New Shady project, with Ryan Hemsworth on the boards.
Of the four albums/mixtapes Shady released this year, Distorted is the most polished. There is clear evidence of progress – Shady’s flow is sharper and more refined, his topical and thematic range is wider. As a person he seems more grown too; while his mildly unhinged drug smoking workaholic persona is still very much in tact, there is also a sharper aspirational focus and some new found stabs at social awareness. It’s fascinating to watch this guy mature on record at such a fast pace.
In some ways this album feels kin to MA’s Chandelier, at least as far as the sound of it. More restrained maybe, with less lysergic synth swirl, but still in the same ballpark. Which isn’t really surprising considering Ryan worked on Chandelier as well.
Distorted is not perfect, there are a few elements I’m not crazy about. The attempts at rock-ish choruses do nothing for me, neither do the few tries to temper and smooth out Shady’s natural intensity (that’s kinda like asking Batman to lighten up). But still, it’s an impressive piece from one of the years best and hardest working new rappers and props are in order.
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BONUS POINTS: New Shady video for ‘Hood Nigga’ from Shady’s last mixtape just popped up as I was typing this, it’s posted below.