HidNTrackz – Industry Standard – Album Review
Been a minute or two since we last heard from HidNTrackz – it’s about time! We last checked his music back in the first-half of 2016…and now he’s here with the Industry Standard for ya. After all this time? JUST the standard, for real? He’s being humble homies, I assure you – he brings much more to the mic than most emcees out there and proves that correct with a solid line-up of thirteen cuts on his brand-new Hip Hop record. Good to have the man back in action, he’s a born entertainer.
Plus he’s got a genuine love & respect for REAL Hip-Hop…the kind that allows an artist like HidNTrackz to roam through a versatile palette of sounds that display an authentic love of the game. “WORKFLOW (Intro)” pumps out a massive vibe…metaphorically representing that break-out sound of an emcee shedding the 9-5 and coming into his own as an artist. Puttin’ the passion forth immediately, you can hear the determination in HidNTrackz from moment one and he continues to turn up the heat from there, bar after bar. It’s the impact you wanna make in that comeback…I mean, I’ve been givin’ him a hard time about the length of time it’s been, but for real, it’s only been three years and you can hear the evolution in him as he confidently strolls through “WORKFLOW (Intro)” and starts his new record right.
Bringing in the posse to collaborate on “Hip Hop,” vocalist Dee Payne and guitarist Ben Trexel show up for the first time of two appearances for both of these featured guests on Industry Standard. HidNTrackz puts major personality & character into the mic on his bars throughout this cut – moments like these that show up throughout the record reveal the star quality the man truly has. With precision movements, style, and swagger you can hear from the lefts to the rights, background to lead, “Hip Hop” celebrates what Hip Hop is about with no limitations or pressure to conform to whatever else is out there. Face facts – it’s not often you find Hip Hop with a soulful guitar-solo in the mix right? It’s one of several ways that HidNTrackz pushes the boundaries to a wider accessibility & potential in his material. “Hip Hop” celebrates the art of the wordsmith on a couple levels…lyrically for sure, HidNTrackz always has something interesting to say to us, but also in how much of a role the words play in the melody & movement. Have a real close listen to the music – it’s minimalist as it gets pretty much, leaving it up to the main man on the mic to make the magic happens, and I think he does an exceptional job of using a maximum amount of space to his advantage in this collabo with Dee Payne & Ben Trexel in the mix.
Just looking for the “Money & Power” you know? Aren’t we all? The main star of the show switches up the expectations and goes in the opposite direction, creating a really grounded & realistic cut that speaks truth instead of just another flashy cut about making paper-stacks like so many emcees tend to do. Instead, HidNTrackz embraces that real Hip Hop spirit once again by choosing to use the mic in an effort to inform, educate, and create awareness, personal enlightenment, and ultimately, change. Gripping in its subtle intensity, you dig right into the narrative he’s spittin’ on this cut and take the story right in…I think it’ll give a lot of people some added insight into what HidNTrackz is all about fundamentally. I’m also assuming he’ll get this trimmed up for the official release of the record, he’s got about a minute of silence at the end of “Money & Power.” Just giving the man a hard time for no reason, I know there’s still a few more changes to come before the record comes out and besides, it gives me a few seconds of clarity to type, so I’m cool with the extra space to think…for now. Without a doubt some of my favorite lyrics on the new record, “Money & Power” also has a killer mix with BIG sound comin’ at ya and hooks in the chorus that deliver. You’ll hear in the innovative flow of HidNTrackz that he’s got that modern-day poet approach – he’ll get across what he wants to say plenty clear, believe that, but he’ll also do it all with tangible style.
“Let’s Go” flashes an instantly appealing sound. HidNTrackz really digs on those bright & colorful hooks for the chorus, and I’d argue he’s found a perfect atmosphere to bring that sweetness in their harmony to the surface on this cut. The contrast in energy between the laid-back approach to the chorus and the wildness he brings to the m-i-c in the verse works brilliantly…as HidNTrackz transitions between each of the song’s main parts, each of those moments makes a noticeable impact. And just like you’re listening to your favorite part of the song continually one-up itself from beginning to end, “Let’s Go” gives your ears that pure entertainment & uplifting sound that completely connects. Loved the vibe & sound of the music he’s working with on this cut and it felt like there couldn’t have been a thing more you could have asked of the song’s main star in terms of performance. He’s got the spirit, energy, and enthusiasm on “Let’s Go” that naturally draws us in to listen; initially it was the impressive bars of the verses that pulled me in personally, but the more I turned this track up, the more I really started to dig on the colorful harmonies and chill approach to the chorus hooks as well. Bottom line is, HidNTrackz has created a single-worthy cut with this one for sure, just as appealing for its attitude, mood, and overall vibe as it is for his performance on the m-i-c and excellent sound of the music along with it.
A track like “Do What You Do” featuring Michael Young is a perfect example of just how much a record like this might be called the Industry Standard, it’s evolved far beyond what that title might imply. This is a pure example of HidNTrackz opening up the doors for his music even further, adding savage amounts of crossover potential to the sound and challenging himself as an artist – respect! He comes out with a massive win on “Do What You Do,” no doubt about it…and once again, I bet it comes within a style & sound of music you might not expect. A massively successful hybrid experience, the first kick-in to the rock-inspired sound of the chorus is enormously powerful; switching between the playful approach & sound of the Hip Hop verses into the bold guitars and singing…seriously, it’s extremely badass & gripping to listen to. I’m not entirely sure that Michael Young is the infamous Michael Young aka ‘The Subway Singer’ discovered on America’s Got Talent…but I’m thinking it’s definitely possible it is. In either event, the soulful sound of the chorus really does hit home spot-on, and overall, it allows a track like “Do What You Do” to do something decidedly different with the music of Industry Standard. There’s an uplifting & inviting sound to the bars & vibe in the sweet guitar hooks playing along with HidNTrackz, and Young completely hits a home-run in amongst massive drums and giant guitars playing.
Taking you into the back-alley to verbally beat on ya, “Bisssh Be Gone” comes out sounding large & in-charge…HidNTrackz is solo on the mic here on this cut but it sounds like he’s got an entire army of lyrical thugs alongside him, ready to drop bars on fools in a full-on confrontation that might just get LOUD yo. And that’s if you’re LUCKY anyhow…HidNTrackz clearly don’t have time for fools, you’ll be fortunate to escape a “Bisssh Be Gone” in you try to enter his spot at the club if he spends any time on you at all, you dig? Point is, he’s bringing extra attitude into the mix on “Bisssh Be Gone,” stylistic & slick through his delivery but ultra-sharp when it comes to the direction of his lyrics. In a way, there’s a more lighthearted feel through this savage set of lyrics even though their more pointed towards the intended victims, but I think you can hear HidNTrackz having a bit more fun in the thick of this vibe as well. Ultimately, this cut’s about fake ladies and hangers-on, those people that think they know something about someone from social media without having a clue as to what makes someone really tick. HidNTrackz has really used background vocals to his advantage to supply punch, personality, and emphasis in all the right spots – “Bisssh Be Gone” is another solid example of what happens when this emcee turns up the mischief & mayhem just a lil’ bit more.
“The real McCoy” breaks out bars and makes an impact with his precision & movements on “BENT” – HidNTrackz creates a massive club cut that hits the mark spot-on here. The ice-like sound hanging suspended in the atmosphere is extremely relevant for the right here & now – he represents where he’s from on “BENT” while he turns the party-mode up to the extreme in the intensity of the chorus hooks. The gigantic synth-sounds that turn up for the biggest moments of “BENT” also deserve a massive shout-out – that’s a moment to remember and one you can truly feel, right from the moment you hear them show up immediately in the intro, to the next time they come in to dominate the vibe on the way into the second minute with the chorus hooks. Strong enough to make “BENT” the buzzword of the year, HidNTrackz flexes verbal finesse and crafts his words perfectly on this cut – representing his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama front & center. Not much else can be said other than to point out the obvious, HidNTrackz completely dominates this cut and lights up “BENT” with flash, flair, and innovative flow, working with a highly enticing beat and atmosphere designed perfectly to make a huge impact. No doubt about the single-worthy potential of this song and the fact that DJs in clubs worldwide will want to start adding this to their set & remixing it up…definitely a chance for this song to lead many lives – I’d be shopping this one around out there in the scene for sure homie.
Things get dark for a minute here on “Last Breath” – damn homie! But man, this works BIG TIME. The smart mix on the vocals makes HidNTrackz sound like he’s six feet under or like it’s the sound of the voice that he hears in his own mind…it’s an extremely smart move that is highly effective in pulling us in to listen here. The shouts of “I can’t breathe” break through with more clarity, stressing that urgency in that feeling…I mean, this is a next-level track when it comes down to the focus HidNTrackz is putting into this cut from the theme & concept to the execution. Continually a highlight on this record no matter how many times I spun it, “Last Breath” shows a mastery of atmosphere, mood, and understand the vibe of the music – he’s let the sound of this song dictate where it brought him to on a lyrical level, and that’s always the smartest of moves. The atmosphere on this track damn near suffocates you…on those first couple listens, you pretty much hold your own breath while you’re listening to all the Halloween stuffed into this tune…but it’s feelings like this that are so real that reveal the magic of HidNTrackz at his maximum creativity. Not only do you get consistently killer bars on the m-i-c, he’s created an entire atmosphere that’ll cling to your bones long after you’ve moved on to the next song.
“Eyez On The Hustle” brings the sound of Industry Standard closer towards that free-spirited & gritty-but-inspiring style that Common does so well. “You gotta live your life like you already did” is a freakin’ brilliant line and lyric in this song…wise words from a respectable mind that knows the next-level he’s seeking out is always one he can achieve. There’s a bit of looseness you can hear in the vocal hooks of this cut that work for the style, but does somewhat contrast the tightness of the album in contrast to what we’ve heard so far. Idea-wise, “Eyez On The Hustle” is still a quality tune – the biggest asset to the song is the expression in HidNTrackz’s voice – he’s right up in your grill here and shouting out to the world with everything he’s got here & ya gotta respect the passion he’s spittin’ with. There’s no doubt it’s a solid cut…I think placement on the record gives this tune a potential disadvantage with “Last Breath” and “Gotta Get It Raw” being noticeable highlights on Industry Standard surrounding it.
When he gets real serious, I tell ya, HidNTrackz reveals what a powerful force he can be on the mic. LISTEN to “Gotta Get It Raw” – he’s spittin’ as direct and confident as a true star can, this is where you hear that X-factor you’re looking for in his personality. The intensity in each word is off the charts in the scale of its impact…this is a stunning example of the main man at his wildest extreme & still being able to maintain that professional control. You can hear it’s right at the threshold, but you can also hear it’s designed to be over-the-top in that sense…HidNTrackz is comin’ straight AT YOU with his words on “Gotta Get It Raw” and it’s supposed to sound as in-your-face as can be done. Mission accomplished. The hooks he’s created for the chorus are beyond next-level – that’s as powerful & unique as it gets – and the verses? C’mon now – HidNTrackz hasn’t let a single second of this track go to waste, “Gotta Get It Raw” is one of my favorite performances on this record, full-stop. In terms of its own vibe, mood, and sound, the differences in direction on this track have led HidNTrackz down all the right paths – not only is it remarkably balanced in between strengths and parts of the song as it flows, but it’s memorably unique from the rest of the sounds you’ll hear in the lineup of solid cuts throughout Industry Standard. Something about this track…right from the moment with the vocal samples and first bars from HidNTrackz on the way in…you can just tell this track is going to come out as killer as it truly does.
I don’t think there’s a set of ears out there that could deny how much of a bright highlight “Goooad Dayum Oh Yeah” is on this album. HidNTrackz has created an incredibly well-balanced record as he shifts through darker & lighter gears without having that effect becoming jarring – it’s the complete opposite, he’s got this laid out extremely well in a way that flows impressively naturally, no matter how different the track before the next might be. You were wondering if the man had bars though? Listen to this cut – he’ll go on a run of wordplay that has him sounding in shape enough to be in the verbal Olympics. And notice he’s still got more than enough time to add in his genuine personality – that’s what’s making the difference here for HidNTrackz; it’s one thing to spit bars quickly, but it’s truly another to be able to give them the spark they need to reach the potential in the writing – once again, this highly-capable emcee delivers and makes these lyrics spring to life with personality through the speakers. Real Hip Hop lovers need apply here, “Goooad Dayum” is brilliant start to finish and a whole lot of fun to listen to in the process as HidNTracks unleashes some of his quickest & slickest flow that you’ll find on Industry Standard – combined with the melodic atmosphere, low-end bounce, and bright horn sounds, there’s personality dripping from the mic to the music on this track that ya gotta love.
“HIP Rock Hop” brings Ben Trexel back into the mix towards the end of the album, amping-up the juice in this crossover sound that HidNTrackz has got goin’ on here. As far as I know, Ben’s a producer based out of their shared hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, and from what I can hear & see online, the dude can certainly play a guitar, no doubt. Ben gets more of an opportunity to play a starring role on “HIP Rock Hop,” which overall, is much more of an attempt at a Hip Hop-Rock combo than you’ve probably heard. Let me clarify here…we’re not talking about Rap-Rock, you feel me? Confusing I know. Let me put it this way, Rap-Rock is a dime a dozen – “HIP Rock Hop” is a whole separate thing and HidNTrackz displays that difference audibly in this hybrid blend of two music styles in one. The main aspect in the difference in the positive vibe and more freedom in the flow…kind of like what you’d imagine a friendly version of BodyCount might sound like. HidNTrackz has “got the juice” on this cut without question – he sounds intense and inspired, hittin’ his bars like a pure pro on “HIP Rock Hop.” Ben Trexel gives you a solid taste of what it sounds like when a featured guest really takes hold of their moment in his solos towards the end of the tune, owning the spotlight with confident, cool, and extremely capable musicianship.
Delicately reflecting on life & love on the final track “Blessing” featuring Dee Payne for his second appearance on this record, HidNTrackz exits Industry Standard on sweetened, dreamy tones. Major shout-out & credit to Dee Payne for laying down incredible smoothness in the chorus hooks and the atmospheric backing vocals in behind the verses to keep that melodic vibe on-high – definitely another real strong collaboration between these two artists & I love the gentleness in the music supporting them at every twist & turn. Moments like the free-style feeling you get in the final minute came out really strong, even if they’re ultimately rehearsed, it all feels incredibly in the moment on “Blessing” and present, like they’re right there with ya in the same room as you listen. If you listen real close, you’ll hear HidNTrackz dive deep into the personal throughout the lyrics & words of “Blessing” – and you’ll find it becomes a really clever tune that captures heartbreak & joy as one. Smart use of the piano, beat, and really light instrumentation like sweetened guitar notes, these choices lead the vocals to stellar results with the choice of sound in the mix from the lead to the background. Once again revisiting the theme that started the record, that blossoming of an artist’s evolution and jailbreak from the corporate 9-5, HidNTrackz ends his new album on pillowy sweet sounds and real talk on “Blessing.” Overall, he’s created a really strong album on Industry Standard that shows his time away has been time well spent in crafting a series of tunes that reveal a whole lot of spirit, heart, respect for Hip Hop, and undeniable passion for creating it.
Find out more about HidNTrackz from his official page at: https://www.hidntrackzmusic.com
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