Mr Streetz – Wins & Bosses – Album Review
I practically had to do a double-take in looking at the pages of Mr Streetz online. Was all this music really created over the course of a single year? That’s inspiring to say the least brother. According to his bio online, and the releases you see out there on the internet so far, he’s still on the inside of his debut 365! Trust me when I tell ya, you’ll be more than impressed with how much music he’s already dropped online…and I just happen to have a copy of his newest record, Wins & Bosses, coming out February 24th.
Anyhow. As the story goes, he’s traveled the world, and settled on Rap being his jam. Based out of London in the UK, I can vouch for that being a good idea – the man’s got skill and he sounds determined AF when he’s spittin’ bars. Right off the drop as the title-track begins, you can feel the venom in the way he raps for sure, but you can also feel that level of seriousness, dedication, and commitment that it truly takes to compete with the big dogs out there in the game, you know? I ain’t gonna lie to ya – the man makes a savage first impression, and “Wins & Bosses” probably wouldn’t even be in my top-five on this new record of his. No doubt that it’s a solid track from start to finish, and I dig the epic nature of the beat & music he’s using along with him…there are a ton of positives about the larger-than-life approach he’s taken to the beginning of this record – I’m simply saying Mr Streetz’s got a whole lot more in-store.
For example…there certainly ain’t no shame in collaborating with one of the very best to ever DO IT as you make your way into the spotlight, which is exactly what Mr Streetz has done for the second track by enlisting the legendary skills of Sticky Fingaz on “Trust Nobody.” It’s more than a good idea – it’s a great way to add a bit of genuine street cred to the lineup with a heavy hitter whose name everyone that’s ever been listening to real Rap knows full-well. Sticky Fingaz was born to spit bars…and having him as a guest in this lineup was a smart move to get this whole album flowing in the right direction, and so too the song itself – the opening to “Trust Nobody” is nothing short of brilliant. If I’m being entirely real with ya…the handoff needed a bit of work – Sticky Fingaz holds it down as you knew that he would, but it’s in that passing of the mic that you can hear Mr Streetz still needs a bit of evolution to his own game. Which is natural…I mean…again, let’s be real here – the dude’s only been releasing music professionally for a year – it’d be straight-up WEIRD to not hear some kind of spot along the way that didn’t need a little bit of sharpening up somehow. As far as the bars go, Mr Streetz has absolutely got the talent it takes to make his mark in this industry…so pay attention to what I’ve been saying – I’m talking specifically about the moment the mic is traded from one homie to the next here, which has the main star of the show working with the hooks at the very beginning. In this particular situation, it requires a bit of singing and melody…and it’s in hearing the results in this moment that we realize that’s where Mr Streetz has the most opportunity to evolve and expand his craft for sure. He’s close to where he wants to be, but arguably a bit wide of the mark…and after the standard is set by Sticky Fingaz straight off the drop, it’s tough to not notice the hooks not quite reaching that same level. Bars are solid though…and ultimately, that’s the part that matters most – Mr Streetz holds his own down tightly when he’s rapping. The vast majority of this track is right in line where it should be, and all-in-in, it’s still a fully addictive cut.
With a rev of the engine and the squeal of some tires, “Ganglang” is off and rolling. If you’re listening close to Mr Streetz’s lyrics, you realize the man’s lived through some harsh times for sure…and he’s clearly one of the fortunate ones to recognize the mistakes he’s made in his past & now using that same stuff to fuel the present with a positive perspective on the future ahead. You can call it one of those complete 180s…he’s gone from slinging rocks to rockin’ mics instead. ”I was feared with my name on the streetz” – and now, he’s got emcees in his rearview mirror as he speeds off to a future that makes use of the skills he has & the quickness of his mind in a much more productive way. I get that Mr Streetz has seen some shit y’all…but you don’t end up rapping about what he is, in the way that he is, without having come full circle to confront the past and decide to make more of the present. I’m a huge fan of tracks like “Ganglang” that are unafraid to share what’s REAL with raw honesty – Mr Streetz has put a lot of himself into this particular song, and you get to know the man behind the microphone on this cut. As those of you that read these pages on the regular know, I think that’s one of the best ways you can go about approaching your music – put yourself in it y’all…that’s what this is all about and it’s exactly what makes for the most effective and engaging tracks. “Ganglang” is full proof of that, plus the beat is tighter than tight…Mr Streetz clearly knows what kind of sound he’s going for & executes professionally.
“Do It Up” continually surprises me…and I’m not entirely sure why. I think it’s because the design of the hook and the use of repetition doesn’t usually do it for me…but I gotta admit, every time this track comes on, I jam it loud and proud. Sometimes that’s one of the best ways to identify real talent though – when someone like Mr Streetz is able to use a method that doesn’t always make an impact with me, and yet finds success…I mean…that tells me the man’s got something significant in his arsenal of talents. I kept going back & forth about whether or not I liked the line about waiting in the cold for the bus and whether or not a single syllable less would have been to the song’s benefit in terms of metering…but at the same time, I had to acknowledge the way that it comes out now always has me paying attention, which is a good thing in the long run. I might be a fan of symmetry and smoothness when it comes right down to it, but there’s an advantage in coloring outside of the lines at times too…it’s something we notice, every time. Dude raps with conviction…that always matters to me…and when he uses melody in his words on “Do It Up,” it’s effective…plus, those hooks can’t be underestimated, they definitely work.
I dig tracks like “Lock & Stock,” where you hear the major attention to detail from the front to the back. I’ll readily concede it’s probably less accessible to the masses than the four tracks that come before it, but by that same token, if you’ve been ridin’ with Mr Streetz to this point, you’ll be stoked on what you hear. The man is lyrically tough…downright scary when he wants to be…and to the point where it’s likely going to make a few folks in the mainstream nervous just to listen. As long as you’re into that kind of verbal force and hard bars, I can’t imagine anything stoppin’ ya from digging what Mr Streetz comes up with or the savageness of a track like “Lock & Stock.” What can I say? You don’t wanna fuck around with a guy like Mr Streetz because you clearly WILL find out, know what I mean? He reminds me a bit of that dude I used to review here on these pages all the time…BIG KIDD…I had to jog my memory a little on that one, it’s been a while since we had that dude on the site, but much like I’ve never forgotten him for the sheer force he spits with, chances are, I’ll remember Mr Streetz for the exact same reasons y’all. Dude’s intense to say the least, but he’s also got a supreme level of rhythm in his bars on display here.
The lead-single from this record is called “Rags To Riches” – and Mr Streetz has made a stellar choice in choosing this track to be one of the main gateways into listening to Wins & Bosses. Don’t get me wrong, the man’s as solid on the mic as he’s been throughout this record, and that’s a wildly enticing aspect of what he creates on any given tune – sometimes the main difference between what we like and what we love comes down to the beat, the music, or the main hook of a song. In this case, it’s the latter element that seems to stand out the most – I think that Mr Streetz puts in an exceptional performance on the mic without question – but I also felt like the hooks he’s got supporting him were massively accessible. “Rags To Riches” is one of those cuts that has the ability to reach beyond the people that naturally dig what Mr Streetz creates and can pull in the folks on the fringe or on the fence…ultimately, that’s crucial. We’ve all got people in our corner that we have from day one organically – it’s tracks like “Rags To Riches” that become hugely important in order to expand the fan-base even further beyond that. “I’m a boss…” – “…shoutin’ at me is still shoutin’ me out.” #HeAintWrong! Any attention is good attention, as they say…and it’s especially true when you’re on your way up in the industry. Mr Streetz has got a lot working in his favor from the inherent skill to the stylistic swagger he adds in…he packs in a verbal punch with each & every syllable he spits, and that’s exactly what will take him from “Rags To Riches,” 100%.
Yeah…overall, from production to performance, Mr Streetz has done his part & due diligence with what he’s put into this record…and that’s really all you can do. The rest is all personal preference and what people are into, which is always beyond anyone’s control. All you can ever do is put everything you’ve got into what you create, and I’m fully convinced that Mr Streetz has done exactly that. “King Of The Streetz” is a solid example of what I’m talking about…it’s probably not going to be the track for everyone out of this set-list by comparison to the natural accessibility of many of the other cuts, but you couldn’t ask for an ounce more from the main star of the show. Mr Streetz is giving you everything he’s got, and that genuinely DOES count for a lot…conviction is a powerfully enticing tool when it comes right down to it…it’s the biggest aspect of what convinces our ears not only to listen, but to keep listening. You listen to a guy like Mr Streetz spittin’ bulletproof bars stronger than steel like he means every single word you hear come through your speakers, combine that with a dramatic vibe like you hear in the music of “King Of The Streetz,” and you’ve got the audible recipe for people to sit the fuck up straight & pay attention. Whether it’s because a song like this sounds mean enough to take your lunch money, or because of the energy, precision, and passion you’ll hear in the thick of it all…one way or the other, it’s engaging stuff.
It HAS been a lot to take in…you definitely get the idea that Mr Streetz really only knows one gear, and that’s pure intensity, at all times. So while the last thing I’d ever accuse the guy of doing is lightening-up, the fact that “Good Fella” is a bit…hmm…let’s just say less in-your-face to a degree, at least sound-wise, makes a difference in the dynamics of this record and lets us catch our breath just enough to brace ourselves and get prepared for the final quarter of the album. Lyrically, I really like what he’s got goin’ on in “Good Fella” – it might be a song that sounds less intense or fired-up, but if you’re listening closely, the words he’s spitting on this track hit much harder than the majority of the material, which is saying a LOT y’all. That being said…and at the potential cost of having a black limousine show up at my doorstep with suits ready to take me out for saying whatever it is I wanna say, exactly the way I wanna say it – I’ll admit that “Good Fella” ain’t exactly my favorite cut on this record. The bars are quality – they always are when it comes to what Mr Streetz creates though…so again, a lot of what separates the good from the great comes down to the hooks and the music, and I’d say that both of those aspects don’t quite live up to the standards set along the way. You can blame ME if you wanna…but is it my fault that Mr Streetz has put together a whole string of killer cuts that have barely gotten a complaint out of me throughout the distances of this set-list, or is it his? I’m not even tellin’ ya that “Good Fella” wouldn’t be YOUR favorite track on the record – maybe it will be! Mr Streetz doesn’t let the quality of what he does drop one iota…for me, it’s just a matter of personal preference is all…we all like what we like & love what we love. “Good Fella” is a good tune, just not a great one in my opinion…not by comparison to how many times he’s knocked it out of the park on cuts we’d agree on universally, that’s all I’m sayin.’
A quick scan through his catalog will prove that family is important to Mr Streetz. He’s written songs for his Nan (“Thinking Of Nan”), for his daughter as well (“For My Daughter”), and here on his new record, he’s got “Little Bro” added into the lineup, in which he’s desperately pleading to his brother to take a different path than the one he’s taken himself. It’s a highly personal track…and to me, it’s one of the best. I’m not even here to tell you it’s one of the most accessible, or that the hooks are the most effective…maybe they will be to you, maybe they won’t – honestly, I’m not so sure any of that matters when the writing itself is as real as it gets. “Little Bro” is one of those songs where you realize how much more important music can be, and how it can be an incredible tool to use for communication. Of all the tracks we’ve heard on this record to this point, it’s “Little Bro” that gives you the clearest glimpse into the soul of the man behind the microphone, and reveals that, no matter how hard he’s been in the past, no matter how many awful things he might have done at whatever point of his life you examine – Mr Streetz is now on a path that leads directly to redemption. He’s put real heart into “Little Bro” and he’s demonstrating through leading by example that it’s about so much more than the “Ganglang” life and bangin’ it up in the streets. Mr Streetz proves that he cares, that he’s compassionate, and that he’s genuinely changed too…he’s got regrets from the pain he’s caused, but he’s got time to fix his mistakes.
Here’s what you didn’t expect though, and where Mr Streetz will prove he ain’t your average former-banger – did you think he’d straight drop some Shakespeare on you at this point? “Romeo & Juliet” is a really clever cut all-in-all…it’s a modern-day adaptation of sorts…an update on the tale and how it still relates to what happens in the underground of the city streets, even now. That snare drum sound is insatiably cool, I can tell ya that much right off the bat…but beyond the addictive beat, you can hear how smart Mr Streetz is in how he crafts his words into a vivid story you can visually see in your mind as he spits. The music is stellar, the personality is there, the lyrics are really smart…the hooks work…all-in-all, it’s a track that authentically reveals how much thought Mr Streetz puts into what he creates. It’s artistic in a degree unlike that which you’ve heard from him so far to this point on Wins & Bosses…and while I don’t know that the majority of people listening would necessarily appreciate the shift as much as I do personally, I like that Mr Streetz is clearly trying something else, and keeping the diversity goin.’ There’s really no other track on this album that’s anything like “Romeo & Juliet” and sometimes that can be a big deal…it’s still cohesive enough to fit the lineup, but it’s also different by comparison to the rest.
I’d put the final track “Last Dance” right up there with the best on this record, somewhere definitely around the top three. No doubt that Mr Streetz takes his lyricism into some of the toughest terrain and busts out some of his most direct lines as well – but beyond that, he takes you right into the heart of a near death experience that gave the man the opportunity to turn his whole life around. Which is really quite something to hear…”Last Dance” shows the craft in his storytelling and keeps you locked in on that level more-so than anything else – this dude’s words are gripping. If it wasn’t for that aspect of context and how much we get to know Mr Streetz on this last track…I dunno…I might have been neither here nor there about it this particular beat…so credit where credit is deserved, he takes this last moment and pushes it from good to great with the weight all on his shoulders. It’s definitely one of the most personal cuts on the record…you could look at “Little Bro” and “Last Dance” as the album’s most revealing tracks in terms of who Mr Streetz is and what he’s really all about. Listening closely to the words on “Last Dance” you realize that, yes, the man could obviously throw down whenever he’s called upon to do it if that’s what he chooses to do…but life itself has become about so much more for Mr Streetz…and the path that he’s on now seems truly commendable. He’s aiming for redemption and he’s finding a new strength to guide him forward into this next chapter of life…he’s been to the ugliest places this planet could take him, and it’s clear he’s concentrating much harder on finding the beautiful parts of it now. It strikes me that he’s learned many things the hard way, but that he HAS learned – a lot in fact…if that ain’t the ultimate win for this boss, I’m not sure what else could be – good on ya Mr Streetz.
Find out more about Mr Streetz from his official website at: https://mrstreetz.com
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