Sneak EPTX – Clocks – Album Review
Huh…well would ya listen to that? I was under the impression Jesus did a whole lot less fuckin’ but what do I know? I left religion behind in my teenage years…perhaps His values have changed a ton since then.
“Corvettes & Mustangs & Chargers & Challengers” – bro…you know you don’t have to write about everything all in just ONE song, right? He’s workin’ with “the rhythm” on this first cut…ultimately, more effectively than he will on about half this record…but for the initial impression ya get, Sneak EPTX starts up flexing hard with the power of the pulse and energy workin’ in his favor. Which is really what you’ll notice the most at the outset here…”Corvettes & Mustangs & Chargers & Challengers” keeps the content a lot more on the superficial end of what Sneak’s got to say to y’all throughout the course of this record. Probably not a bad move or way to go about establishing that initial impression on ya…I mean, if he came out swinging with social commentary straight outta the gate, that could potentially start dividing the audience even more than playing it more safely like he has in the middle of the road with a track like “Corvettes & Mustangs & Chargers & Challengers” I suppose. I’m kind of on the outside here I guess…I’m more about what the man has to say later on in this record than I am here at the start, and it really doesn’t help much that I have absolutely no interest in cars and probably couldn’t tell ya whatever the differences might even be between all four of the vehicles in the title. Will they get me from point-A to point-B on time? That’s all that’s ever gonna matter to me about an automobile, 100%.
The beat on “Wait” comes out soundin’ BIG straight off the drop…and Sneak EPTX is already in party mode from the moment we get involved, almost like he’s been rockin’ for hours and we just happened to jump into the mix halfway through. He has hooks here…I don’t know that they’re entirely effective or massively appealing…but they do exist…I’m not a giant fan of repetition in most circumstances really, so having a hook that consists of “wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, party, party, party, party, wait, wait” isn’t really gonna cut it for me personally…but there’s a chance he’s got something that’ll appeal to many of ya with this second track. When it comes right down to it – it’s because of the choices he’s made here in how he uses repetition that also makes “Wait” one of the most memorable & recognizable tracks on the entire record…and the value in that of course, is priceless. I also dig that he’s got a pretty wild & unique combination of music goin’ on to create the vibe here…I’m realistic in the sense that it’s probably beyond a lot of people listening out there, but it’s pretty damn cool when it comes right down to it…that touch of angelic like…what is that – harp? Not something you’d usually find in a rap song…elements like this should help the man stand out even more as a result of clever choices.
“Tales Of A Nobody” ended up being one of my favorite cuts on this record & one of the most insightful cuts you’ll find on Clocks in my opinion…this is where things started to spark my interest personally. Sneak EPTX is still going to benefit from more fluidity to his bars when he’s spittin’em…but he really proves with this track that he’s got a whole bunch of valid commentary and something real to say with his music on this third cut. Who is the “Nobody” in this particular scenario? Could be him…could be me…it could even be YOU – it’s all about the comparison between those out there that have got their platform already & have no problem shouting out their wisdom down to us from atop the mountain, versus the rest of us commoners, just trying to find our way. I think a lot of people out there will relate to being the “Nobody” he describes here…Sneak’s not trying to insult anyone so much as make points about what anonymity is like in the world today. “Tales Of A Nobody” is a bit strange in the sense that the man starts introducing you to…wait for it…THE INTERNET? I got nothing there y’all…if you’re just becoming familiar with the ways of the online world right now, that’s just kinda bizarre…but I guess that fundamentally, the points he’s making are valid ones. Yes, the internet is a good way to get your opinion, music, talent, and etc. out there into the world. “The main point of this rap is shit happens” – and so there ya have it; other than that, you’ll find that “Tales Of A Nobody” starts infusing the aspect of religion more into the mix for ya. You get the sense that keeping busy in making music is what keeps Sneak EPTX outta trouble in his everyday life, and that’s cool with me – our art is our real salvation in my opinion. I know we’d be looking at that differently based on all the God stuff goin’ on here, but whether or not we wanna attribute the reality of what’s real to the man in the sky or not, the results become the same…Sneak EPTX is investing in himself and what he can do…the more time he does, the better it’ll get.
So…hmmm. How would I advise Sneak EPTX for the future to follow in listening to this record? He’s got good ideas…he’s got plenty to say and actually quite a bit of insightful stuff in the mix as you listen…it’s gonna come down to beats, hooks, and the strength in the material overall…that’s where the evolution in his music has the most opportunity to expand. For example…”Dream It” – I think at its core, Sneak EPTX has got a ton of kickass points to make here, from social commentary, to even jumping into the political sphere straight off the top ropes flexin’ the people’s elbow on the way down to the mat – but it is still missing that one real defining moment or hook that’s going to make it memorable, you feel me? It’s almost as if his own consistency is gettin’ in the man’s way…and I feel like the most room he’s got to take it to that next-level with his career, is by finding that next-level within each song itself, know what I mean? Right now, Sneak EPTX is so even across the board that a four minute-plus cut can feel like it’s almost twice the length, because our ears keep searching for that undeniable moment to bring us back. Each cut has its own vibe, and that’s a good thing for sure…but I’m less convinced that there’s enough variation in each actual song to give everyone that all important reason to return or remember what they’re hearing. With his approach to each cut…same thing…you’d wanna find that variation that works – right now, I’m hearing that the same method is being applied to every track to the same extent…from the way the lead works to how the background layers are constantly in the mix…I think Sneak would benefit greatly from moments like you hear around just prior to the three-minute mark, which is one of the most diverse parts you experience on the record so far. All that being said, what he saves for the final bars is by far & away some of the best & most direct lyricism you’ll hear, not only for the content, but for the way he performs it by going BIG, summoning that confidence, and letting loose on the m-i-c. I’m not supposed to be talking any “ish” to the man, so I’ll save my sermon – but good Lord almighty – is God comfortable with this many “motherfuckers” in the mix? I missed that class of Sunday school.
“Evidence” is interesting…Sneak EPTX certainly has no problem goin’ on the offensive…not sure who’s been attacking him personally, but on a societal level he’s definitely felt the oppression and he’s unafraid to speak up on it. “What are you believin’ you ain’t got no evidence for?” – the answer to that’s pretty damn easy for me…nothing. Nothing at all. But that also includes God for me my friend – “am I going too far?” now myself? People waste a whole shit ton of time on this planet with things they can’t tangibly see or interact with on a real level. ”Evidence” takes on a whole bunch of that kind of stuff, and in the process, calls out the white man for all the shitty things he’s done from the beginning of time…that’s probably the part I can get behind the most, at least there IS “Evidence” to support that & we still see the effects of those repercussions daily in any corner of the planet you choose to look at. I definitely don’t disagree with him there, and I’m a whitey – I ain’t proud of that, it just is what it is, it’s the skin I was born in. Being aware of all the past shitty behavior from Honky history only serves to reduce me into playing the role of an ‘ally’ in the current day…which is true, I am – but unfortunately those societal differences are so pronounced in today’s world that this is the maximum effect I can have. Again, it is what it is – I ain’t saying I’m any kind of victim in this regard – I just wish I could help more than I’m currently able to, allowed to, advised to, or can. In any event…I’m not here to disagree with his perspective on the matter – I haven’t lived his life, I haven’t experienced what he’s experienced, and Sneak’s beef is much more with “rich whites” and I’ve never been one of those. Being rich is about as fictional as God or Casper the Friendly fuckin’ Ghost is for me personally…so he’s not attacking me or anyone else just for the color of their skin – and of course not right? That would be completely horrible to do that given that the majority of this song deals with how shitty that situation is from the other side of the coin…the last thing you’d assume Sneak wants to do is perpetuate the problem – right my friend?
“Thank You Lord” is one of my favorite cuts on Clocks for the personality that Sneak EPTX puts into the microphone and how he’s raised the stakes here to add in a genuinely memorable hook that pushes him to try new things. Essentially, thematically, it’s kind of about that too…it’s about finding that pathway forward and shifting past the days where Sneak was bangin’ out there, to become the dude he is now out there preaching the good word through his music. He’s the self-professed “gospel rapper” – and I ain’t here to dispute that…though I will confirm he comes at that title from angles you wouldn’t expect based on what he says, and how he chooses to say what he’s sayin.’ Like I told ya from the get-go – we’re pretty much explicit as fuck from the start of this record to the end…and that just isn’t the usual Sunday Schoolin’ type of approach you find when it comes to the combination of religion and music together. Personally, I dig it very much. Words are words y’all…if you think that by saying shit, fuck, goddamn or whatever is going to disqualify someone’s faith, you’re entirely missing the point of what faith is really all about – if there really is a God, then Sneak EPTX is made just as perfect as the rest of ya. Maybe you’re not gonna find “Thank You Lord” played in church any time soon…but that doesn’t mean the man hasn’t found his purpose through service & all that…he’s genuinely thankful for finding direction and I’ve got nothing but love for that. Like I said, for me, this is by far one of the best cuts on the album…it’s one of the most focused from start to finish. I’m still looking for a little more variation in the method & means of how these songs are being created, but the way that he approaches the hooks of this cut go a long way to helping establish that. Sneak’s authentically thankful here – I honestly dig it. Religion and music will always be one of my favorite combinations when it comes right down to it…I’ve never felt like I have to be any kind of devout dude to be able to find a real fascination with this topic.
I’m assuming the “ghost” he’s referring to for the most part on this album is himself…or at least the shadows of days long past & people’s he’s met along the way – am I picking that up correctly? Not the man that he is now, but the man that he once was…Sneak EPTX seems to be very much haunted by his past, but lets it inform his future and guide his decisions now…many of you can relate to that, and that’s just a good way to live y’all. If you’re not looking to evolve or become better in what you do, then I probably don’t have much time for ya…and I’d imagine many other people out there likely feel the same way. You always wanna be moving forward if you can be of course…the past is what it already is…and clearly, it’s important for Sneak EPTX to acknowledge that, deal with it, and put it to rest if he’s going to do that himself…which to me, is largely what this whole record is all about. I listen to an album like Clocks and feel like if he didn’t make this record, he’d have a much harder time making another one – make sense? You gotta tackle them ghosts before you can just move on to what’s going to make ya great in this lifetime, and Sneak’s been dealing with his past in real-time throughout this set. “Moment Of Time” drifts in between themes like that, and like…not wanting to air-fuck a ghost, which…I mean…I guess I understand that too? Seems like that’d be plenty dry at the end of the day…I think? Maybe the “ghost” is him…maybe we all have our own “ghost” & it’s ALL us chasing ourselves…could be.
I dig the sound of “Don’t Show Up” quite a bit straight off the drop – you can hear the enormity of this track and how it’d shake the walls around ya at max volume. He is…definitely stuck right on this “ghost” topic at this point in the record…and in this particular cut, the definition of who that “ghost” would be, is more defined for ya. No lie…this is one of those tracks that highlights just why I think religion & music can be such a fascinating combination…you’d never, not ever, in your LIFE, think that a song like this came from a person that would consider themselves to be devoutly religious. I’m not here to question his faith – if that’s who he says he is, I’m fully inclined to believe Sneak EPTX and take him at his word. If anything, I think tracks like “Don’t Show Up” actually prove the point that religious folks sure as hell think a lot more like the everyday person than most people realize or would dare to acknowledge. Do you really think the average churchgoer isn’t thinking about fuckin’ every bit as much as you are? Trust me when I tell ya – they absolutely are, if not even more-so as a result of having to repress that urge for the sake of their public personas. I’ve got mad love for the way that Sneak EPTX blasts straight through the bullshit and just tells it like it is, unfiltered and real like this…he’s raw-doggin’ his lyricism whether you like it or not, and regardless of his faith, has no problem whatsoever getting graphic as fuck. What I really like about it perhaps more than anything else is that it truly doesn’t feel contrived at all…like…as in, Sneak’s not just saying all this shit for pure shock value, you feel me? He means what he says, clearly, 100%.
“The Prime Directive” probably deviates a bit too far from what the average everyday set of ears is going to be able to handle…gotta call it like I hear it as I always do. Conceptually…I ain’t gonna lie to ya, it’s over my head…I’m not really sure about all these “ghosts” floating throughout the record and whether or not that’s going to make each experience feel like Sneak’s somewhat saying the same thing over & over to people listening out there, or if the metaphor is really gonna make enough sense to hold water. “My writing style’s advanced” – I’m not here to dispute that, I guess? If that’s what ya believe then I’m not gonna front…it is what it is. Hopefully, Sneak realizes there’s still a whole other level that he can reach in terms of accessibility and how to get his points across…but if this is what he wants to communicate & constantly with “another ghost story” then sure, why not? I’m hearing a hell of a lot of room for more flexibility & diversity in the material, but that could totally just be me – maybe you’re all hearing this lineup of songs and every single one of them jams perfectly for ya…if that’s the case, you know I’m not gonna say anything other than right on, give ya a whitey high-five (probably missing the other hand, as we tend to do) and tell ya to turn it on up. I’m always going to advocate on behalf of the potential I hear – Sneak’s got ideas…he’s flexed plenty earlier on in the lineup and proven that already; I feel like in the middle of this record, that’s getting lost & he’s really stuck on the topic of these “ghosts” now track after track. Maybe that’s something to consider, maybe it’s not – as I’ve said about a million times on these pages of ours, there’s about one or two records out there with more than ten cuts in the set that came out perfectly…in the entire history of music. Chances are, that means when you’re staring down the barrel of fourteen tracks, you’ve missed the opportunity to be more objective with your own material and tighten things up…right now, unless “The Prime Directive” is to make me feel like this is Groundhog Day or that I’m stuck inside The Matrix…I’m kinda not too sure what it is we’re doin’ here.
“Connected” is one of those cuts whereby if you dig the hook, you’ll be in better shape than I was…it’s just really not my thing, and borderlines right on the edge of being somewhat of a gimmick. I’m not into the whole “Scooby-dooby-doo” thing…but I didn’t like the cartoon either…if you did, maybe that’ll help. I’ve run into plenty of cuts like this out there though…so take it with a grain of salt – I’ll be the grumpy ass motherfucker that tells ya it isn’t half as effective or appealing as it might seem like it might be on paper (I guess?) and then I’ll get a shit ton of mail telling me that this is THE hook of the year – so what the fuck do I know anyway? At the end of the day, like I tell ya every time – I’m just another set of ears and just another asshole with an opinion – I have never once, not ever, claimed to be correct in what I say or the only opinion that should matter to anyone. What I can tell ya is this…because I do truly believe that I am always fair in what I say…”Connected” IS among the most memorable cuts on this album, and it IS because of that whole “Scooby-dooby-doo” thing…there’s just simply no way that you could have this cut come back around on a re-spin & not realize that you’ve heard it before. Ultimately, that’s priceless…and if you’re digging what you hear, that’s even better – like I was tellin’ ya earler on in assessing “Wait“ at the beginning of the record, moves like this get noticed…I have no doubt whatsoever that many people will dig what they hear on “Connected” – it’s just not really my thing is all. We all like what we like, we all love what we love…but I’m nothing but fair – I have all the confidence in the world that “Connected” is the kind of cut with the potential to actually go viral and become a huge hit for him.
“Buss ! Of Deez Nighaz” is…well…again…it’s probably not the kind of song you’re gonna expect to find on an album that’s made God & religion such a priority in the lineup earlier on. I think Sneak’s got one of his best rhythms & flow to his words on this particular cut…but in terms of whether or not this track belongs on the same record as all the God stuff earlier on…I dunno…I’d assume not? Chances are, that’s another one of the biggest opportunities that Sneak EPTX has to grow in what he’s creating…especially in the context of a full album. It’s not just enough to keep the focus sharp on a track from start to finish, but in terms of cohesion and how each song in a lineup can affect the rest of the set…yeah man, there’s still lots to be learned there. I’ve found a few older cuts from the man online…but really, it still seems like Sneak’s on the early side of his music career as an artist…and it’s only natural to have a lot of room to grow in those instances. The real question becomes, how into honesty is he? People always want your honest opinion until you give it to’em…and that’s usually when you realize the request was a lie – I don’t pull punches here, I just tell ya what I’m thinking based on what I’m hearing, pass or fail…but you always know where I genuinely stand. Maybe some of this advice or some insight here is worth something to him…maybe it’s not…again, I’m just one guy – what he wants is the general consensus between what the people are telling him, in combination with his own instincts…that’s what will lead him to the results he’s looking for. In the meantime, if he’s gotta tell a guy like me to pound sand, or believes that I’m way off base in all the things I’ve said…I mean…so be it…it is what it is. I’ve never done what I do to make friends…I’m here to help support artists becoming the best version of themselves that they could possibly be. More often than not, that means a little tough love is presented in the process.
YouTube is also the hardest medium to accurately judge sound from…the platform is so laden with audible bullshit in their compression from whatever algorithm they apply to music that it’s really impossible for me to say whether or not “We The Party Boys” is as blown out as it sounds here. What I can tell ya is this…I haven’t had that issue so far in the rest of the lineup, so that’s unique to this cut as far as I can tell…still doesn’t necessarily make it Sneak’s fault – only he’s going to know for sure what’s up. My concern would be that, if he IS hearing what I’m hearing…and “We The Party Boys” is the “remastered” version of the song as is indicated by the title…then like…I mean…what the hell happened homie, and how did this get so far away from ya on the second time around? I mean…it’s called “We The Party Boys” – there’s no doubt that Sneak has intended to go BIG or go home here…I think it’s probably come out a lot larger in the final results than most speakers or the YouTube compression can hang with, but ideas-wise, I think he’s still on the right path…just needs a tweakin’ is all. I’m assuming that Sneak EPTX is doin’ what he does DIY…and no lie, it takes years to master the art of getting massive sound wrestled fully under the red-line when it comes to production…time & experience y’all – he’ll get there. To me, it’s always the ideas that matter the most…the rest is just moving around the dials on the studio boards back & forth until it all lines up where you want it…”We The Party Boys” COULD end up being one of the stronger cuts on this record with the right remix for sure…but it’s not quite there yet.
“We Beef” traces back as far as 2019 from what I can tell…I can find an older version of this track online – and this was an excellent choice to bring back. In my opinion, this is definitely among the very best of what I’ve heard from Sneak EPTX in every aspect…mix-wise, content-wise, performance-wise…you name it, it’s probably flexin’ more bounce to the ounce than the majority of what you’ll find in set on Clocks. “Wait a minute…hold up…wait a minute” though…because that IS something to consider – and Sneak’s gonna have to take a long look as to why things are the way that they are. Yes it’s great to have a cut that you can rely on like “We Beef” to help bring it home at the end of a record…but at the same time, you’re not gonna necessarily want one of your best cuts to be dated back a full two years before the rest of the material if you’re trying to demonstrate that growth & evolution in what you create either, you dig? To me…I listen to “We Beef” and I think to myself, ‘where has THIS guy been?’ – because what I’m hearing on this particular cut is quite likely as universal as it gets…as in, I’d be way more surprised to hear that someone didn’t like this track as opposed to the many out there that would easily love it. So did something change in between 2019 and now? What was Sneak doing back then, that perhaps made his material even stronger than a lot of what we experience in the rest of the lineup on Clocks? I’m not gonna know the answer to that, and neither are you as a listener – but HE knows the answer…and no, I’m not talkin’ about the G-O-D despite the capital letters – I mean Sneak EPTX…he’s the only one that would know why the sound, focus, and grit in his performance on “We Beef” comes out as enticing as it does and as appealing as it still is. This is the magic I’d be lookin’ to tap back into if I was him though for sure…there’s just something about what “We Beef” has, that no other track on Clocks seems to have.
“Doing The Music” is a solid finale too…Sneak’s been comin’ across super clear towards the end of this record, and I’m here for it…rhythm & flow – content – I mean…it’s truly ALL here in the final cuts on this album, and at the very least, that’s a strong way to finish things off. Not saying God still isn’t a factor here as Lord knows the man works in mysterious ways, or so we’ve all been told – but there is a noticeable shift away from the religious aspect of Clocks that ends up dominating the latter half of the record. It could be a part of the reason that it seems like the album finishes on notes about ten times as strong compared to how it all began…maybe there’s less of a niche style of writing & more open concepts to be found at the end here, and maybe that raises up the level of accessibility…or maybe that’s my personal opinion & how I see the things I’ve heard in listening to Clocks. This much I know for sure…talk about Clocks – like yo…Sneak EPTX has been up since around the same time I have been this morning…somewhere around the 3am mark, watching me intently as I’ve been taking my final tours through his album, so I better get this review out there online pronto…I’d imagine he’s exhausted by now and looking to get some sleep. Lyrically, he’s crushin’ it on “Doing The Music” and laying out some of my favorite bars at the end of this record…my man, keep a close ear on what’s happening at the end of Clocks because there’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s going RIGHT. “Doing The Music” might very well be my favorite cut on the entire album – and that’s entirely because he conquers this track with focus, precision, and something real to say…the trifecta y’all…the combination you really wanna hear. If this is what he’s capable of…no lie…this raises the standards and illuminates his pathway forward from here – I’d be using “Doing The Music” as the blueprint Sneak – this one cut alone has given me every reason to return, and I’d be more than willing to bet on a whole lot of people feelin’ the exact same way about it.
Check out Sneak EPTX at Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7mVtsJqBNARm4GRMmMVBEb
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