World Culture Music
Production: Papa_74126, George Young, 2Peece, Deaneaux, John Mooreland, TK Nasa, Charity E. Vaughn
BOBWS, by now hopefully you know that it stands for (Born on Black Wallstreet). From the very first bar Steph Simon picks back up where he left us all at. The last album "Visions From the Tisdale" was unapologetically Tulsa and was from an artist trying to get over the hill of doubt on whether he had chosen the right path. With stories of driving down 36th, to visiting local spots such as Taste Freeze and Gibbs. Visions From The Tisdale introduced people to Tulsa and made them feel as if they had been there before. But this time around with BOBWS Steph Simon is a different artist. Now he is the artist leaving no doubt on his lyrical skill, his position in the game, and more importantly his legacy all while being unapologetically him. With his Knees out.
You can purchase the album BOBWS on Steph Simon's site:
The album starts out with the title track BOBWS which is as stated before is a continuation from the Visions From the Tisdale flow. "Feel the ashes in the air, Ancestors underneath me, Kiss the ground and say a prayer". This has become a common theme for Steph Simon as seen on his song We On where he said 'Out the ashes, from the soil, grew a black wall seed offspring, coming back like karma, stay connected like a harness, til we grow like farmers, but I want it all brand new socks and draws.. The album BOBWS brings this idea to life with the track "Beneath the Ashes". Which has a very reflective feel on some of the decisions he has made while also paying homage to the spirits of Black Wallstreet that have helped him rise from dark times.
In an August 2016 interview Steph Simon talked about the line that he thought went over people's head on "Visisions From the Tisdale". (Read the whole interview here.)
The lead single of the album is "Upside". It's a fun funk inspired track that is a nice switch up from the normal production that Steph Simon usually raps on. The video is so important to the city. To see black people in front of a mansion that was once owned by a KKK member is the ultimate upside for a city that looked to not have any. Some of the kids in the video had no idea the impact of this moment in time. This was a moment for Black Wallstreet.
The next single of the album is ”Party N B's”, which is Steph Simon in his bag. From each bar to even the swag he shows in the the video. Steph Simon is at his best when he is making those picnic/family reunion type of records that was seen on popular tracks as "Chillin On it (Just vibin)”. And nobody has that 90s rapper body rock down better than him.
It wouldn't be a review without pointing out a few opportunities for improvement. Because there's always room to grow. Though I believe cohesively the album fits and has a great sound, "Right Time" is a track that could've been executed better. The sound of the track is noticeably lower than the others which interrupts the listener's experience. I found myself looking to see if I had accidentally turned down the volume only to realize that the track was just actually that much lower than the previous and the subsequent track. Also the transition from "Right Time" to "Outside" could've been better as there is a 7 second gap of white noise. Which seems like a lifetime to a listener. The silver lining is that the track is actually good and features George Young who has multiple production credits throughout the album. He provides a smooth player hook for Steph Simon to finesse to and help in the Right Time. One other nick pick thing about the album is that I would've liked to see Steph cappin' a little about rapper shit. Money, cars, clothes and the whole 9. Like it or not, it's Hip-Hop.
With a nick name like "Diamond" it's no wonder that the track "Diamond" would be one of Steph Simon's most gaudy of tracks on the album. And possibly has one of the MOST RAPPER LINES THAT STEPH SIMON HAS EVER SPIT!
One important thing to note about this album is that it doesn't shy away from controversy. Where some would like to let the dirt lie, Steph has chosen to dig deep to hopefully heal a city that is still hurting from a generation of sores. Beno Hall is a track that is meant to uncover the truth about a secret society of individuals who plotted on the whole landscape of a city. Their power was so great that they literally controlled and kept systematic barriers in place to run the city as they seen fit. The track Beno Hall flips this completely and makes it a meeting of Jim's that as the chorus sings out the creed to Beno Hall. "Be no lame, Be no lie, Be no Fraud... This is our Beno Hall".
SILVER AND GOLD literally needs it's own article. It's so much going on in this record. And it starts from the very first bar. "I'm from a city where gangsta's don't die they find God and they open a church." Silver and Gold is that duality the hypocrisy of church living and is sure to ruffle a few feathers. The track features long-time collaborator Dial Tone who is coming off a critically acclaimed album Tones Beach. Dial Tone makes sure to not disappoint as he himself showcases the internal battle that goes on. "With a brand new son... Tell him money ain't everything, at the same time get paid." and even sneaks in a double entendre about crytocurrency and his hood or as he says "My Blockfolio fool". Like I said this track is jam backed at 7:43. Following Dial Tone's verse can only be called Easter Sunday, as a pastor preaches from the pulpit his congregation then follows in song accompanied by the heavenliest of choirs that can really SANGGG. Lastly the surprise ad-lips of Flavor King "Keeng Cut" and his signature "OOPS" flavor adds that yang to the track. Lastly, forreal lastly, legendary saxophonists Eldredge Jackson adds some that jazz feel to the track. Like I said this track needs a whole nuther article. Because this is church and. THIS CHURCH AIN'T LETTIN OUT EARLY. This is as Steph Simon calls it "Ratchetness and "Righteousness"
The Promised Land is the last track on the album. By now were 12 songs in and have went through the roller coaster ride of emotions that is BOBWS. So the expectations are high, as with every great album ends with an explanation point. Visions saw 36 Street, which was a powerful track and really summed up the experience of the album. A person still becoming him while at the same time learning about the town where's he's from. With The Promised Land it is Steph Simon fully comfortable in his shoes while teaching about his town, his life, and his legacy. "World Culture quarterbackin', Reportin' live from the city where they made it happen, So welcome to the GAP BITCH!"
As the last seconds of the album countdown I can only reminisce on the transformation that the artist Steph Simon has become. He went from Becoming to Knowing. To sum up BOBWS it is Steph Simon being undoubtedly. About his lyricism, his position in the game, and most importantly his legacy. This album is unapologetically him.
You can purchase the album BOBWS on Steph Simon's site:
To find out more about Steph Simon follow his Social Media:
Album Instagran: @bobws.album
Spotify: @Steph Simon
As well as follow the Hashtab #BOBWS for updates and exclusive content.
With 2 successful hip-hop music festivals, a critically acclaimed album, sold out music documentary screening, and the lists goes on. Steph Simon has continuously done what has never been done before. One would think is there any more "Upside" left for him to achieve. But for Steph Simon what he's already accomplished doesn't even compare to what he has planned for next. It's with this attitude that Steph Simon drops his latest video "Upside".
What you do it fo? This is the question Steph Simon has been asking himself as the time to the premiere of his Moviementary (movie documentary) “Live From the Tisdale” draws closer. A question that the movie tries to give insight into just how difficult an answer this is. The moviementary centers around Steph Simon’s live performance titled “Live From the Tisdale” which you can find my review here. Also accompaning Steph is his band The Rowlands, which the name of the band is a story within itself that is discussed a little in the moviementary.
A cymbal taps lightly as it blends smoothly into the background. A bass kick starts followed by a few light hits of a snare. That's how you let the beat build. The cymbal clashes as a piano comes in soo soulfully playing along with the drums. But this still doesn't feel like the main ingredient, not just yet. A funky electric guitar pierces through the beat. That's that main ingredient I was searching for. Now this feels right. This feels familiar. The crowd starts to cheer and clap. Then he starts to rap, "Check. I can see my old school, use to be a young Hawk. my girl was a Miller Driller, that's where it all started...' I start to sing along having heard this song before.
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It's a little after 1AM and the Jabee concert had just wrapped up. The crowd had been standing on there feet for hours and it seemed like the night was over, but not quite yet. But like Jay-Z said "After the party, it's the after party", which the bouncers made sure that everybody was on 'THE LIST', of which I was surprised to be on (perks of the game)....