Common and No I.D. Action Bronson and Party Supplies. Vince Staples and Larry Fisherman.
It is becoming more and more of a trend for a rapper to team up with a producer whom they experience a high level of chemistry with for a full length project. Detroit rapper, Guilty Simpson, is a big supporter of this trend as he has teamed up with the likes of Madlib and Apollo Brown in the past couple years for his recent releases. Most recently, he has teamed up with Philly producer, Small Professor (yes, that’s his name), for a new album: Highway Robbery.
The 10 track LP bursts at the seams with loud and eerie synths, thunderous drums and bass rhythms and, of course, the gangster and grim styling of Guilty Simpson. The rapper commands the listener with his slow yet impeccably timed rhyme schemes. His smooth but boisterous voice is very distinctive and is very effective at providing a general atmosphere to his tracks, which are complemented perfectly with Small Professor’s instrumentals. Guilty Simpson also excels at making catchy hooks that contributes to making tracks memorable. The album also includes features from Boldy James, AG, Elucid and Castle.
One of my personal favorite aspects of the growing trend of a rapper and producer collaborating for an entire project is that the producer is given much more of an opportunity to snatch much more of the spotlight instead of the rapper solely being in the forefront. This is definitely the case with Highway Robbery, as Small Professor’s production steals the show.
On his solo work, Small Professor takes more of a smooth and melodic approach to his instrumentals but on Highway Robbery, he creates dark boom bap beats to make your head bop. This point is showcased on the solely instrumental interlude and outro tracks called: “Blap” and “Come Get Me”, respectively. Another example of a notable instrumental is the duo’s ode to Detroit called, “I’m the City”, which is co-produced by Statik Selektah.
When commenting on the length of a full project, it is almost always a negative comment and commonly related to the project being too long. When Highway Robbery ended, I felt a little unfulfilled but that is mostly just at testament to how great the 10 tracks were. Guilty Simpson and Small Professor did a lot of things right with this project and I would most definitely recommend it to hip hop fans looking for gritty raps and solid instrumentals.
P.S. the Breaking Bad sample in the beginning “The Easiest Way (Remix)” was one of the greatest openings to a track that I have heard in a very long time.
Stream Highway Robbery in full here: http://deadendhiphop.com/guilty-simpson-small-professor-highway-robbery-album-stream/
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