You can’t teach the kind of confidence that it takes to get to the top of the hip-hop game – you’ve either got it, or you don’t, and Custom is definitely the type of rapper I would say has it going on in a big way right now. His third single, the recently released “Rock Mics Properly,” touches on a creative ambitiousness that isn’t defined necessarily by virtuosity but by poetic depth, and without having to be particularly profound at the lead, Custom executes what could become a signature style of flow in this song that I could get used to.
From an instrumental perspective, there’s nothing new about the kind of alternative hip-hop that “Rock Mics Properly” is built on; on the contrary, I would even go so far as to say that the creative themes in this single are as familiar as the concept of applying smart lyrics to a sexy beat would be to the casual rap fan. This composition is admittedly a no-brainer in its complete form, but considering how rare a respite from the overdone experimentation in hip-hop these days is, we can’t afford to take a single like this one for granted.
Custom doesn’t need a beat any bigger than the one he’s working out in “Rock Mics Properly” to sound like a G in the booth, and personally speaking, I think that he does a lot better with the minimum on the backend than he does anything overwhelming in size. He’s got stories to tell, and whether we’re talking this single or “Erythang’s Erythang,” he has a knack for cutting through the B.S. in his work in a manner that I would really like to see some of his contemporaries in hip-hop try and copy for themselves sometime soon.
“Rock Mics Properly” is a moody, honest track from a very promising talent in Custom that I think more rap insiders should be talking about right now, and although it’s got a lot of old school stylishness going for it, I don’t think it’s pushing any kind of retro identity in the big picture. Custom is a man in touch with his roots, this much is indeed obvious just in listening to his first three singles, but it’s difficult for me to see his aesthetical evolution moving backward rather than forward when examining the elements making his new single one of the slickest I’ve heard this fall.
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