In this day and age the next album is only one post away. That's because music is released by the push of a button. Almost simultaneously all your music can be available to the masses. Gone are the early childhood memories of waiting until Tuesday for an album to drop and wanting to be the first one of your friends to bump it in your speakers. An album drop was an event. Numerous times I cleared my whole day and shut door, hidden in my room I would engulf myself in the world that the album created through it's musical production and it's vivid lyrics. These times are long gone. Except for when you talk about the album VSXO. 1st Verse who released the project late last year went against the norm and only released physical copies of the album (granted he would send you the files), but this was a bold statement, a $30 physical CD in this new world of free music. Post Napster. An artist would never be successful using this model. That's when you realize that 1st Verse isn't your everyday artist.
If you know Oklahoma Hip Hop then you know that 1st Verse has been a pioneer of the scene. One of Tulsa's elite MC's, 1st Verse has gained the respect of his peers and helped bring Hip-Hop into downtown. He's one part member of the legendary Oil House collective group that is filled with every element of hip-hop. His legend proceeds him as he undoubtedly has a classic album that he released over 7 years ago called TCTAS (The City That Always Sleeps). So after dropping a classic album you would think that his discography would be crazy. But like a hiring manager looking through work an applicants work history, there was a gap in his resume. After a classic album like TCTAS, there is a large gap between albums. That's where VSXO comes in to fill this void.
I know what your thinking. Why review the album now? Because in a world of microwave music. This album was so jam packed that I had to take my time with it. Every song meant something. Every bar is more than clever word play. Every beat was selected intentionally to create a cohesive project. The truth why I haven't put out a review for this album is because I had to live the album first. Anyone can do a quick meaningless reaction video. But what do you really get out of that except for the noise of the day. This album needed to be jammed while at work, or playing in the background while playing 2K. You had to bob your head to the beat while cruising down the B.A. while also rappin your favorite part. You had to skip through the tracks to find that song that expressed that you were feeling when your down. This album had to be lived. That's why I call this review 90 Days Past Due.
VSXO. To the cognac drinkers they recognize this title. VSOP meaning Very Superior, and the XO meaning Extra Old over 6 years. Which means that this album is a superior quality product that was well worth the 6 year gap between projects. Even the 1st song "VSXO Intro" sets the mode for the album. It's cool and laid back ad-libs mesh well with the track's production, it's hear you start to wonder $30? And that's exactly what 1st Verse explains in the first 4 bars of Track 2 "30 Dollar Copy".
The 30 Dollar Copy,
Ohhhh. That's why it's 30 Dollars. The reason why is because this is art. This is classic 1st Verse. And this is just the beginning of the album, like a warm up. The way he gets off on the track leaves no doubt in your mind that this is gonna be crack. This is audio dope. For people who appreciate wordplay, metaphors, and a deadly pen. This is it. Or in 1st Verse's words, "This ain't off the dome, it was written like Quincey. Written like my fist was tight, a different type of wizardry".
Track 3 is "Moor Flex", which is was the first single released off VSXO. (Read our review of the single by clicking the picture below.) The singles on VSXO seem to follow a formula of being the only tracks to appear on streaming sites, they also have a supporting visual video. It's a formula that works well and is spaced out enough to bring listeners back to the album. Maybe even purchase a 2nd copy. There are currently 3 singles for the album which include; "Moor Flex", "Boss Up", and "Find Yo Self".
When comparing these singles "Find Yo Self" is noticeably different than the other 2. This track is a break from the hard spitting bars and clever metaphors. This is actually a song that is almost like a mental break. It actually shows 1st Verse's versatility to be able create a song where the listener doesn't have to try to decipher every line. Just like the video, they can simply sit back and enjoy the vibe.
"Make it Yours" is a continuation of tracks that seem to be deep thinking tracks. This goes into even the next track "Everybody Got Needs". That is what makes this album so great is that it seems to take you through the highs and lows of life. One of the most memorable lines from album has to come from the track "All Of The Players" where he spits. "My man took a charge like his feet was planted. And stayed solid like he studied the street commandments." It's lines like these that make you sit back and appreciate 1st Verse's pen. Even the song Twitter Feed has one of the realest lines I've ever heard about Social Media. We are all on our phones all day so it's no wonder why these playgrounds of social interaction can stir up so much emotion.
But somebody said somethin on the Twitter Feed,
When it comes to making music that really makes you feel somethin, you gotta mention "Dawari Song". The thing that separates a rapper from an artist is that a rapper puts words together sometimes with no thought or no substance. But an artist, an artist can put their life into every track and it provides a therapy for both the artist and the listener. It was days that I personally was going through things and this song was the therapy. This song is reminiscent of a Jay-Z's "Glory". It's a personal conversation that 1st Verse is having with his son, while the listener is like a fly on the wall seeing everything play out. This one song has helped him along this journey. 1st Verse has gone through soo much, but when you see him out you wouldn't couldn't tell. He hides his emotions well. But this track was him getting out those emotions. That's what makes this one of favorite songs on the album.
"Tncs" it's one of those smooth tracks that you can just vibe to and appreciate 1st Verse's wordplay. His delivery is just so smooth. This is versatile 1st Verse, as he goes in out of flows and compresses some of the most complex syllables in bars that many have trouble saying in a sentence. I told you he could rap. He ends the track like someone cheering for the people's champ that the system has labeled as a criminal. He shouts the words, "They'll Never Catch Squeak Bro!"
And how do you end a classic album? For 1st Verse it's the same way you start a classic album. Using the same layed back beat from track one. .You might think that he's just gonna let the track ride out. WRONG! He gives you straight bars!!!!! On that same track he just let ride out, this time he leaves no doubt that this is a Very Superior and Extra Old, and definitely worth $30,
Pop the bottle open VSXO
I know no name bulletproof,
The legend of the 30 dollar copy. Anyone who has been out to a hip-hop event in Tulsa lately has seen a tall bearded individual moving throughout the crowd. One by one individuals line up to greet this bearded fellow giving various handshakes and taking selfies. His jacket swaying heavily from the wrapped and concealed $30 copy. It's an amazing sight to see this bearded figure named 1st Verse make his way through the crowd. It only takes just one pause between handshakes and a swift motion to his jacket reveals the legendary $30 copy of his album VSXO. If your lucky enough to see this transaction occur be appreciative, because in this day of impersonal digital streaming 1st Verse is defying all marketing plans and is going platinum..... his way.
I've never seen a worker rock so many jewels (never!). This is undoubtedly the boss Jay-Z talking his boss talk on the record "Bam". Nowadays the lines between who's really running the show and someone who is just putting on a show are getting more and more blurred. In many cases it isn't the loudest person in the room. But everyone wants to be a boos right? But as Jay-Z states again, "Everybody's bosses 'til it's time to pay for the office. 'Til them invoices, separate the men from the boys". 1st Verse is an artist who is also challenging all those who talk the boss talk, to walk the boss walk."