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Nimpeo’s Unknown ish #8: Uptown XO – Colour de Grey
Uptown XO of Diamond District released the album Colour de Grey 29th of January, 2013. It has gotten a fair bit of attention on RG, mostly due to @DetroitLeprechaun. Make sure you also read his review if you haven’t. It can be found here!
1. Grey Poupon (Feat. Messiah)
2. Spread Love
3. Everyday (Feat. AB The Pro)
4. Finding My Way
5. Soul Value
6. Reflection Eternal (Feat. Docigapom & Benji
7. Poor Mans Copyright
8. They Say
9. XO Skeleton
10. Evolution (Feat. AB The Pro)
11. Needs And Wants
12. If I Should Die (Feat. Danni)
13. Grey Area (Feat. U St. Face)
The album starts out with the intro Grey Poupon, which sounds like a borderline modern biblical speech. It sets the tone and has some soothing background music. We already know that this is going to fit the “conscious” rap label, but how it will approach this is yet to be heard.
The second track felt really refreshing. Spread Love is backed by a very nice string sample and soft drums. The beat is very atmospheric, even with little bass. This gives Uptown XO room to express his mind freely. The bars have a lot of pop and movie references. It doesn’t attempt to be much deeper than it is and is a light start to the album.
As the album continues the production sounds soulful, a little poppy and gives me an early Kanye-ish feeling. This is not a bad thing, the production could appeal to a lot of people and the beats sound well crafted. The track Soul Value has some really nice voice samples, a little reminiscent of some African folk music if I’m not mistaken.
The rhyming is heavy on references, but with a serious undertone. Most of the album is centered around poverty, crime and social problems, often having a positive viewpoint and encouraging change. There is not very much that sticks out lyrically though. There is not very much unique to the lyricism. A positive message, inspired by the big 90s rappers, a touch of conspiracy theories, longing for change. It’s not bad, not by any means, but it feels like I’ve heard most of it before. His delivery is full of soul, his flow is on point and very smooth. He definitely knows how to rap and he rides the beats well.
This project could probably be a lot better if Uptown included more narratives and concepts in his rhymes. Something like we hear on Needs And Wants to make him stick out from the crowd. Songs like Everyday have good concepts, but are do not go completely through with them.
The songs are structured nicely to the beats and everything fits well. The whole album is well made, but it takes few chances and never going too far away from the norm. It is conscious, well made and has good production. This could be enjoyed by most rap fans to a certain degree, but there is not much more to it. Most people would enjoy it, but fewer will love it. Definitely worth a listen, but not the greatest release of this year.
Rating on a scale from “Don’t listen – 10/10”:
- May be enjoyable under the influence of alcohol/drugs
- Don’t listen
Some things that I’d like to edit about my review and points I’d like to add:
Post-review I began to notice some fantastic one-liners, especially in the song “Finding My Way.” Two lines were especially great that I hadn’t discovered until after the review: “With the snakes in the grass, who wanna see a leg?” and “Still blind with 40-40 visions up in my eyes.” His lyricism towards the end of this last verse really redeems the unappealing traveling concept at the beginning of the verse. Although I still am not a fan of the production on this particular song.
Also, “XO Skeleton” turned out to be even greater than I thought. Thanks to @KJones77 , we discovered and undertone of his transformation from basketball to rapping, and I uncovered a cryptic line, “what’s underneath when the coast is gone.”
The one song I’d really like to elaborate more on is “Reflection Eternal.” The strings production is unique to the album, and it has 2 guest rappers, making it stand out a bit. Although it is still my least favorite of the initial 9 songs, both XO and Doe Cigapom actually do great. Doe delivers an interesting scenario of a mother taking all of the cash from a dad and abandoning the father and son in the ghetto, where the son feels closer to demons. Benji’s verse, which truly irritated me at once, is still below the standards of the album, but not awful. I have a distaste for his voice, but I have noticed that the terrible spirit is actually him quoting one of his former homies for an extended period of time.
My rank of tracks:
- Spread Love 10/10
- They Say 10/10
- XO Skeleton 9.5/10
- Soul Value 9/10
- Poor Mans Copywright 9/10
- Finding My Way 8.5/10
- Grey Poupon 8/10
- Everyday 8/10
- Reflection Eternal 7.2/10
- If I Should Die 7/10
- Needs and Wants 6/10
- Evolution 5/10
you’re late breh
Posted this last night, bruh!
Yeah I know I’m a day late, but I had some school to catch up with, nahmean?
Even though we disagree a little Detroit’s review and opinion is definitely worth noticing!