Friday, July 17, 2009

Starting on JV, Adé Makes His Presence Felt

Overall GPA: 3.0
Artistry: B-
Wordplay: B+
Beat Chemistry: B-
Relativity Factor: B+

As DC’s hip hop scene expands on the national stage the gym doors are opening for Phil Adé, a near ripe freshman who dropped his mixtape, Starting on JV, late last week. Starting on JV reminds DC listeners of the unconventional ways of tasting and digesting hip hop.

In listening to his music, one cannot help but hear the strong influence of Adé's predecessors (i.e. Tabi, Wale), in his sound. We all know that influence is a sticky something, hard to unravel, but even harder to hate on. Though the resemblance in sound cannot be ignored, Adé adds singing to his repertoire to make his tracks memorable. “Replay,” tells the story of a not so hot ex, who changes into quite the opposite after a break up. His quirky crooning contains a charming raw characteristic that begs the audience to join him in lamenting the loss. For these reasons, The Glass House is giving Starting on JV, a B- for artistic hustle, leaving just enough room for growing pains.

On the Beat Chemistry level, The Glass House stamps the tape with another B minus. Tracks like “Disco Flow,” “Replay,” and “Always There” showcase the talents of D.O.P.E. Sunny from 368 Music Group. Starting on JV is an exhibition of Adé's range as an artist. He flows over a range of BPM, maxing out at “Disco Flow,” but managing to maintain his lyrical integrity nonetheless. More importantly though, it’s a song that continues to challenge hip hop’s traditions. Dope, right? Boom bap fans, never fear because Adé offers you several tracks which you can use to reminisce. In “Always There,” you’ll find the beloved Common (Sense) track sampled, “I Used to Love H.E.R.". Among a variety of producers found on the tape is the well known Best Kept Secret. Commonly the handy-work behind quite a few DMV artists, this duo helps Adé set the tone for Starting on JV, by cleverly using a go-go infused track as the tape opener. Though we were able to hear Phil Adé against a lot of different musical arrangements, the artist sacrificed the opportunity to have a cohesive sound. At times, it made the tape difficult to stay into but Phil Adé's lyrical prowess made up for it.

Phil Adé's wordplay is definitely on par with other members of the DMV music fam, and he shows off his gift of gab in “Blown Away,” where the artist poses a question to on-listeners. He raps, “They say I work too hard, I’ma kill myself, but to be the Fresh Prince I gotta will myself/I’m chronically ill/I don’t wanna heal myself/B/c I’m after the big banks like Uncle Phil myself".
This youthful banter persists in a number Adé's tracks, documenting a sense of humor full of irony and sarcasm. There’s depth in the tape, too. In “Thanks to U,” the artist's final soliloquy contains the lyrics: I’m living my dreams/Just join the game/I'm lifting my team/And no I’m the hottest ---/But I seem to be the next boat to join the mainstream/Whatever it may bring, bring it on I’m ready/I’m steady on a pace, Rich Petty in the race/confetti in my face/It’s time for celebration/I grind I been waiting for this chance. Chorus: “There’s been a lot of hatin’/And a lot of hesitation/And it took a lot of patience/But I think about made it.”
His insight and motivation is inspirational to artists and anyone who wants to pursue his or her dreams. He shows a self-awareness to which many can connect.

The Glass House strongly supports artists that are for challenging traditional boundaries tastefully and Phil Adé does just this. His creative intellect combined with smart production will definitely catapult the artist across genres and demographics. In fact, it’s a Glass House prediction that Phil will be a freshman starting on Varsity in no time.

Get the tape here!

“Keeping the pen bleeding and the cursor blinking…”

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