Since January has been such a slow month for new releases it’s given me time to go back and check out some projects that flew under my radar. One such project was The Easy Truth by Apollo Brown & Skyzoo. I’m not really sure how because I’m usually all over anything by Apollo Brown. Clouds is still to this day one of my all-time favorite beat tapes. He’s just an immense producer and I may not know much about Skyzoo outside of slight name recognition, but he’s got Apollo’s approval and that’s more than enough for me.
“Another day another dime, another way to kill some time
Another tester to the crowd, point blank at the sublime, another way to get us paid from orchestrating up a line
And the Genius annotation and debating with the blind”
The production, my god the production, is world class stuff and quintessential East coast hip-hop complete with the sound of crackling vinyl. Apollo Brown is a sampling monster, he always finds some of the best hidden gems and flips them into some beautiful shit. “A Couple Dollars” and “The Flyest Essence” utilize some of my all-time favorite hip-hop samples (I don’t know the names), “Basquiat on the Draw” has a filthy loop that had me nodding my head the whole way through, “On the Stretch & Bob Show” is such a dope emulation of a golden era radio freestyle, and “Care Packages” is pure hip-hop bliss with knocking percussion, piano keys, and soulful vocal sampling accenting the track throughout. Apollo Brown is an absolute master of the art form in the same vein as the J Dillas and 9th Wonders of the world and The Easy Truth is some of his best work to date.
“We’re going o.t. on the starters and small factions
And throw the rock through the fort like Mark Jackson
This rap shit turned into HORSE and it’s all practice
My dress code will get me fined, more blackness
Sixteens, I’m less Curry, More Westbrook
So stand thirty feet out the line is all ad-libs”
I’ve only ever been vaguely acquainted with Skyzoo, hearing a few songs here and there, but there’s no denying that he can rap his ass off. He takes every track through a lyrical exercise in a way that’s sorely missing from a lot of current artists. He’s a throwback to an era where lyricism matters and he’s a perfect pairing for Brown’s boom bap production. For me, this is hip-hop in the purest form and it’s a beautiful thing to hear, it’s a shame it took me this long to get around to it.
Have you heard The Easy Truth? What’d you think about it? Did you love the classic hip-hop sound as much as I did? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
The Easy Truth is hip-hop in it's purest form with Apollo Brown taking us through a master class of producing and sampling, and Skyzoo taking each track through a lyrical exercise. It's a beautiful, refreshing album that shows exactly why Apollo Brown is one of my all-time favorites.