Review : G-Side - iSLAND
PitchforkIn less than two years, G-Side have gone from being one of the most slept-on rap groups around, to well, kind of taken for granted. That will happen when hip-hop's having its RSS-obsessed, gimmick-happy, bloggy moment, and ST and Clova's concerns are consistency and ever so slightly widening the lane they've carved out for themselves. So, on iSLAND-- the equally estimable follow-up to January's THE ONE... COHESIVE-- they're still indefatigably grinding, and just as geeked-up on the fact that people write about them in magazines and on blogs.
But there's something darker creeping into their music here, confounding the occasional misreading of COHESIVE's glowing, cathartic hip-hop as "escapist" or head-in-the-clouds. Forever right there in the background is their keen awareness that, when it comes down to it, they ain't all that important to this rap shit. That's why every interview is a huge deal to them. There's also their past, rife with tragedy and loss-- bouncing around in foster homes, family members lost to cancer and addiction-- which they tastefully reveal only in snippets.
These guys have something to legitimately want to escape, but they also have enough experience to know that things don't always get better-- so they remain sneering, smart products of their environment, always prepared for the worst. On "Gettin' It", a team-up with Stalley-- a similarly minded member of rap's scrappy, new sincerity-- ST admits, "I've been havin' nightmares of being broke at 30." A baggy Tame Impala sample suggests a world bigger than regional hip-hop, but the rigid, glitching drums slap those dreams back down to the earth....full text
ConsequenceofsoundThe guys behind Alabama rap duo G-Side, Stephen “ST 2 Lettaz” Harris and David “Yung Clova” Williams, are due for a break. In spite of a few commendable full-lengths and an unrelenting stream of blog-love, G-Side is shockingly little-known and has been since its 2007 debut, Sumthin 2 Hate. That might not change with the group’s second album of 2011, Island, but it confirms (yet again) that they deserve a whole lot more than what they have right now.
It’s fitting, then, that the most noticeable theme of Island is the desire to escape monotony. On most songs here, the guys suggest discontent with substantial areas of their lives, notably work (ST recently left his gig at a gas station to shoot low-budget music videos, while Clova pays the bills as a barber) and money (“I‘ve been having nightmares of being broke at 30″). But along with the complaining, we also get an underlying sense of hope and appreciation: “I’m in love with the game/I love the hustle,” goes the hook of “Luv 2 Hustle”.
Musically, Island doesn’t adhere to the Southern rap traditions of G-Side’s purported influences – Outkast and 8Ball & MJG included – as much as it alludes to them. Instead, it tends to rely on currently trendy “Tumblr rap“ sounds, including airy background vocals and unlikely samples (like Tame Impala’s “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?”). No matter what they actually sound like, though, the beats here (mostly provided by Block Beataz) are some of the most admirably crafted ST and Clova have ever rapped over.
Unfortunately, Island isn’t likely to hand G-Side its big break; nary a song here seems destined to become a hit even in underground-rap circles. But for what it attempts – forward-thinking rap with an eye on the rear-view mirror – it gets the job done. Hats off....full text
HubpagesQuality music is hard to come by in 2011, very few artists are putting out quality projects as it is, but nobody is putting out two albums in a single year. Not only 2 albums but two albums that you would consider ‘quality music.’ Well, Huntsville, Alabama’s G-Side has set their sights on that very goal. At the beginning of this year they released the critically acclaimed album “The One…Cohesive” and now G-Side has released yet another full length release, entitled “iSLAND.” That title really fits perfectly with G-Side and the Slow Motion Soundz camp as it really does seem like their on an island of their own right now. Putting out excellent music over and over while just about everything else around seems to be just thrown together junk. G-Side has also played with their release dates this year. “The One” was released on 1-1-11 (January 01, 2011) and “iSLAND” was released on 11-11-11 (November 11, 2011) really taking G-Side’s biggest year of their careers full circle. There has been a singular theme that G-Side has really been attempting to put out really since 2010, that of “cohesion” not only with the music they put out but everything about it from the music videos to the artwork (designed by the amazing artist John Turner Jr.) seems to flow perfectly. “iSLAND” is no exception.
The album kicks off with the familiar sounds of Block Beataz on the production and singer PH croons over the silky smooth beat about being “on an island by myself” while Historian and Journalist Charlie Braxton (shout out to Bentley for the heads up) provides the intro before G-Side’s Yung Clova closes out the intro song. Next up is the perfectly titled “Cinematic” where the amazing Block Beataz production and captivating rhymes from G-Side gives it such a big feeling. G-Side and Block Beataz have the uncanny ability to grab the listener right off the bat and hook you. Following that singer PH joins G-Side for “Atmosphere” where ST 2 Lettaz does what he does best and absolutely shreds the insane beat to pieces with his syrupy delivery. On “No U N Us” G-Side describe how despite all of the success and any they may get in the future, they’re still the same guys they’ve always been and how they won’t change like most do. ST explains best on the hook:
“we just out here doing us/
all that other sh!t ain’t got nothing to do with us/
what would you do if you was us?/
sucka free, cause aint no “u” (you) in us…/”
On “24 Eight” G-Side describe how they never stop hustling (24/8 instead of 24/7) but there’s not enough time in the day. Block Beataz yet again provides yet another perfect backdrop for the ST & Clova. On “Recognize” ST and Clova take the braggadocios rhymes to another level while PH’s silky smooth crooning and Block Beataz helmed beat make this one that perfect “riding music.” ST proclaims “RECOGNIZE! That G-Side, the only side I recognize!”...full text
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