Apollo Brown is easily one my favorite current producers still bringing those classic samples and boom baps to hip-hop and he’s been on a tear of sorts as of late. He’s had his hand in numerous projects and has paired up with more than a few select rappers to release joint projects of his own. Next up to the plate is Locksmith; I’m not all that familiar with him or his music but he definitely falls into that category of rapper that Apollo Brown likes to work with. He’s got that old school, conscious/storytelling style and he tries to convey some sort of message or bar with meaning in every song. He’s a solid MC, but he doesn’t really excite or blow you away – he can rap and the messaging is fine, but his actual wordplay, rhyme schemes, and metaphors are about as basic as they come for a ’90s influenced MC. The same can be said about Brown’s production here. It’s solid like pretty much all of his work but this is especially simplistic and generic. If this came out in the days when boom bap was at the top, the production would just be average to below average by those standards. He definitely coasted on this one and it showed. It’ll still make the catalog because I still love a good Apollo Brown beat but No Question is one of his weakest efforts yet.
Back in my element, under Hell I’ve went
No embellish, that hellish stint swellin’ myself was tense
Forced out like the Palestinian settlements
Or, underdeveloped American kids with melanin
Mail him his reparations my reputation proceeds the cause
– “In My Element”
Have you heard No Question? What’d you think about it? What’d you think about Apollo Brown’s production? What’d you think about Locksmith’s skills as an MC? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions for the album.