Review by Aidan Severs
Download this album: Sphereofhiphop.com
There isn’t much about P.H.I.L.T.H.Y that his bio over at the Blat Pack website won’t tell you; the self-styled Coolest Dude in Sunday School is a socially active musician inspired by Kanye West’s debut album. With his Kevin Nottingham-sponsored download E.P. ‘A Little Light For You’ (or ‘ALL4U’) doing the rounds on the internet it seemed best to find out the deal on this MC who grew up as a Michigan church choirboy.
The humble hook has been given a bad rap in the Hip Hop world; much to the genre’s detriment on the whole. Here is an artist who understands the importance of a hook – something on which to hang the rest of the song, something with which to reel the listener in. In no way does a decent chorus devalue a Hip Hop track, nor does it make it ‘not proper’ or poppy. If anything, rather than distracting from the lyrics in the verse, the hooks emphasizes what P.H.I.L.T.H.Y and his guests are saying. P.H.I.L.T.H.Y’s musicianship glows as he takes KuroiOto’s production and turns them into songs, not just tracks. Yellokake’s vocals on ‘A Little Light Interlude’.
At only 6 tracks long this joyful release is a breath of fresh air. It is bright with positivity and it glows with likeability. P.H.I.L.T.H.Y is a natural on the mic and it’s his rhythm and flow which is most impressive. Lyrically things aren’t complicated – P.H.I.L.T.H.Y speaks plainly and clearly, and that’s O.K. Although there is no explicit gospel message on this E.P. it’s fairly obvious that this record is coming from someone with a spiritual mindset. P.H.I.L.T.H.Y could easily use his skills and charms to bring a more upfront and much-needed message of redemption.
The fact that Sareem Poems and Ozay Moore (previously known as Othello of Lightheaded) feature on this project is an immediate indicator of the style of sounds on offer here – both MCs contribute solid verses with Sareem’s being a more spoken-word style piece on the project-focusing ‘A Little Light Interlude’.
So, how much does this little light really shine? Like a candle flame? Like an energy-saving bulb? Like fluorescent strip lights? No, none of those, for various reasons, would satisfy by way of a metaphor. Could we go so far as to say sunlight? Perhaps. This is a little ray of sunshine, perfect for all year round listening. Perfect for reminding yourself that life isn’t all bad and that many of us have plenty to be thankful for and much to be joyful about. In amongst the glut of recent almost shoegazing Christian rap albums this is a beacon of exemplary Hip Hop – more like this please!