It’s always the darkest just before the light, and Mr. Reaper adeptly discusses the feeling of broaching the morning sun unafraid of anything that could come his way in the new single “Thru the Dark” and its companion music video. Mr. Reaper has been through a lot in the past couple of years, much as many of us have, but he’s channeling all of the pain, strife, and perseverance he’s come to know so well into “Thru the Dark” excellently this September. His flow is the center of the spotlight here, but beyond his linguistic delivery, his very command of the beat is something to marvel at for rap fans everywhere.
The lead vocal is a little understated for what this player could have gone with, but I can also understand where Mr. Reaper wanted to utilize a conservative concept as a way of retaliating against the mainstream standard as it stands in 2021. There’s been so much indulgence on the FM dial lately, but this is an example of an artist exploiting the best elements of efficiency without sounding as though he’s stripping his aesthetics of any personality. That’s difficult to do, but you’d never know it just from listening to this track.
This bass part doesn’t interfere with the lyrics but instead props up every hard-hitting verse in a manner that makes similar but wholly synthetic efforts from the competition sound rather trite. Mr. Reaper doesn’t want to put all of his stock on one component of the master mix, but he’s also refusing to spread a lot of complexity across this arrangement simply in the name of fitting in with a consistent lyrical theme from beginning to end in this song. He’s following his own creative path, and no one can accuse him of anything else in this piece.
“Thru the Dark” features a sophisticated rhythm made so not because of a stacked percussive setup but solely because of the urgency with which Mr. Reaper cuts into his lines, which become increasingly smooth as we get into the latter half of the song. There’s an untapped potential here that he doesn’t mind advertising; he’s leaving certain corners of the mix unexploited to emphasize the yearning in his verses. His emotion will likely become the driving force of his next release, as it’s hanging around the backdrop in this one rather prolifically for critics and fans alike to notice.
Mr. Reaper is back and sounding better than ever in this headline-scoring single and music video, and whether you’re deep into the modern hip-hop sound or not, he’s got the kind of likeability that I think pop fans will respond particularly well to this year. 2020 was especially rough on the rap scene, but this is one underground act that has the intellect and delivery to do some incredible work if he sticks with the current artistic trajectory he’s on at the moment. “Thru the Dark” highlights where he’s been, and judging by its ambitiousness, he’s got a lot of open road ahead of him still.
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