Solitary Ant – Til The Time Comes – Album Review
Busting rhymes out of North Carolina, Solitary Ant has been doin’ his thang for what I’m assuming is about fifteen years now, according to the math at least when you look up his social media and see he’s been making music since ‘before 2004.’ I have no idea why you wouldn’t just say 2013 or whatever the case may be otherwise homie, but alright. I mean I get it…I’ve heard the new record from this emcee/artist/engineer/producer…he’s doesn’t always say things straightforwardly, cause he gets there’s art to the rap game…and through his own perspective & style, Solitary Ant puts thangs his own damn way – feel me? You’ll appreciate that…dude understands how to make words relatable & entertaining – and make no mistake, when he wants to get wild with the verses, he will.
Take this first sample from the opening cut “Flava Flav” for example: “She buzzin me for the Woody – this ain’t no Toy Story.” Okay. There is…honestly…SO MUCH you can take out of that one line that won’t give you the full picture, but will give you enough of the pieces in this puzzle to get a clear idea of what this experience is gonna end up being like. Dissect that one line with me – you can see pop-culture references, humor, cleverness in the writing right there in front of you…and when you listen to “Flava Flav” you’ll hear the essence of the old-school Hip-Hop era from Ant on the m-i-c, mixed with a sound, style, & music that’s highly relevant for the here & now. As to whether or not he sounds like “Flava Flav” as the song mentions…well…I dunno about all that…Solitary Ant’s got his own thing goin’ on…definitely different from the Public Enemy superstar. But considering that when the line shows up in this song, it’s from the perspective of someone else sharing their opinion with him…it’s not like he’s necessarily proclaiming this so much as an absolute truth as he is adding detail to the story he’s telling. Music is produced immaculately well…everything sounds crystal clear and he’s working with a seriously chill beat that’s got a ton of texture to it, so it’s great to hear it all out in the open, sharing the spotlight. As for the flow & delivery…real Hip-Hop fans are gonna get this without hesitation…as for the rest out there, there’s bound to be a line or two that gets you to raise an eyebrow, pay closer attention, or become that gateway into what Solitary Ant’s got goin’ on throughout Til The Time Comes. Sometimes that’s gonna work to his advantage…his jokes are sharp, and when he brings his bars to more serious terrain, that’s gold too. That being said, he reaches pretty far back for some of these pop-culture references that could very well be over a lot of heads out there listening…or moments where those that do catch what he’s rhyming about might question whether or not the world needs a song in it with a Tim Allen reference to the old Home Improvement days here in 2018. For me personally, on cuts like “Flava Flav” that are built on a mix of nostalgia within a wild tale of life & love – I dig on bizarre choices like that – who else is gonna take the time to shout out Amanda Bynes and Tim Allen in the same song right? Hooks are strong and universal, the verses are stylistic and slick to listen to & really show that respect to the old-school greats that have paved the way for him today…”Flava Flav” is a strong opening tune.
Loving the beats this guy works with. “Got Time Today” is a killer cut stocked with smoothness, remarkably chill and insightfully well thought-out from the lyricism to the sound of the music. As much as “Got Time Today” might dial the energy back just a bit more from the chilled-out opening tune, everything about this second cut felt like Solitary Ant was taking it up a level in every other aspect. Dude puts in the work here…these bars are flawless, stylistic, and seriously detailed in the imagery of his words, matched perfectly by the expression in his voice and movement on the mic. You still get the pop-culture references on this track…much less of them in comparison to “Flava Flav” – but there are enough to get a sense by this second tune that it’s a staple part of the Solitary Ant style to include’em. Overall though, “Got Time Today” ends up coming out sounding more mature & serious – there’s no Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor to be found here – he’s keeping it plenty real and putting in a lot more personal details into this cut – and ultimately, I think it’s moves like that from Solitary Ant that are gonna pay off the most over time. Jokes & clever lines are always an asset – but at the end of the day, it comes down to substance & style when it comes to what holds up the longest over the years to follow – and that’s exactly what you get on “Got Time Today.” This track will hold up over time – I’ve got no doubt about it – I could put this on a playlist at any time and be stoked to hear it when it came on, no matter how many times I’ve heard it before…Solitary Ant’s found great balance between his own personal details & the pop-culture surrounding him & found an excellent way to bring it all together on this second cut.
Another stunning beat to provide the vibe on “Making It Happen” – which is probably one of my favorite cuts on this album…this is where you can really hear things get personal, raw, and real. The core sentiment in the words driving this tune are without a doubt some of the best you’ll find – a true tale that reminds you the struggle is real – but that the cycle CAN be broken if you set your mind to it. Clearly indicated by the words he’s spittin’ – Solitary Ant has been through some shit for sure…but it’s a track like this that makes you realize he’s snapped out of his past mistakes and ready to push forward. Aside from being a little at odds with the final line in the main chorus hook and the pacing he’s got there, I think this cut came out with the bold confidence & flow that it needed to bring these words to life & get the meaning across with genuine sincerity. As far as the last line in the chorus is concerned, I still like what he’s saying…as for the stretching of the syllables there…to me, that’s the spot where you can hear that maybe another word, another syllable, or another way of phrasing what he’s looking to say might have paid off to tighten that up. Could be a stylistic choice…you could even argue that the pacing there contributes to that moment in the song becoming a hook altogether…but in my opinion, you hear that final line more than the rest by that stretching of “who made a practice of slackin”’ is always noticeable in comparison to how smoothly the lines before it come flowing out. Verse is on-point, music is once again produced impeccably well and is endlessly enticing to listen to…and ultimately, no matter what I do/don’t think about that ONE line in a chorus, or what YOU might think about it…I bet we’d all agree that it’s the kind of hook designed to stick with ya long afterwards. You’ll remember “Making It Happen” – which in itself is an accomplishment for such a chill-vibe. Undeniably killer lines written into this track and the atmosphere Solitary Ant has created is all-pro all day long. He’s written important stuff on this track that I can only hope will inspire you just by listening…that’s the intention here…and Solitary Ant seems to be dealing with a full-deck of knowledge that’s relevant. When he raps out “Words don’t mean a thing if it don’t turn into action” – y’all should be paying close attention…realer words have never been spit – that’s #truth in full-effect right there homies.
Really dig the vibe on “With My TV” and the hypnotic cut this becomes. Solitary Ant is working with one main hook here in the way he’s got his rhythm & flow goin’ on – but this works. He’s made the smart choice of keeping “With My TV” short at just over two-minutes long…so even though once this track kicks-in and remains locked into the gear it finds, it’s a perfect length to enjoy & end up wanting to repeat as a result. Again, his gift for engineering & production rivals what he can do with the mic, which is an excellent problem to have if you’re Solitary Ant – it’s actually exactly what makes him a multi-threat. But LISTEN to the music on this cut closely…you’ll hear that in just over two-minutes, this dude can create a seriously smooth jam that has multiple layers of melody creeping in as the song develops. Excellent additions like twinkling piano/keyboard/synth notes, big low-end bass swells, and a like…I dunno…flute-like thang in the mix as well; and when you factor in the fact that Solitary Ant knows exactly how to play this one on the m-i-c, you end up with a captivating moment in time here. I mean that in the true sense of the word…you get affixed to your speakers listening to “With My TV” and focused on every moment of this vibe because of its powerful pull & hypnotic rhythm & flow. Solitary Ant went after this cut using his voice as another instrument that adds to the whole dimensions & depth to the sound of “With My TV” – not so much right at the front & center of the spotlight of this track so much as contributing to an overall concept & vision for this particular cut. Worked for me!
“Regrets” was a bit tougher to examine. Potential-wise, it’s probably one of the strongest cuts on the record…but it’s hard to say if Solitary Ant would feel like this needs additional polish on it like we might feel it does as listeners. That’s where the rubber meets the road really…some people are going to dig the way he rips flawlessly through some of the bars and then stutter-steps, hesitates, pivots, and shifts slowly through some of the others…but I have the feeling that the general consensus is gonna be that it’s more of a situation where he just needs to take a bit more time to round out the corners. There are moments on “Regrets” where his flow is so on-point that it just can’t be denied…but there are moments as well that seem like they need another syllable or two to really fit that metering with more cohesion. All that being said, it should be pointed out that Solitary Ant never quits once he gets rollin’ on “Regrets” as well…while there might be the occasional second’s worth of hesitation or the stretching of a syllable – I mean, whatever…when it comes right down to it, he continues to roll confidently through the bars on this cut like he’s got it mapped out just the way he wants it – so what do I know anyway? I think it’s a track like “Regrets” that shows you some of Solitary Ant’s stylistic & rhythmic best at times – which is what makes those other moments stand out as well when he’s not quite hitting that mark 100% with the flow or phrasing…but when it comes to what this song could be, I think he’s really damn close to a song with solid single-potential here too. It ain’t far away…a word or two here & there to smooth-out that metering to give it a higher-degree of accessibility for the masses…maybe bring a bit more intensity to the delivery of the hook in the chorus to add a bit more depth to the sound overall…and I’d say he’d have this one right where it needs to be. As it stands now, still a solid jam on Til The Time Comes.
“Nothing I Cannot” is one of the tightest cuts on the record – and at just over the ninety-second mark, really, there wouldn’t have been much place to hide for Solitary Ant if this one went south on him. He’s given us no reason to doubt him so far throughout the record and he proves once again that within a short timeframe, he can really make a massive impact – this cut completely hits the mark. I know I’ve said it a ton already – but the music that Solitary Ant has been working with throughout this entire record is all killer, no filler…everything you’ll hear is extremely engaging and a mix of curious melody like you’ll find on “Nothing I Cannot” is a perfect example of his multi-layered sound working it’s true magic. I also think you can hear more of a break from the old-school vibes of his flow that you’ve been likely to detect in the previous cuts; on “Nothing I Cannot” he’s flexing a seriously modern-day vibe that’s bound to appeal to a ton of people out there right now. He’s out to “make the brand hot” here – and in my opinion, he’s completely succeeded…I was seriously impressed by every second of this short cut.
REAL Hip-Hop exists and thrives in the spirit of “Float Away” – what else could you want from the main man on the mic here? This is all the style & swagger you’re looking for, just admit it. Put it to you this way – I’ve enjoyed listening to this entire record…but EVERY time that “Float Away” came on, I felt like Solitary Ant raised the stakes to the next-level. There’s simply nothing about this track that seems out of place or like it needs anything else at all – this is the art of the wordsmith in full-effect and a producer that’s right in the mix, making sure that every detail is as fine-tuned as can possibly be. The added hint of jazz in this beat and the way that Solitary Ant responds to that energy with such an inspired flow that shows real respect for the roots of the genre…I mean, this is damn near the “The Rebirth Of Slick” ain’t it? You can hear that Solitary Ant is more than focused when it comes to every bar & beat of “Float Away” – he’s honestly putting in an award-winning performance on this cut that I’d have to assume everyone would be able to hear clearly…the man is right in the moment here, and it sounds spectacular. It’s the kind of beat that gets the head noddin’ along right away…you can feel the vibe of this cut hit you right in the mind, body, and soul…”Float Away” was without a doubt one of the biggest highlights on Til The Time Comes – a track so subtle yet so strong that it proves that ‘time’ he’s referring to might not be so far off at all. If I was one of those suits’n’ties out there…one of them record executive limo-ridin’ sharks out there looking for that something special – I’d be paying attention to this – Solitary Ant really reveals that next-level professionalism throughout this entire cut and proves he can hang with the best.
That roll continues…the second-half of this record ends up being arguably even stronger than how it all started – and it’s songs like “Float Away” and “Worth It” that show he’s still got tons in the tank at the end of this album. “Worth It” is probably the most accessible cut on Til The Time Comes – Solitary Ant heads back towards the true old-school classic Hip-Hop vibe here…and with the bright melody & atmosphere he’s put into this cut, he’s got one seriously inviting track to turn up here. Fantastic mix of WHAT he’s saying here as well – he’s got stylistic lines in the hook that’ll definitely pull you in, but he’s also got some really deep social commentary & personal insight being laid down here too – the result of which is that it’s got multiple opportunities to appeal to the people out there. You might dig the sweetness in this slow-jam vibe…you might dig the rhythm & groove of the hooks on the mic…you might dig that the words give you a lot to think about and a lot to learn about the main man writing them – the bottom line is that “Worth It” offers a ton to the ears on several levels…the kind of cut that’s bound to appeal to everyone in some way. What an incredibly impressive & smooth sound “Worth It” has! For real – from the moment this track begins, it brings a brilliantly atmospheric & subtle electro groove to it, synth-sounds on-point and that jazzy infusion of swagger is completely audible – great combinations of what we hear, excellent transitions & additions keep the amazing sounds flowing smoothly at all times.
Ending the record with one final cut – “Outro 6 34” shows the finesse that Solitary Ant can put into his rhymes when he’s flowing with true conviction & confidence in the messages he’s putting forth. You can hear the passion & the heart…you can hear the fact that it ain’t just rappin’ to Solitary Ant – he’s livin’ this life and giving this everything he’s got. And he should be commended for the effort he’s put in here on Til The Time Comes – from the incredible selection & range of sound you’ll find on this record to the passionate, bold, and intense flows like you’ll find at the end on “Outro 6 34” – he’s done a lot to make this experience with his music have an impact on us, and be memorable. He’s opened this final track even more to noticeably include YOU perhaps even more than any of the other tracks, giving you plenty to consider through the thought-provoking & inspiring words he’s spittin’ into “Outro 6 34.” And then of course, there’s the reference to Matthew 6:34, which goes on to say: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
As if you needed any more proof of this emcee’s good intentions and ambitious attitude! But in the off-chance that you missed those messages somehow along the way – he gets some help from the good book right here at the end to make sure it’s clear to each and every one of you listening out there. It’s all about being present in the moment and making the most you can with every second of it, which he certainly is here. Really dig what Solitary Ant’s done with his time & music on Til The Time Comes – and I have no doubt that this will appeal to a ton of you fans of real Hip-Hop out there…highly recommend checking this out.
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