California’s own Cap has truly come into his own as an artist, and in his new singles “Alcohol,” “Worth It” and “Big Screen,” he defines his style and asserts his position as one of the biggest names in West Coast underground hip-hop today. His latest album Scorpio is a tour de force to put it mildly, and while I didn’t have the pleasure of reviewing the record before its release, I was thrilled at the opportunity to absorb myself in these tracks, which I personally found to be the cream of the crop and most symbolic of where Cap is at in his professional life right now. All three possess a certain iridescence that I didn’t pick up on in past records and singles, but it doesn’t come across to me as something he was trying to overstate in this finished material. His flow has never been quite as cathartic and structured around the bass as it is in “Worth It” and “Alcohol,” and despite the fact that those two songs are stylized completely different, they, like “Big Screen,” touch on a more experimental sound that longtime fans of Cap will instantly recognize as fresh and newly acquired.
There’s a lot of texture in each of these tracks, but if I had to pick one as a standout in physicality above the other two, it would be “Big Screen.” “Alcohol” is gritty and fierce, almost in a punk rock sort of a way, but it stops shy of being aggressive in tonality, something that I just can’t say about “Big Screen,” even with it being as melodic and softly equalized as it is.
The mix in this song, as is the case with “Worth It,” is bold, full-color and weighed down with a mammoth bottom end that relentlessly pounds away at us around every twist and turn in the rhythm. While arranged so that the music follows the beaten path of Cap’s lyrical delivery, one can’t help but feel like the backing track is constantly bearing down on the vocal, forging a sense of urgency that is inescapable from the moment we press play to second the songs fade to black.
Hip-hop really needs more players like Cap who are committed to quality within every facet of their music, and less who are devoted to structuring songs around hooks exclusively, plying us with inarticulate lyricism that is only meant to bolster the saturated bass and accompanying feeble, hollow percussion that isn’t effective in the least for anyone with taste. “Alcohol,” “Worth It” and “Big Screen” are loud and proud, and after a number of years making a relatively small but memorable impact on the international scene that so many artists have tried to break into, I think that Cap is finally ready to enter the primetime with this new music. He’s on his game, his performances are tight and nimble, and in all honesty, he’s giving us more natural, organic emotion than most any of his peers have in recent memory. Cap’s journey is nowhere near over, but he’s reaching a long-awaited peak that couldn’t be arriving at a much better time.
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