So I find myself in a unique position to be able to give my thoughts and first reactions to a project released by a personal friend. That friend in question being frequent LLF collaborator Axcess. It’s simultaneously an honor and immense pressure to give my honest opinions about something personal. But if there’s one thing my friends know about me, it’s that I always keep it all the way real with them, and that’s exactly what I plan to do with his latest release Rebel Against Society.
I think with each successive project he’s grown more and more confident in his direction and his sound, and it reached it’s highest level yet on his best project to date, Growth. In particular, I felt like the production was the most cohesive it’s been, with it’s light, soulful beats lending themselves perfectly to his musical stylings. It was a trend I hoped would continue into the future and I’m glad to say that for the most part it did. While it’s not all original production, his beat selection was very well thought out and songs like “Open Up Your Eyes”, “Last Hope”, and “Last Forever” do a really good job of conveying his vision. “Save Me” was one of my favorite songs off Growth and one of my favorite songs he’s ever released, so revisiting it for a Part 2 was a smart move. My only big gripe with the beats had to be with the song “Just Talkin'”. It’s hard, grimy production just felt out of place with the other songs on the project.
“Too many soldiers and not enough Kings
See, our castle doomed
Because the truth isn’t attractive
And until we notice, we’ll forever remain captive”
Lyrically, he’s really starting to sound more and more comfortable. From a purely technical aspect (metaphors, wordplay, density, etc.) I can’t say he’s amongst raps upper tier yet but he doesn’t necessarily try to be either. What appeals about Axcess to me most is the earnestness in which he speaks about life, the struggles of trying to make it, being true to yourself, and spreading positivity. Particularly on the opening spoken word, “Strings”, where he really goes in on the things he sees troubling our generation and missing from hip-hop. These are themes that anybody can relate to, and ones that artists like Chance the Rapper and Mick Jenkins have proven can truly be viable in hip-hop. I hope he continues to push down this route and really lets loose with what’s on his mind because at times it can feel like he’s pulling punches just when you really start to vibe with him. Rebel Against Society was another big step forward for Axcess and I can’t wait to see him grow even more on the next one.
Have you heard Rebel Against Society? What’d you think about it? Do you like his push for positivity in hip-hop? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the mixtape.
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