KC CASSI REVIEWS 'BEST DAPPER ALIVE' - thePHANTOM* for a fanboy 4.5 Stars!
thePhantom* is no stranger to the KC music scene and with his wide range in genre, his latest release, "Best Dapper Alive", was a tasty all-genre vomit of tracks. Remember this name because I bet it's another one that rockets out of KC and exposes unique tones and sounds to the world.
The albums kicks off with the Satan/Heaven Again intro that really showcases the Midwest Hip-Hop/Rap flow. It gets you pumped for what's to come. Chalice is probably one of my favorite tracks on this album. The beat is perfect balance with catchy lyrics and a memorable chorus that makes you want to jump up and down. I said 'in my motha fuckin' Chalice" probably 5-6 times the day I listened to this track. The flow is comparable to Tech N9ne but dare I say thePhantom* has a bit more control of his quicker sections?! I think yes. He is almost like a Tech and Busta Rhymes baby with a Fonzworth Bentley style.
Mac Lethal jumps on Quit Cryin too showing even more local love. I'd say it's definitely a deep groove with very true lyrics! While the mainstreamers are doing nothing but crying, talents like thePhatom* are going to sneak up in the game and steal the show. Thus far in the review, I have yet to hear something I really didn't like and that didn't get me moving. This is definitely an album that you want to bump getting ready to go out, at the club or driving down the road with the windows down and the system up. Mount Olympus didn't impress me as some of the other tracks however, the drops were nice.
Hella Satisfied was a good riding around track and wasn't a bad track, it was just a little boring and sounded a little too much like some mainstream tracks that got played out quickly. I was stoked to move onto the next track, Good to Me because it featured one of my favorite local hip-hop artists, The Abnorm. It's a real grimy and in your face beat but once the hook hits, it gives you a real groovy Nappy Roots type sway. Other than some clever and well written lyrics in the verses, I could have done without Never Come Down all together. I would have had more bass in the instrumental and maybe a little less high hat.
I was back on the groove once Me and My Guitar came on. Great combination of classic R&B groove with a simple hip-hop beat on top make it that much more sweet with the vocal style. This track really showcases thePhantom* and his vast musical influence. While his flow is direct and unique, he reminds you that there is a whole other 'classic' side to him and his music. I would also refer to these style of songs as 'vagina music' because I see a lot of ladies groovin' to this one. At first listen, I didn't really get into The Makeout Song however, once I played the track with some bass behind it I was groovin' like no other. A neo-funk sound keeps your attention that is for sure, and I love the different tones and drags he does with his vocals in this one.
I couldn't help but love Stupid Shit even thought every part of my reviewer side told me not to. A very dubstep instrumental keeps your body movin and has some killer drops in it. Definitely a song you get hyphy too and throws you back to "S-T-U-P-I-D" from the late, great Mac Dre. Plus, who doesn't say stupid shit when they are drunk? Exactly! Blacked Out gives you some retro-soul with new age techno and I really do love the grooves during the hooks.
If you are going to have a track on your album reppin' your city, make sure you do it right like For KC. thePhantom* tells you nothing but the truth in his words and if you are a Kansas City native like myself, this song makes you feel patriotic towards this city. Hold your lighters up, sway to the side and sing along to the incredibly groovy hook making you feel the deep R&B influences in his music. It's a very unique style and very rare that people pull it off. The mixture of hard and sensitive in one performer is attempted by many but only a few pull it off (i.e. LL Cool J).
The album won't let you get comfortable in your slow groove for too long though because it brings back the beats with Miami Nights. Definitely a club joint but it has a good mix of different styles in the song so it kept me very interested. Right when I wanted a change up, he gave me the change up. This was the first track that made it to my personal playlist simply because I felt like my body had no choice, it had to dance. Wile my body was still moving we went into Let's Make Music, and that they did. This hip-hop/jazz fusion sound is definitely for the grown and sexy. "They say I'm all about the night life. I say I'm all about the right life" is probably in my top 10 lyric quotes of all times now because it hit home being 'KC Cassi'.
Eye is Watching kept that Jazz sound in the beat too but it definitely had more of the fusion hip-hop incorporated in it. This track has a classic sound and because of the style and the lyrics, can be heard by all genre music lovers and draw people in. Isn't is wonderful that such talented and ambitious people reside right here in our backyard? What's Going On hit me hard with the bass driving in the car and lead into lyrics that will definitely make you think on some things. While there are bad things happening all over the world and here in KC, it inspired art like this track that end up inspiring people to do more and be better human beings.
Wrapping up the album is This Is It (which immediately made me think of Michael Jackson) and it had me right off the bat with the horns. A big band, Hip-Hop beat makes you bob to the beat and thePhantom*'s unique vocal style really get you sucked into this song. I loved the chorus and the hooks too because they delivered just enough Jelly to the Peanut Butter. It's a great way to end a story telling album as the lyrics include a lot of personal experiences and how the independent artist dream started. This is definitely an album you want to pick up and add to your local collection. With everyone and their mom out there thinking they can rap and be a DJ, it is refreshing to find a KC native that not only has the talent, but wants to pursue the dreams of living his dreams with that talent. There is so much emotion and sentiment behind his words that it's hard not to fall in love with the music. Check out thePhantom* with the links below or catch him live with me March 1 2014 at Davey's Uptown Rambler Club. 4.5 Stars out of 5 from KC Cassi and I look forward to see how the music transcribes over to the audience at the live show!
"KC Cassi" - Cassiopia DeMars
Review Completed 2/20/14