HidNTrackz – The Misconceptions Of Me – Album Review
Been looking forward to hearing how this would turn out for a while now…HidNTrackz has been brewing this monster epic of an album for about a year or longer by this point. The Misconceptions Of Me was reviewed here on our pages way-back-when, in EP form at that time with 5 of the songs you’ll hear popping up again on this full-album. We enjoyed our time on those first samples of what this highly-capable MC was able to toss our way without giving away all the secrets to the sauce he’d be laying on thick throughout the entire concepts driving the full-release to come. As per usual, I had some pointers and recommendations I tossed against the wall to see what might stick with HidNTrackz…it’s always nice to make an impact on an artist and help them find their way onto the right path. Does that mean this cat took my advice and changed everything up to suit this one set of ears all the way over here in Canada? HELL NO! Nor should he be. And that’s all good homies…you do you…I’ll continue to do me.
Besides…as far as I can tell, I’m still listening to an advance copy…maybe there are still changes to come, maybe not…what I can tell you for certain, is that he’s taking a slight risk with putting all five of the tracks from the EP up front in the first eight songs of the full-album. People are always looking for what’s new – and to keep the beginning of this record so similar to what we already know is definitely taking a risk…but then again, so is putting nineteen tracks and a bonus-cut to make twenty on an album too. Name me your favorite album with twenty-cuts and not an inch of filler and I’ll show you a record the world has yet to see or hear exist. That’s a mountain of ambition to climb…I admire the pursuit, but this is going to be undeniably tough to pull off.
All that being said – I’ve been a big fan of the energy and enthusiasm you can hear in HidNTrackz as he rhymes since I first heard it. He starts The Misconceptions Of Me with a brand-new cut called “Mastermind” that opens-up this entire album in a freakin’ fantastic way. The beat on this one is excellent, the strings that fuel the sample sound incredible and the low-end bass is mixed-in perfectly. With layers of vocals drifting in and out of the lead-rhyme, the production and flow quickly become inviting to this new part of the HidNTracks story and adventure.
I said it would be tough to pull off twenty-tracks…and seeing the problematic “Blown Away” that I slightly struggled with on the EP coming back so early on in this record still concerns me. The dissonant tones of the hook are still there…and I’m pretty sure we’ve got the same version as we had on the EP. I’ll cut this dissection short – because you’ve already heard what I had to say regarding all this…I’m not hearing an update on this track and fully believe that what’s already been said still stands. So not only is he taking a risk by putting the EP’s tracks at the beginning of the record…he’s still taking a massive chance on this cut in my opinion.
But thankfully…if I remember correctly…most of my issues surrounding the EP were surrounding this one track…the rest came out bangin’ – and I was stoked to see tracks like “I Want U (Feat. Lenny J & Ben Trexel)” come back. A clear winner with a bright hook and solid set of rhymes driving this cut – I’m still just as happy as I was with it when I heard it for the first time. Definitely a radio-ready hit song. It shifts into a new gear with the modern-day sound you’ll hear on “Higher (Feat. Ben Trexel)” and some auto-tuned-up rhymes that keep the album hustling forward with a clear identity of much familiarity; even though it’s a brand-new track, it’s definitely akin to what’s out there right now and a set of sounds that would definitely pull in fans of the new-school for sure. I still kinda prefer HidNTrackz when he’s hittin’ it old-school, like on a track like “B.A.B.Y. (Remix Feat. Aubrey Bickerstaff, Ben Trexel and Sebastion Kole).” He’s definitely got a great sense of how to write something with bright-dynamics…and in this updated version, this new remix…I think he’s found a way to make a great song even greater. Absolutely a light & positive tone to the beat, rhythm & flow that people will respond to without hesitation – “B.A.B.Y. (Remix)” is a clever-cut that mixes old-school Hip-Hop with R&B in all the right ways that the people love.
Some of my favorite lyrics and the way the words meet the music are on “Love Affair (Feat. V)” – this song is a solid concept from idea to its realization and HidNTrackz keeps this one flowing solid with a mix of subtle innuendo and direct-to-the-point lyrics. Another track that stood out solidly on the EP from our first experience that provides strength here early on in its second-life on the full-record before we head into a new track that switches-up the vibe towards a more pensive & thought-provoking atmosphere through the lyrics and beat of “Stranger (Feat. Ben Trexel, Willie Reynolds & Jasmine something-I-can’t-read-cause-it-don’t-fit-on-the-page-no-matter-how-resize-it)” It’s a much more melancholy and serious sound than we’ve experienced so far with HidNTrackz – but one that definitely works well. The collaborators all give strength to the song and solid performances…though I’m not sure if he’s just out to make us reviewers out there write a hell of a lot more words on the page with all these names assisting him along the way…I’m guessing he figured there’s ONLY TWENTY tracks to discuss…why not make sure we all write just a little bit more right?
He knows my attitude well enough to know I’m just giving him a hard time here…if the quality of “Stranger” is what we’ll get when he’s got all these other cooks in the kitchen mixin’ it up – all the extra typing required is definitely worth the effort. It moves from here to “Yesterday” – the final cut from the aforementioned EP release and still an excellent cut with a wicked beat to it. It sounded like there might have been a slight-remix to it…so I checked out the original from the EP…still not sure. To me, it sounded like the backing hype-vocals came out a little louder on this full album’s version… In any event, HidNTrackz demonstrates a solid-grip on the microphone in this cut through the verse; listening to it now, I’d probably bring down those backing vocals a little, potentially a lot as they shrink the music a little overall – and this is a HUGE beat that deserves to be played at its full potential. I might be listening to this on a better set of speakers post-moving to Ottawa, Ontario…I’m thinking I might have missed commenting on that the first time hearing this track, or again, it might be a slight update in the production that makes these backing vocals overtake the mix…not entirely sure to tell you the truth!
I might feel worse about saying all that about “Yesterday” if it wasn’t for him telling me to fuck myself, along with all of you out there as well in the following-cut “M.F.U.” – but now I just feel like we’re keeping score. Holding nothing back…HidNTrackz is undeniably getting a little-bit off his chest on “M.F.U.” – just a lil’ bit! Admittedly…it’s a little bit of a strange track to start off the rest of the record, which is entirely brand-new to all of us from this point on. I’d say it sounds inviting…if it was! “M.F.U.” is all about the attack…a clear response to the indifference of how many people listen to, or don’t listen to, his music. There’s much more to it than that…it’s also calling out MC’s pretty much worldwide for not bringing their A-game. No harm in that right? HidNTrackz might just wanna stay strapped at this point when leaving the house! But then again…listening to the additional snarl and grind of this dank & dark beat & lyrics…you might just not want to approach him unless you’re ready to bust a couple o’ caps yourself…just sayin’!
HidNTrackz lets his guard down a bit – just don’t mistake that for goin’ soft…he’s still keepin’ it hard, just lightens-up a little bit…at least by comparison to where he was coming at us all from on “M.F.U.” on “Golden Gates (Feat. Michael Young).” One of the strongest brand-new tracks on the record, this track has incredibly dramatic vibes that run deep throughout this cut. A great song from concept to performance – this idea is fully-developed and explored as HidNTrackz reflects on what life’s all about on “Golden Gates” and whether or not he’ll be able to fit all his ambitions and goals in before finally reaching the end.
Finding smoother and further lightened-up tones on “How We Gonna Make It (Feat. Mecia)” – the man himself never lets up…his flow continues on strongly and his rhymes always possess a real beef you can hear. There’s a chip on HidNTrackz’s shoulders…and for whatever reason…that never seems to really ever go away. Guest star Mecia makes a noteworthy appearance here and really brings this cut together as it should be…she sounds fantastic on “How We Gonna Make It” and really lends a supreme R&B smoothness to the overall atmosphere in this track. Definitely a combination of talent that was worth exploring…and you’ll be happy to know that he has – Mecia will show up again in another fantastic turn on the mic & vocals later on in “One In A Million (Feat. Mecia and Angel Elliott)” in a second collaboration that showcases her beautiful voice and precision talent.
Before we hit that, we roam into the sparkle & shine of “Soundtrack Of My Future (Feat. Willie Reynolds)” as HidNTrackz once again finds himself reflecting on the personal issues surrounding him in life and what the future may hold. A really unique beat here on this song…samples all coordinating and thumping along…and I mean hey, if you ain’t riding the bus or an airplane today sitting next to a crying baby – have no fear – HidNTrackz has got you covered with one of EVERYBODY’s favorite sounds to hear mixed right into this one for ya. Considerate of him right? Who doesn’t love that? #Iaintgotsnokidsforareasonyo
Overall…I can’t complain too much…he doesn’t overplay his hand here and keeps it all on-point and on-beat without the baby ripping it up on the mic too much. He’ll take it a step further into the extremely personal with “One In A Million (Feat. Mecia and Angel Elliott)” – another one of the album’s strongest tunes/heartfelt apology to his mom. It’s hard to rip on something so honest & personal…but the music will always speak for itself; he’s got a great set of lyrics in the verse and a chorus that might not nearly match its strength, but at least lays it all out there straight-ahead for the point to be driven home solidly. Mecia makes another fantastic appearance along with newcomer to the album Angel Elliott – the backing vocals really provide a huge amount of depth to the music and leaves us all with little doubt about the strength of a track like this when it’s all said & done. It takes courage to put a track about your mom on the same record as a track that tells us all to go fuck ourselves only moments before. Can’t deny that!
A chorus that’s repetitive nature is something you’ll often find in Hip-Hop & Rap music…there’s no genre out there really that’s not guilty of this somewhere along the lines. You can look at it a couple ways…you can view it as something that shouts out the main-points of a track…you might view it like I do when you hear it in comparison to the incredible verses that HidNTrackz writes and feel like the ball is slightly dropped a bit, maybe a little lazy when you’re examining them both. What I can tell you doesn’t help…is having three tracks back-to-back-to-back that attack their hook in the same style, which is what you’ll find between the combination of “One In A Million,” “Mars Is Calling” and “Black Power (Feat. Charlie Prince)” coming one after the other. It really highlights a section of songs that I felt might have been a lot stronger if they had a chorus that matched the power of each verse…because notably, all three of these tracks are seriously strong cuts otherwise. “Mars Is Calling” is definitely a track I felt I could relate to with all its green-friendly references and has a perfect otherworldly-atmosphere to it…and “Black Power” is full of serious knowledge that I can’t help but appreciate. This might have been a great point in the album that reinforces what I’d outlined earlier about putting all the tracks we knew from the EP up front on the record – one or two of them right in the middle of these three cuts in the mid-point of the second-half might have served The Misconceptions Of Me extremely well to help break up the noticeable repetition used in each chorus.
Because as much as I might like ANY of these three cuts…and I do, I like them all…I also can’t deny that “The Fame (Feat. Ben Trexel)” comes out sounding tighter, more versatile and stronger overall by comparison. Really dig the music and complexity of the mix on “The Fame” – I think this track is a real achievement on this record. Big beats…dynamic synth tones…and the production on the vocals both lead and backing sound fantastic. It all moves along with the cautious care that should be taken when heading towards a life of celebrity but most often isn’t. Great atmosphere on “The Fame.”
I’ll say this…I’ve spent a lot of time listening to HidNTrackz at this point…and even here on the 17th track, I can still vouch for the entertainment factor. Whether it’s been my favorite track or not…the album has never made me bored or want to switch it up to something else…and that in itself on a long record is an achievement. The Misconceptions Of Me will quite often keep you guessing as to what might come next, and that’s a solid-nod towards the versatility you’ll find in the music on this album. “When You See Me (Feat Lenny J & Willie Reynolds)” is definitely one of the most different & unique cuts on the record. Music has got itself some horns going on to form the base of the melody here…and overall the song has a real jazzy-nature to it that hasn’t been explored before on the record. Definitely makes you appreciate what these assists from the HidNTrackz crew of all-stars brings to the table on the record with so many styles & sounds brought in to create a whole bunch (like, approx. TWENTY) of different collaborations keeping the entertainment-factor up.
A huge shout-out to his city on “Birmingham (Pop That) Feat. Ben Trexel” – a track that takes the low-end for a ride & glide…it’s a solid track…I’m sure it’s even more solid if you’re living there! That being said – you’ll definitely get a large dose of HidNTrackz lyrical-skills on this cut…some of the best lines are featured on this cut and the music is again, some of the most diverse you’ll hear on the record. There’s an excellent guitar-solo that comes creeping in slowly at the end that sounds freakin’ fantastic as it takes the song to the end. The man himself will keep shouting out “Birmingham” on his way into the final track “Never Let A Hater Stop You (Feat. Ben Trexel)” as it begins. Great song to end the official version of The Misconceptions Of Me – excellent music on this song and the layers of strength in the vocals make it sound like a superhero-anthem. But ain’t that just what this guy is?
“Roll Wit Me (Feat Willie Reynolds)” is the hidden track on the record to make up the final of twenty-tracks on the record. I would dig this as an ending overall…though I suppose there’s no harm in letting it surprise people as a bonus-cut – HidNTrackz has been all about the surprises so far, so why not right? There’s a looseness to the flow of the verse in this final-cut in the chorus that has a hazy-yet-addicting sound to it…and it’s also arguably one of the best performances you’ll hear from frequent guest-star Willie Reynolds, who really lets the vocals come out soaring on this bonus-track, especially at the end.
And here we are, twenty-tracks and several spins later…I feel like it all came out pretty damn-well even with a mountain-sized ambition that would have proved to be tougher than most emcees would ever dream of taking on. HidNTrackz definitely isn’t afraid to get personal and give everything he’s got to his performances and they echo that confidence as a result on The Misconceptions Of Me. At the very least – it should set the record straight for anyone out there that does have some sort of misconception of him…and after more than a year in the making, there’s gotta be a rewarding feeling and tremendous sense of accomplishment in finally get these songs out as he’s always wanted to, in full-album form!
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