Your Old Droog - It Wasn't Even Close
Reviewed by David Taylor
Label : N/A
Genre : Hip Hop
I first discovered Your Old Droog when I checked his 2017 album ‘Packs’ so I was late to the party but was stunned with the incredible story telling flow and unmistakable Brooklyn accent that the MC rocks.
Close your eyes and you could easily be mistaken for thinking that it was Nas that you were listening to and his flow, coupled with the wide and varied soundscapes supplied by the camp of producers he works with makes ‘Packs’ a very dope album indeed.
This latest body of work is available on limited edition Orange vinyl with a bonus Blue 7” test pressing as well as traditional double LP in quality gatefold sleeve. You can also cop it on cassette or C.D if you so wish.
The cover art is collectible in itself and is the handy work of Emily Catherine, a freelance illustrator from Nottingham; go to the link at the end of this review to check for her work it is superb.
On to the music; the album goes straight in with leading track ‘Gyros’ a moody, deep little stepper in which Your Old Droog’s Brooklyn drawl flows over a creeping atmospheric loop.
The strongest point of the album for me is definitely the bars. Many tracks such as ‘RST’ involve no beat and just let the words spit over a haunting loop. ‘RST’ features a guest verse from Doom which is dope. Similarly ‘Tried by 13’ has a barely decipherable beat sitting underneath a breathy keys loop.
Parts of the album have got a proper cinematic feel, on ‘Babushka’ Droog lets his storytelling prowess flow at full capacity over a set of string loops with no beat and the track whisks you away on an old black and white detective film tip.
The large part of the album is produced by Sadhu Gold a beat scientist of a similar ilk to Madlib who is creating mad heat on the underground jungle drums of the US Hip Hop scene. Also boasting beats laboured by Hip Hop producers par excellence Alchemist and Evidence the album steps up to the scales as heavyweight in sense of both rhymes and beats.
‘Devil Springs’ features an ingenious use of string loops that give way to some wacky sitar notes coupled with a chopped up vocal phrase that haunts the beat. To describe the track as experimental would be conservative.
‘Ugly Truth’ steps up the pace with a stuttering beat treading on an eerie synth sample which weaves its way around Droog’s bars with ease.
As well as the production pushing boundaries the song structure is far from traditional with each arrangement making up its own rules, yet another aspect of the album that makes it stand up and be taken notice of.
If you are appreciate lyrical content and flow then this is your bag for sure but purely for the sake of moving Hip Hop forward and in the spirit of experimentation you should definitely check this album out.
Also be sure to check for ‘Packs’ and the rest of Your Old Droog’s back catalogue to get your fill of an M.C who is setting the bar high for others and putting out dope Hip Hop of the highest order.