Racking up a handful of high-profile features alongside the likes of Future, Lil Durk and biggest inspiration Lil Baby, who apparently motivated him to pursue a hip-hop career with a televised performance, Kentucky rapper EST Gee released three projects on last year, two the year before, and two more the year before that. Apparently successfully following the NBA YoungBoy model, which still baffles me as to how these artists still place themselves in the upper echelon every time they release a project, their latest ANGRY It arrives in a week without much competition. A relatively standard trap album that doesn’t do much to introduce Gee as a new star with a unique approach to take into account, there’s a lot of derivative material and non-lead beats, which is somewhat unfortunate as Gee has a strong voice. and percussive who sometimes has a lot to say about the difficulties he faces in his life. However, with most of the tracks strongest at the beginning, the album falls flat on its conclusion.
Things certainly get off to a strongly worded start with the opening “PRAY YOU DIE IN SURGERY”, which, unfortunately for this listener, if someone were to look at my screen in public, is one of the best tracks on the album. Over a derivative but punchy beat (I like the little echoes of the twinkling piano in the back), Gee delivers his more emotional side, complete with believable breaks in his voice, while giving listeners an overview of some of the challenges. that you are facing. she had to face and the people she has lost along the way. The image of delivering a message to his late mother that she may not see him in heaven because of the person his grief has transformed him into is quite powerful. Gee also gets a bit melodic in the second half of the track, and that’s certainly not his strong suit. “BALL LIKE ME TOO” and “THE ONE & ONLY” definitely do nods too, but both are mostly good because Gee copies aspects that have already made other rap hits stand out. The former uses the same sampler from “Diamonds Are Forever” as Kanye, making the track cinematic in the same way that it bolsters the atmosphere with impromptu growls, while the latter is a bit more original as Gee goes through some faster flows. : until he copies the melody from Drake’s “Rich Flex” and reminds us how similar the two instrumentals are.
The track “BLOW UP”, unlike most others, makes it clear just how much of a Lil Baby fan Gee is. When critics of the genre throw around the much-maligned term “mumble rap,” this is really what they should be envisioning. Gee sounds like he’s trying not to fall asleep on this one, his voice low and crackling with a lack of effort, and his words blend together enough that a lyric sheet becomes a necessity. “SLAM DUNK” continues to navigate on autopilot, feeling like a distillation of modern trap status after the genre’s biggest innovators begin to move away from the trendy sound. The flute rhythm is extremely tiring, though one positive thing Gee continues to demonstrate is his ability to vary his voice and make it sound like it’s part of his own song at times. However, a real feature shows up here, at Young Scooter, which does a pretty decent job. “STAY FOCUSED” keeps the energy rolling with ATM sounds, a hungrier flow, and a more complicated beat with some ear-catching synths. The extended chorus dampens the beat and lets some air out of the candles, but it’s also nice to hear some more specific lyrics about Gee’s family situation. “DROP TOP” is a bit brighter and more melodic, as Gee alternates a rougher vocal with singing, which could have been an interesting contract if his melodic stuff hadn’t quickly brought the whole track crashing down.
All my complaints about “BLOW UP” are exacerbated much more on the track “25MIN FREESTYLE”. Wasting one of the more appealing beats, Gee essentially sounds like she’s rapping the valley girl stereotype, making for a very off-putting delivery and a difficult listen. It’s followed by “HOTBOYS,” which is a hilarious title for Gee having recruited the violently homophobic Boosie Badazz for a feature. It’s a very unfortunate truth, but Boosie’s nasal cadence and lush energy is exactly what the album needed, especially amid Gee’s more melodic moans. “US” is another one that rises above some of the sludge, as Gee demonstrates some of his most unique and innovative flows in a breathy tone, but ends abruptly as the shortest track here before he could unleash his full potential. .
Gee further doubles down on the pitch melodies as the album draws to its conclusion, with “IF I STOP NOW” and “LIE TO ME SOME MORE” both resting firmly in that field. “UNDEFEATED” sees him returning to his strengths of opening moments lyrically and offering a bit of wordplay fun over a trap instrumental, but still needs a bit more innovation to stand out. Things close out with Gee starring as a friend on “KADAS SONG,” a friend who is thankfully a bit better at singing.
While it’s clear the elements are here for something solid if they’re added up the right way, it seems like another possible case of oversaturation distilling the quality of the finished product. Landing the odd hit with a lead verse here and there won’t do much for her craft as an album artist, but the right mix of people in the room and the right amount of patience could bode well for something down the road.
Favorite Songs: THE ONE & ONLY, PRAY YOU DIE IN SURGERY, USA.
Least Favorite Track: 25MIN FREESTYLE