- Far Away
- Last Choir
New York’s arsenal of its finest superstars have come together as Beast Coast, to release their highly anticipated Escape From New York. The impressive collective is comprised of Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers. Though Escape From New York marks their first official release, the Beast Coast movement and collaborations have been around for years.
Each member of Beast Coast are spread across 13-tracks, starting with It Ain’t Easy, It Ain’t Easy. Immediately from the first track, my initial concern that Joey Bada$$ would outshine some of the other members was proved wrong. In fact, Joey doesn’t even feature on the first song and really takes a back seat for this album, something I really enjoyed. It proves that Beast Coast does not have a leader and they each are capable of holding their own. Nevertheless, his familiar voice was pleasing to hear throughout and served as a teaser to his return with a new album set to release this year. It Ain’t Easy, It Ain’t Easy was a strong start with notably incredible verses from Kirk Knight and AKTHESAVIOR. Next up on the track list was the collectives first single, Left Hand. I originally gave it a score of 7/10 when it was first released however the song has since grown on me, particularly after their performance of it on Jimmy Fallon.
The album continues strongly with Problemz and Far Away, that both feature impressive melodies. I feel as though collaborative works can be too verse driven and focus heavily on individual talent but Beast Coast’s clear chemistry prevents this, working in their favour to create some great hooks and complete songs. Beast Coast explore their boundaries, taking influence of R&B in Far Away and Reggae in Snow In The Stadium. Reminiscent of Distant Relatives from New York legend Nas, Snow In The Stadium features a range of themes from humble origins to their current wealth and the journey of everything in between. Kirk took to Instagram before the song’s release, claiming his part to be his “most emotional verse ever recorded.”
The middle of the album lacks in ambition though we still see some stellar verses such as Meechy Darko on Rubberband and Erick The Architect and AKTHESAVIOR on Puke. However, the album ends even stronger than it starts with One More Round, an honest track about alcoholism with everyone’s verse capable of being the songs hook. Erick The Architect is definitely in contention (with Kirk Knight) for the MVP of this project. A super underrated artist and I was satisfied to hear him playing a large role in a lot of these cuts.
That being said I think most of Beast Coast are criminally underrated for their talents. Coast/Clear is a huge example of this and is my pick for track of the year thus far featuring my favourite verse of the whole project from Meechy Darko. Coast/Clear is a perfect showcase of Beast Coast’s chemistry and that despite their unique individual voices, they’re all able to create cohesive tracks where no member flies under the radar. The albums last cut Last Choir, ends a powerful line from Meechy Darko: “Grateful to this day, blessed to be in this game.” This album is more than a collaboration of artists. It’s a collaboration of friends and family who have taken their talents from boroughs of Brooklyn to international stages.
Though I would’ve liked to have heard more from the Underachievers and Nyck Caution, their moments are still fantastic highlights of the overall project. Despite the disappointment from tracks 6-9, the production work of Powers Pleasant and individual ability of each artist make Escape From New York an enjoyable and essential listen for 2019, setting the bar higher for collaborative projects.
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