VxT – Reminiscent

 VxT – Reminiscent

VxT – Reminiscent – Album Review

My man!  How you gonna BEGIN an album with a song called “Stop” VxT?  We just got here!  It’s a good thing he comes outta the gate as strong as he does or I’d dwell on this point further – it’s a weird choice, but I’ll let it slide.

Dude instantly reveals he’s got the ability to rap with verifiable skill straight off the drop, “Stop” flashes a whole bunch of what makes VxT as versatile & entertaining as you’ll find him to be on Reminiscent.  He’s got those heavily filtered vocals goin’ on with the layers & such in the hooks…I’m not opposed to it, I’m a fan of the sound, but I do always acknowledge how damn near impossible this method can be to get completely perfect too, for anyone out there using effects like these.  Auto-tune can be a very tough animal to tame in the studio…you’re more often than not going to find a scattered note or tone outta place or clashing with the others surrounding it…I’d love to tell ya that’s not a factor here, but it’s something that’ll show up in just about every song where it’s used, in trade for the rest of the awesomeness you’ll hear.  Best I can tell ya is that those familiar with the sound know exactly what to expect and the court of public opinion has weighed in on this issue years ago now…think of it this way, it’s not something used any less today than it was at the height of its popularity, so clearly people still love, connect, and respond to it when they listen.  The reality is, as listeners we’ll accept a whole lot, especially when it’s just minimal coloring outside of the lines like you’d hear on “Stop” – the vast majority of what you’ll hear is smoother-than-smooth, and gets VxT’s album movin’ & shakin’ in the right direction straight away.  Dig the music, dig the vibe, dig the sincerity you can hear in VxT as a performer and how his lyricism has much more to say than most & seems to dive into the personal just as much as it flashes his finesse & talent on the mic…entertaining & engaging, “Stop” is a quality start.

But man…this right here yo!  “Brown Boy Flow” should blow minds out there, straight up, full stop – this is an all-out achievement in the Rap game by any measure y’all.  I’d be taking a BIG look at this track if I was VxT…this is the sound of everything going right & all at once, and not a single set of functioning ears could possibly miss it.  Right from the get-go, you can hear how the music builds & how its eastern-tinge massively complements his west coast vibe…it’s a cross-cultural dose of pure crossover sound and a cut that could easily go on to be a major single for VxT.  From the energy and attitude of his lyrics, to the impeccable way he spits these rhymes with surgical precision…like I said – I’ve heard the whole record VxT – I repeat – pay close attention to what’s happening on “Brown Boy Flow” and how much is going RIGHT from the mix to the microphone…this is a breakthrough cut by every definition & could be the blueprint for the path forward from here.  He takes on societal issues, judgments from others, and slays all this stuff by bringing his own identity and uniqueness to the forefront to reveal just how astonishing its merit truly is – VxT is crushing it here, bar for bar, pound for pound.  “I’m not a counterfeit” as he’ll tell ya – and he’s spittin’ the truth as far as I can tell…I listen to a track like “Brown Boy Flow” and I instantly hear the next-level in action.  From the spectacular sound selection itself, which is basically guaranteed to draw just about all of us in on its own – to the absolute perfection VxT finds in his energy, rhythm, cadence, and precision…this is the kind of performance where you can feel just how locked into the moment he is, and it makes all the difference in the world.  VxT is justifiably flexin’ hard verbally here…sonically all around really…he’s got nothing but single-worthy vibes goin’ on with “Brown Boy Flow” – this stands out 100% for all the right reasons…it’s hella interesting to the ears, and the man makes magic on the m-i-c.

“Hey Dad” comes out with a bit more of a relatable theme for many of you out there that have struggled with parental approval and getting left behind in some way, shape, or form by someone you love.  In some ways…I suppose probably just in terms of the sheer degree of sound at work on “Brown Boy Flow” right beforehand, it makes “Hey Dad” seem to reveal a more mellow & serious vibe…which is true, that’s what it is and how it sounds like, I’m just saying it’s enhanced as a result of where it sits in the lineup.  When it comes to substance and lyricism however, you’ll find this cut has no problem at all hanging with the record’s most detailed and intensely personal tracks.  Great edits in the music and the way VxT has got it set up with the pace & space serving him extremely well in the dynamics of the structure and the production.  I think a couple things can be true when it comes to a song like “Hey Dad” – the first being, that I felt like this worked out solid for Vxt overall…it’s a strong track.  I also think the reality is that, thematically, a cut like “Hey Dad” sits in this strange place in music, where it’s definitely not a concept we’re unfamiliar with or haven’t heard before, yet one that kinda needs to be written about constantly.  Whether that’s for personal catharsis, healing, and closure like you’d imagine VxT is seeking out here on “Hey Dad,” or if it’s simply the result of the fact that this particular situation is an ongoing one that has proven to be constant throughout time.  I’ve spent more than four-fifths of the my life battling how I feel about my own parents and trying to find that balance between what I needed & what they wanted – no joke y’all, it ain’t easy for all of us, and I suspect after listening to “Hey Dad” by VxT that he certainly knows what I’m talking about.  I dig the piano led vibe, I dig the beat, and more-so than anything else, I dig the fact that a track like “Hey Dad” proves VxT is unafraid to take on the tougher issues of life in his music.

Okay…for the record…hooks-wise and like, when it comes to memorable tunes & all, I was pretty convinced that “Got What I Wanted” was gonna be among my favorites straight off the drop – and I gotta say, after giving me everything that I wanted as a listener already, VxT keeps it going, flips the script, and gives this cut a brilliantly innovative twist in its ending.  It’s a huge highlight of the creativity this dude’s got and how he can quite often shift to go left & duck when you think he’s gonna go right – VxT’s got versatile skills & talents and clearly has a grip on how to go about puttin’em all to WORK in all the right ways that catch our attention for several reasons.  You could go with the naturally flashy appeal in the hooks or the flow of his Rap, or you could go with the melodic combinations he comes up with in his music & vocals, or how he’s making bold artistic moves like what he does at the end of this track here.  VxT has a massive quiver full of arrows to pull from, and he’s got a gift for hitting the target on-point, you feel me?  “Said I’ll make it – that’s a promise” – and it’s one that he’ll have no problem at all making that statement from “Got What I Wanted” come true if he keeps the hooks shining like this.  I do have my moments where I feel like VxT would come out stronger without the effects based on what I’ve heard without’em on this record…but they’re pretty minimal enhancements on this jam here overall.  This dude’s daring though y’all…make no mistake about it – it takes artistic courage and real fortitude to rock the kind of transition he does around the 2:40 mark with so much time still to go on this track, and when you hear the hooks, you’ll know exactly what I mean.  Just about any other artist or band out there on this planet would have rode those hooks on repeat straight to the end – and like I was tellin’ ya earlier, you can’t always predict where VxT is gonna go, which brings out the surprise element in listening to his music – one of the best advantages anyone can incorporate into their tunes.  You get what you want on all fronts here…unbelievably catchy & massively addictive hooks, with a bold artistic transition that is destined to satisfy those out there looking for more in the music they listen to as well.

There are times when you’ll listen to Reminiscent and wonder if it’s actually a record that’s been written specifically for one person out there to hear…I’d say that’s a genuine possibility.  At the very least, credit where credit is due, VxT sure makes these moments in time feel as real as if he’d experience them all personally, which again, I’m guessing he has.  Much of the record, like on “Way Too Long” dives deep into the pain of love & loss…relationships breaking down & whatnot…the hard stuff we’ve all gotta go through in order to get to that blissful other side of it all one day – you know…we all know; and if we don’t know, trust me when I tell ya young buck, you’ll learn soon enough.  “Way Too Long” works more with vibes specifically than it does hooks…you’ll find a mellow & meditative one that hits the mark in the chorus, but for the most part, this track seems like it’s more about getting the stuff on VxT’s mind out into the open.  Detailing how tough it can be to let someone we love go, not just physically but mentally as well, “Way Too Long” might be more of a cut that’s suited for a day where you’re feeling a certain type of way and want to crack open that can of nostalgia & self-reflection, but it’s a quality cut all the same.  VxT keeps his standards consistent; I think the music is brilliant…it’s subtle AF, but it is creative as creative can be…when you stop to think about the fact that this dude chose to work with what would no doubt be a huge challenge and come out with a track that’s as strong as “Way Too Long” becomes, it’s impressive to say the least.  Most rappers & artists would hear a cut like this and run away in the other direction down the street to the next studio that offers something a whole lot easier for them to wrap their minds around – VxT isn’t afraid of putting himself out there personally, creatively, and artistically – as a result, he’s reaping the rewards of making music he can proudly stand behind.  Doesn’t mean that every cut is gonna be the happiest or most accessible cut you’re gonna hear in 2022 as “Way Too Long” will prove, but when it comes to quality in the writing, production and execution, he remains consistent.

The downtempo & downtrodden vibes of “Nobody Else” work, but they are pretty damn heavy for sure.  We’re not talkin’ about Metal here or any kind of bombastic sound blaring at you – we’re talkin’ about emotionally-heavy sound…I’ll admit, every time this particular cut came around, I still enjoyed listening to it, but it’s the kind of track that always felt like it took a lot outta me energy-wise every time too.  Music hits me different than most on that sensory level though, so I don’t expect everyone out there to feel the same way I do, though they might…the energy & mood in the middle of this record takes a deep dip into the melancholy & mellow, which may prove difficult for some, and of course be the main reason to return to Reminiscent for others.  Like I was tellin’ ya earlier – I think a lot of this album revolves around VxT genuinely needing to get a few thangs off his chest so that he can truly move on somehow – “Nobody Else” is the kind of cut that might have you convinced he’s not quite at that point yet though.  I’ll tell ya this much…as an artist, as the creative-type…you don’t get to those next records without making this one first – the music VxT has made on Reminiscent, assuming many of these tales and tunes are every bit as personal as they appear to be, is a crucial step in the healing process.  As to whether or not it ends up giving a song like “Nobody Else” the full accessibility it needs to get the attention of the masses out there…that might be another story depending on who ya are and where you’re at in life at the current time.  Much like “Way Too Long,” VxT’s working with vibes again here as opposed to any one major defining hook or moment along the way…it’s a true case of if you dig what you hear at the start, that’s pretty much what you can expect to find from there on in.  It’s more of a static gear for “Nobody Else” for sure, but like I said, if you’re in a mood like VxT’s is on this track, it’ll hit right at the right time.

“Worth” hit it more for me…kind of like revisiting the vibes that worked so well for Ye back on 808s & Heartbreak album back in the day.  This still has that shroud of emotional heaviness that you’d find in “Nobody Else” just prior, but with a bit more of an appealing way of putting that out there that keeps us every bit as engaged for the entertainment value as the content & message VxT’s communicating.  Some of these endings he’s come up with like he did earlier on “Got What I Wanted” and here again on “Worth” are just straight-up jaw-dropping spectacular…twists you’d never expect to find & be so stoked about the fact that you DID.  VxT’s got highly innovative & creative ways about his approach to making music and it genuinely helps morph his songs in several directions, many of which will blow your mind.  I dig it, cause it sure ain’t typical…it’s artistically daring, and it shows that VxT is really thinking about that next-level of his career and the legacy he’s building as an artist.  I’m not here to argue that I think these sensational twists necessarily make these particular cuts like “Worth” more accessible…I think any time you add in the artistic dimension, generally speaking, you end up losing a few more people than you gain in terms of listening ears – but in terms of your OWN satisfaction as an artist, it’s crucial to stretch creatively, see what you’re capable of, and express yourself however you gotta til you get it all outta ya.

We’ve all got our thing and we naturally go in a direction that suits our strengths.  If I had any one real piece of advice I’d give to VxT, it’d be to not hold back on the energy as much as he has been on this record.  Of course, it always depends on what you wanna accomplish as an artist and what a record is going for – I know he’s got a lot of subject matter here on this record that dives headfirst into tougher themes, but the energy can still be there too.  When I listen to the bars of a track like “All I Wanted” I can feel it – he’s got the juice, and he’s crushin’ it as competently & confidently as ever.  When it comes to the chorus, it’s not that he goes full-blown anti-chorus here, but dials back the energy into that familiar smoothness & mellow vibes he’s been rockin’ on much of the album.  I still like what I hear and think the hook does come across well enough as it is – but I’m thinking, in a situation like this where the music has a lively melody & percussion combo goin’ on, and the amount of energy, personality, and charisma that’s displayed in the verses…you wanna take what you’ve built, and bring it up that much further, you follow me?  Musically, I felt like VxT helps himself a bit around the 1:45 mark when the intensity kicks up a notch and he brings in the wild vocal effects for an added boost…and “All I Wanted” still has plenty of substance with stylistic moves to go along with it…I suppose I just wanna hear the guy sound like he’s hittin’ the mic like the whole world needs to hear him, as opposed to sounding a little like he’s recording late-night and trying not to wake the neighbors…that’s all I’m sayin.’  “All I Wanted” is still a strong cut, and I probably should even be complaining at all…he’s got rhythm, he’s got style, he’s got an idea and the skills it takes to deliver & he DOES…now it’s about refining it all for the future ahead.

I ain’t denying the man writes a great tune lyrically, has solid ideas and a real vibe – I’m just sayin’ keep an eye on the energy level there my brother.  Slow cuts are great in the right measure…without a 100% balance though, the risk becomes inherent and tougher to get the people out there genuinely excited about what they’re hearing, no matter how good a single tune might be within the set.  VxT is so dialed back on “Free” that I felt like he’s injected that risk into Reminiscent perhaps more than intended when you examine the lineup as a whole…he’s hittin’ them hazy & faded vibes, and like I said, I’m not disputing that they work – I’m not even disputing that they’re relevant!  People love this kind of sound right now, there’s no doubt about that…all I’m saying is that they usually experience it with a few more breaks in between the heavy weighted melancholy energy you’ll find track after track in the mid-section of this album.  If you’re looking for those quick & catchy, accessible & flashy hooks…you’ll feel like VxT has purposely middle-fingered his way up & outta that whole deal in defiance, choosing once again to go with his own instincts to create the music that he genuinely wants to make.  The man’s got talent – you can’t listen to the way he rhythmically finds the melody in the verses or the way he raises the stakes in his flow along as “Free” plays on…all I’m saying is he wants to avoid that flat-line feeling where a song doesn’t have that pulse or necessary spark required to keep the people coming back or paying attention.

“Paint A Picture” at track ten, was the first cut I felt like I encountered that really needed more polish than it has.  Not too shabby considering it’s this deep into the lineup & there’s only one last track after to follow, and perhaps a little frustrating in the sense that we were gettin’ so close to the finish line with pretty much flawless results, or the fact that with that same extra care applied to the rest of the set, I think there’s no doubt whatsoever that VxT would have one of the album’s better songs here for sure.  Whether it’s been an up-tempo jam or a slow cut though, he’s kept his eye focused tight on the quality in his performance and in the production…and while the production remains on-point here, I think deep down he knows he’s still got a better performance on the mic that he owes “Paint A Picture” currently.  What I like, I like a lot – I love the fact that he’s really gone for the singing on “Paint A Picture,” and for the vast majority of those moments, he’s got it flowin’ perfectly.  All-in-all, it’s really, really CLOSE to where it needs to be – I’m simply saying that this song has more potential in it to reach the masses by comparison to a lot of this set, and I’d do everything I can to fix the few sour notes in the vocals that’d be holding it back.  Because he’s got something really special in the works here…kind of reminds me a bit of MyKey on this particular track…that mix of melody & sincerity & observational melancholy that hits the spot in your speakers & in your soul…”Paint A Picture” is without question one of VxT’s strongest ideas.  It’s the kind of track that has a whole lot of potential at its 100%, and with it being shy of that mark right now for the audible reasons I know he can hear himself…that’s the reality he’s gonna have to accept as I remind ya all the time.  When you can hear it, we can hear it too – and in a situation like this where practically 99% of it is going so RIGHT for VxT, trust me, it’s the 1% that he’ll feel like he could have done better that he’s personally going to hear for LIFE.  Don’t let it happen bro – remix time.

The final cut “First Love” does a solid job of detailing the struggles of trying to fit the puzzle pieces together in a relationship and how tough it can be to move on.  From the sounds of things, VxT spent quite a significant amount of time with this formerly special someone…and you can hear the man’s been wounded on the way out, emotionally spent from the effort he’d been putting in and consumed by much of the sadness of the aftermath.  Ultimately, VxT circles back around to the sweetness when it comes to the main hooks, choosing to look back on his “First Love,” and remember the good times.  Listen to the music the man is workin’ with again will ya?  I love the fact that VxT has chosen so many significantly different sounds throughout the music on this record and really found uniqueness in what he’s chosen to rap & sing to in that regard.  The man can produce a tune without question, and his performances have been there to rival it in most cases – I think he’s still got room for a bit more energy and spark in his material overall, but like I was also telling you earlier, I think VxT actually made Reminiscent more for one particular person to hear than any of the rest of us – this “First Love” he’s singing about here, to be specific.  At the very least, that’s my theory and what I’m goin’ with – I’m pretty deep into this review and it kinda suits my narrative well, but I think I’ve got a fair grip on what I’ve been hearing and just how much of it’s based on VxT’s real life experiences with life & love.  He brightens up the vibe by a degree or two here in the pulse & energy you’ll find at the core of the melody, and I suppose ultimately “First Love” is a perfect example of what I’ve been getting at all along.  You can be downtrodden, melancholy, sad…all that stuff if you gotta be…it’s just gotta have a little spark to go along with it somewhere…that reason to return.  That’s what “First Love” has from start to finish, making it a solid conclusion to what’s been a heavy emotional ride from the beginning to end of VxT’s latest album.  Records like this are the ones we reach for right away when we’re in the mood that matches what we hear…don’t get it twisted, it’s a low-key album yes, but there’s definitely a time for it – when you’re feelin’ it, you’ll know…and in that moment, Reminiscent might be ALL that you wanna hear.

Find out more about VxT from this handy multi-link right here:  https://linktr.ee/sanket26k

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