, they’re seeking out an album like The View From Nowhere that offers multiple dimensions of sound, and keeps you fully engaged through a whole palette of colorful ideas in the mix. Listening to the music on “Someday” has me appreciating that noticeable shift towards a more diverse lineup of cuts, and much more versatility in how Fox approaches the bars when it comes to his rappin’ – it makes a massive difference! You’ll notice how much effort has been put into the details and how he’s not just bringing a similar cadence, pace, and flow to every cut…that’s never really been him to begin with, but it’s even less so now on The View From Nowhere – this album has the versatility and skill you’re craving. I’ll say this when it comes to the cut overall though…it’s just riding the edge of how I felt towards “Outlier” earlier. I think the music is ultimately too awesome to pass on, the main verses & bars are perfection as well…as for the main hook/finale of “Someday,” I dunno homies…that might be where you question whether or not it reached the max potential it had from the original vision of how it was gonna turn out. My gut tells me that he’s just a bit wide of the mark…and unfortunately for Fantastic Mr. Fox – it’s only because of the high-standards that HE has personally set along the way that we might notice at all. So blame him homies, not me! The guest appearance from Fierce is exactly that – fuckin Fierce; and probably going to be the highlight when it comes to this particular track for listeners out there. I never end up having an issue with the bars on Gentry’s cuts in their finished state outside of the demo stages, and he’s as reliable as ever on “Someday” when it comes to the verses…the chorus gets away from him here, but I certainly wouldn’t discourage any attempts from this in the future. Fox has the chops – he just needs to be as objective as possible & hear what we hear in terms of what tones won’t push us away…he’s got a few of those in the hooks of “Someday” that could have been avoided. As for the rolling of the Rs as he’s singing it…yeah…I’m gonna declare that another bizarre choice homie, but ya know I still got love. I respect that Gentry tries new things record to record, I think that’s important.
Again…when things are right, they’re right – and a track like “Made” proves that theory correct instantly. Much like “Real” earlier on in terms of just how easy it is to get into & how ultra-accessible the sound & vibes are – “Made” is one of those cuts that can serve ya as personal inspiration & fuel towards your own better tomorrows. Fox rights the course, spits his history with confidence, brings up the energy, and gets this record moving towards a strong finish with “Made.” “Started in the basement,” as he’ll tell ya – and the man’s now rockin’ a full studio that would make anyone out there jealous, believe me, I’ve seen it when he’s been streamin’ online…I might just have to move in there – need a roommate bro? There’s a point to it all though…”Made” is an authentically celebratory cut that reflects on how much effort this guy has been putting in from day one to get to where he is now. Feeling like he’s now justifiably “Made” it and able to confidently call himself a career musician/artist/rapper/producer/multi-talent – I mean…fuck, that stuff MATTERS in life people – and it’ll lead him to his best work over these next years to come. Validation, confirmation…these are powerful assets to have in your arsenal – and at this point in his career, especially with a record as tight as this one has been overall with sixteen freakin’ cuts on it – Fox has no more reasons to doubt himself & what he’s capable of. From here on in, this guy should be crusin’ along into the future at high-speed, bong in hand, middle finger up on the other as always, and ready to free himself of the worries of the past, knowing he’s got a secure fan-base from all corners of the globe tuning in to check out what he does next. So yes y’all – he has in fact, “Made” it.
Gentry has taken us all from “Nowhere” to “Somewhere” throughout the course of this record, and I’d suspect if you asked the man behind the music, he’d tell ya that’s equally as much of a metaphorical reflection of the journey he’s been on in life itself, and an indication of the future still in front of him. I feel much similar towards “Somewhere” as I did towards “Forget” earlier on – and I’d probably advise Gentry to take a close-up listen as to what it is about the looseness in these tunes that tends to connect, as opposed to the more jarring effect you might find in the combination of harmonies & vocals on cuts like “Outlier” and “Someday.” Because there’s a reason there’s a distinguishable difference, and there’s always an acceptable degree of looseness versus what we need as listeners to tell our ears everything has the effort it deserves. That being said, I think that effect takes a minute or two to kick in…Gentry’s on shaky ground as this last cut begins…it’s not until around the ninety-second mark that the charm factor starts to take hold through the harmonies. So truthfully, upon lengthy examination, it’s “in the middle of somewhere” between what works on “Forget” and what doesn’t on “Outlier” and “Someday” – and outside of the main rhythm loops, he’s made a couple of bizarre choices as well. The guitar at the heart of the melody is absolutely gorgeous with its soulful tones and mesmerizing pace…but the rest surrounding it struggles to maintain a solid fit that keeps us from committing to being fully onboard. Like…nine-seconds in for example, when that second layer of guitar chimes in…immediately off the bat, he creates a questionable moment in that combination of sound…and I’m not so sure that “Somewhere” manages to fully recover from that. Musically, I felt like it still generates enough interest, I think that the background vocals are sheer perfection – and I ain’t gonna lie, some of those harmonies are absolutely AWESOME…it’s just a tad too loose to quite make the grade so much of this album has achieved…but Gentry’s made it real hard to complain when he’s gotten so much right with The View From Nowhere. What he has done, undeniably from beginning to end throughout this record, is provide audible proof that he’s got everything it takes to go “Somewhere” even more incredible in the future to follow, and that he’s continued to evolve as an artist, producer, entertainer, and songwriter at a superhuman rate.
Find out more about Gentry Fox from his official pages below!
Official Website: http://www.gentryfox.com
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