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Bas delivers nearly flawless album in "Too High to Riot"

Richie Kamtchoum

Tue April 5, 2016 7:36 pm

Dreamville Records, a label founded by rap superstar J. Cole, has found moderate success thus far. The label houses a talented in-house crew, from rappers, to singers, to producers, to engineers and label executives. However, not many outside fans know of the label's artists other than J. Cole. That may soon change with the release of Bas' second studio album, Too High to Riot. The LP finds the rapper delving into the themes of egoism, relationships, family issues and expectations, all the while being "too high" and experimenting with drugs. The outcome is a fearless  and nearly flawless execution of cohesive production, loosely conceptual lyrics, and impressive rapping over 36 minutes. From a technical standpoint, Bas is a better than average lyricist, but his flow and delivery set him apart from most up and coming rappers. He has a Jay-Z like effortless approach to beats, while also showing a knack for multi-entendre rapping.

The intro "Too High to Riot" perfectly displays his rapping ability with lines such as "I'm too high for games and I'm too high for liars, **** TSA cause I'm too high for flying, **** NSA cause them satellites too high they do all the spying, **** all the leaders that's too high off power, They do all the lying and treat us like prisoners...". Lines such as those display the outward critique Bas has of the government, and the theme of being too accomplished to deal with minuscule issues. This is in direct contrast to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, the new standard bearer for hip-hop albums. Bas strikes an interesting balance between narcissism, humility, and self-awareness on Too High to Riot. Songs such as "Live For" show Bas at a vulnerable place, directly in the middle of the album as he grieves over failed relationships and the loss of his beloved aunt: "Busy on the road, I couldn't make it back home You couldn't make it that long, I'll never forgive my self". As the album winds down, Bas finds himself perched above the madness in "Penthouse". He compares his hectic life to that of Atlas, rapping "Die by my word, that's an author's fate, So how your shoulders holding up fine, great? I got the weight of the world on mine, I'm straight". In the closing song, Bas returns to a humbling position and decides he may as well fight the fight, in "Black Owned Business".

Bas understands how to sequence an album and finds a good rhythm and pace. He sticks to his strong suit, subtle production with versatile lyricism that teeters on the edge of brilliant. In regards to the production, Bas enlists  a small core of producers, with others sprinkled in. Ron Gilmore, Ogee Handz, DikC, and Cedric Brown handle most of the production which makes for a cohesive sounding project. The production coupled with the arrangements of sounds placed throughout the album shows an artist that places musicianship as an important staple, and shows that Bas is still growing with vast improvement from Last Winter. Bas has already amassed millions of streams on soundcloud, along with stunning visuals to accompany the project. If you're looking for a top-tier rapper in 2016, play Too High to Riot from to back and look for Bas to blow up in the near future.

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