Monday, May 6, 2013

Waking Up To Vegas

Given the prevalence of certain regions in hip-hop I, being a self-styled hip-hop fan, appreciate a surpise or two. Case in point would be my first encounter with a  rapper hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada. Imagine my elation to get my hands on a mixtape from an artist based out of the infamous Sin City, USA. Owing mostly to the fact that Las Vegas hasn't been prominent in hip-hop I have no idea what to expect from this one.

This leads me to present to you Sean Rose and his mixtape Desert Of Dreams.

Having listened through the project, allow me to tell you a bit about it. Sean Rose presents amazing tracks held together by his well received flows and equally entrancing beats. His sound is reminiscent of no one off the top of my head, a trait that makes the artist as a fresh voice in hip-hop. Fresh is always good.

As per my usual there are songs that I would like to draw your attention to.

I loved each song as I went through it. The first track that made me hit repeat would have to be "Parlay". The beginning plays like the smooth sounds of a smoky lounge with a piano player correctly casting the mood of the room. As I said before Sean Rose has no contemporaries as far as similar sound but the beat sounds like something Curren$y might rap over. This track exhibits a smooth groove, a cool factor that Rose captures rather well alongside the piano.

"Sleepless In Las Vegas" has a techno heavy beat and for some reason evokes images of Vegas again. I closed my eyes and as Rose and featured artist Trade Voorhees spit, I see myself in a casino. Something in the beat's repetition frames each rapper's voice well.

I note "Casino" here simply because the conversation that is more than likely a sample from the iconic film Casino. In the context of the mixtape this is a perfect move. The conversation takes your mind back to the old days of Las Vegas that you hear about in films. You know what I'm talking about, right? Mob connections, casinos, and bodies buried out in the desert. This was a clever move for Rose and I appreciate his artistry more because of it.

"Strange Days" gets the biggest of the honors here amongst great music. When I hear it's head nod worthy beat that sounds as if it's been tribally influenced I have a hard time not seeing that as a song that would not have been out of place in the comedy The Hangover. The song gives me the feel of the nightlife, drinking too much, and having that same amount of fun. 

The song "Ignorant Nights" is a direct follow-up to "Strange Days". Keeping in the vein of that, the beat is merely a super slowed down version of "Strange Days". Here Rose is absent rapping. Singer FALCON comes through and weaves a tale of a beautiful girlfriend being forgotten in lieu of a night of partying. Suffice to say, she isn't happen about it. Almost as if without conscious thought it strikes a note of heartbroken R & B tracks from the likes of Mary J. Blige, Monica, and Keyshia Cole. It's equally well done here.

Desert Of Dreams is a great name for this mixtape simply because it not only describes Las Vegas in an easy to digest little blurb, it also speaks of the dreams of an amazing rapper. Keep it up and expect more reviews of Sean Rose's work.

written by
Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine

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