The New Flesh is a platform through which we experience facets of a man. From the opening track, Mountains, New York native Top $ Raz informs the listener that this endeavor is serious business. Not a game. Not practice. His philosophical lyrics and vigorous flow confirm this notion, "Mountains may crumble/but I will never break/I pick the world up, it's heavy/breathe but my knees will never shake." This is the grownest young man I know. His project exudes musical maturity not often present in a man of so few years.
The New Flesh is both physical and spiritual. In So Beautiful and Don't Mind, Raz makes his fleshly desires plain. The Man is a change in vibe with in your face swagger and fun. Jack and Coke Flow is unfair in that it grabs the hell out of you, shakes you, and drops you in midair. No, your track didn’t skip. Yes, he did accomplish that much in so little space. Whether he chooses to punchline you drunk or to weave a tale, you feel the generations of compressed wisdom as Raz’s “literary mind drops bombs that’ll blow like they’re literally mines.”
The features are unexpectedly pleasant, bringing a verve that matches the artist's own lyrical strength and tremolo. Check Don't Mind ft. Cyph Diggy for a verse with lines so funky "the smell will fester." If they overwhelm you, just “spray some pine air freshener.” Alvietron, Scienze, YC the Cynic, Mic Blaque, Cavalier, and Grace Kalambay also bring their verbal dexterity to the assembly. Nine producers, including Thinker, Coole High, and J. Monopoly contributed to this effort, bringing heavy hitting and melodic tracks that serve as a sturdy platform for Raz’s emotion-laden delivery. The synergy of music and lyrics is apparent in The Plague with J57’s thrilling, back alley vibrations and in War and Peace with Thinker’s heart-pounding turned heartwarming intonations.
Not every moment is perfect, there’s some repetition and a few moments challenge my aesthetic. The low tones of the chorus of Love Me No More beg for some height, which would have been a solid juxtaposition to Raz’s voice and rounded out the track. There's a hint of it, but it's too far in the background to enjoy. Also, I’m not a fan of the sexually explicit stuff. Lyricists, take a lesson from a master, Prince, and grind a metaphor ‘til you wear out the gears. Overall, the New Flesh delivers. Top $ Raz is comfortable in his skin. No delusions of grandeur, he knows how little he is in the universe and how large a presence he is nonetheless. This artist pursues his destiny fully aware of the difficulties and pain that accompany his journey; he recognizes the grit and grime of life― The Holy Ghost, The Plague ― but does not let these difficulties thwart his movements ― Cold Fresh, The New Flesh. When his pursuits take him to blend the gutter and the futuristic, he is a force with which few can reckon ― The Man, The One.
Listen to The New Flesh in your best headphones to experience the depths of emotional vibrations reached through the melding of voice and track, especially prevalent in Mountains, War and Peace, and Golden, raw, gritty songs that scream with the positive and the powerful.
If the next generation of hip-hop is bringing this much vigor, then I’m a supporter.
The New Flesh is available on iTunes