Friday, January 24, 2014

A brief review of Step Brothers' "Lord Steppington"

Evidence and The Alchemist coming together for this "Lord Steppington" release is a very good thing in my view. Their current track records speak for themselves. Alchemist continues to be one of the dopest (and most underrated) producers in hip hop, Evidence, while slightly underrated, has done very good for himself behind the boards and on the mic, as evident with his "Weatherman LP" and "Cats & Dogs" albums. I can honestly tell you going into this album I'm expecting an Album of the Year candidate. Let's see if that's the case!

Release date- January 21, 2014


Backed by a memorable Big Daddy Kane sample courtesy of “Ain’t No Half Steppin”, Alc and Evidence starts things on a slow but dope note with “More Wins”, which finds both artists claiming more wins to already impressive and underrated track records.

Speaking of dopeness, there’s a very good amount of it on this album, including “Dr. Kimble”, which has no connection to Harrison Ford’s character in 1993’s “The Fugitive”, but you can say they’re mic doctors on this song, “Tomorrow” (featuring Rakaa & Blu),  the raw, live sound of “Byron G” (featuring Domo Genesis and The Whooliganz, also produced by Evidence), and “Legendary Mesh”. While Domo and the Whooliganz rock things nicely on “Byron G”, the next two guest spots shine a little brighter, respectively. The Styles P assisted “No Hesistation” is tight as hell and the beat sounds like a joint Sporty Theivz rocked on their mixtape from last year (“Hip Hop Theivz”) and “See The Rich Man Play” was tailor made to fit Roc Marciano and it works like a charm. It’s interesting that I thought “Swimteam Rastas” was on the verge of getting a little tiresome, but man my opinion changed at about 2 minutes in when the beat switches (and it switches again at the 3 minute mark), very good touches there. “Mums in the Garage”, featuring Action Bronson, is good, however, I’m not feeling Action Bronson like I once did. I initially denied he ever sounded like Ghostface Killah prior to this, but listening to this guy more, well, there’s a fine line between paying homage/being influenced and directly/indirectly sounding like that same person, and he’s starting to cross it in my view.

Considering the talents involved, it’s a little surprising to hear the second half of the album slip just a little bit. “Banging Sound” (featuring Fashawn) lyrically is on point, but I didn’t care for the beat too much and “Step Masters” was forgettable. Things do pick up in a major way with the banger “Just Step”.

When you take a look at the quality of hip hop nowadays, this album from Alchemist and Evidence is a breath of fresh air, and even with a few missteps, it’s still solid as hell, especially on the production end. Lyrically it’s just as good as anything that Alc and Evidence have been a part of and I feel this is one of the first dope albums of the new year. 4 stars.

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