I’ll be honest, I was somewhat skeptical about this one. What I’ve heard from Gene before was proficient but didn’t leave a strong impression. Meanwhile, Parallel Thought are a very talented producton collective but despite their recent work with G-Side and GMane I still don’t mentally associate them with southern rap. So I gave it a chance without really expecting much, and it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. The more I listened to their collaboration the more it won me over.
I underrated Gene. His talent isn’t immediately obvious but it becomes more apparent with every track you hear, as he reveals surprising lyrical dexterity and a good stylistic range. His subject matter isn’t particularly original, many many others have covered similar ground, but his take on it is honest and perceptive. And PT do right by the potential that the rapper shows. The album is described as ‘more suited for cruising than clubbing’ so naturally you can expect some comfortable pockets of riding music for Gene to lean into. But they also throw him a few curveballs with beats that aren’t typical country rap fare, and that tactic pays off well. In fact, the moments where the juxtaposition between Gene’s traditionalism and Parallel Thought’s experiments is most pronounced turn out to be some of the album’s most interesting.
There is room for improvement here of course, but as an introduction to both Gene and Parallel Thought’s southern side this album is very effective. It’s a fine set of neo-contry rap tunes, deserving of a spot on the same shelf with Big Krit and KD and DJ Burn One and others in the similar vein.