I was fortunate to snag an early preview of The #SWOUP Serengeti (thanks Ray), and pretty much loved it. My expectations for it were very high, and the fact that it managed to meet most of them without letting me down too hard is pretty significant. I wouldn’t claim this as a perfect mixtape, but it’s a damn good one, one of the best I’ve heard all year. Granted, I’m biased – I’ve been posting and loving SMT’s singles and waiting for The #SWOUP Serengeti to drop for a few months now.
While waiting, I’ve tried to get others to drink the same Kool-Aid, with admittedly mixed results. Whenever I introduce somebody to Spark Master Tape’s music, the first response is usually guarded. Initially it comes off as gimmicky, and that’s understandable. But I would urge to look past that, to treat the slowed vocals not as an affectation of trendy weirdness but simply as a production tactic. I don’t know why SMT opts for it; maybe to further the air of mystery surrounding him, maybe it’s a stylistic choice, maybe he simply doesn’t like how his voice sounds. But whatever his reasons, it works. It’s effective because it’s a flourish that rests on a base of very well executed fundamentals. This is a guy who raps his ass off, consistently picks (creates?) interesting and unusual production, and then arranges these pieces into an awesomely demented collage which somehow reminds of both Madvillain and 3-6 Mafia at the same damn time. And then he slows the vocals down.