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“Cancer Symptoms” and “Go Crazy” by Alpha Hugo

The Atlanta scene is by far the hottest in all of pop music at the moment, and if you don’t know as much, you aren’t keeping up with the current beat at all. The city’s underground is easily the most vibrant of any you’re going to find stateside, and to this effect, making a name for yourself as a fresh face can be one of the hardest tasks you’ll face as an artist. This might be the case, but it isn’t stopping a player like Alpha Hugo from trying to make a splash with a pair of new singles in “Cancer Symptoms” and “Go Crazy” that are bound to get a big reaction out of listeners.

Alpha Hugo is bringing a lot of energy to the mic in both of these singles, and he’s never having to lean on the bassline as a means of getting to the climax of a beat. “Go Crazy” is especially on the lean and mean side, to such an extent, I would argue, that it’s difficult for most to picture the crossover trap crowd being able to do the same thing with the same material. “Cancer Symptoms” is more reserved, but even at his simplest, this player knows how to turn up the temperature.

I want more out of the drum parts in both of these songs, but a lack of excess on the bottom end is relatively understandable when taking into account the pitfalls of oversized beats. Alpha Hugo doesn’t have to prove himself in terms of sonic weight here; it’s all about poetic presence, and to me, he’s already got everything he needs to make a statement as a lyricist the moment he starts rapping in “Cancer Symptoms” or “Go Crazy” the same. He’s equipped with skills, and they’re all being put to good use here.

For most of the players that I cover in the hip-hop genre, a synthetic groove doesn’t do much to benefit a vocal, but the opposite would appear to be true in “Go Crazy.” This is a track that features artificiality manipulated into melodic gold, and Alpha Hugo doesn’t mind using it to his advantage when the hook is at its sharpest. It’s risky, but it’s also a move that I wouldn’t want him to change in the name of sounding more like the competition – almost all of whom have been falling far behind the underground in the last few years.

I do think there’s more to Alpha Hugo’s sound than we’re being introduced to with these two tracks and their accompanying music videos, but I’m undeniably looking forward to hearing more from his camp in the future. “Cancer Symptoms” and “Go Crazy” share some creative linchpins that could be better expanded upon in longer studio sessions, and if possible I would love to hear a proper LP from this rapper before he decides to collaborate with any additional artists. He’s got something that’s his and his alone here, and I can’t wait to find out how it’s going to evolve.

Mindy McCall

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