In hip-hop today, most artists follow the current trends, afraid that if they don’t “fit in” they won’t be successful or appreciated. It takes an artist cut from truly special cloth to remain in an industry that is constantly changing. This interesting artist does just that. Redhead–a seasoned DMV emcee and Steady Building Media Group artist–has finally released his long awaited debut album, Exxxactly: an 11-track journey into the mind of a nerdy hipster. The project is due out tomorrow, November 15,
Although the album has its ups and downs my biggest issue with this project was why it’s so good and, despite TV appearances and acting credits, I’d never heard of Redhead until this new project came across my desk. Redhead flows seamlessly throughout the album and has the wordplay of a true lyricist, although the album doesn’t feel overwhelmingly lyrical. It’s apparent that Redhead has had his fair share of time in rap cyphers but what’s amazing about this project is–thanks to the help of some well-voiced crooners–it comes across like a mainstream effort, complete with pop singles.
The album opens with an energetic “Cap Heights,” a take on trendy music and an ode to Red’s hometown, which sounds great. It kicks the album off on the right note, offering some background to who Redhead is: a kid from Capitol Heights, Maryland.
With the help of Big Pooh of Little Brother, Redhead is able to go bar-for-bar with most emcees. “Beautiful,” with Big Pooh, is probably the sleeper song of the century and ear candy for hipsters everywhere. Redhead proves to be a contender with the likes of Logic, Asher Roth, or even Joey Badass on this lighthearted rapper’s delight.
“Too Much” sounds like A$AP Rocky mixed with Jaden Smith, with Redhead sounding like the future of hip-hop on the beat. By the time this track plays, you realize you’re in for a dope ride. On the track, Redhead is having fun on the beats, flipping words like a veteran wordsmith.
What separates Redhead from other artists in the hipster genre is his ability to penetrate the mainstream and on “Red Carpet,” he does just that. This track has pop hit potential and Redhead proves a contender for the likes of Flo Rida and Chance The Rapper with this one.
“Say Hi” is a melodic joint, featuring a vocalist who holds the hook down masterfully. However, Redhead comes across as forced when describing his version of macking a woman down. Even though you may not agree with his tactics for picking women up, Redhead does a superb job of describing his perspective when it comes to the opposite sex.
“Play Play” contains great wordplay and is made for the rapper’s rapper. Chris Barz kills the hook, making this one of the standout songs from the project.
“Anyway” is an anthem that sounds influenced by “All Day” by Kanye West. The song could come across as repetitive and non-original, but still sounds pretty good.
“Hennessey” is great. Easily a fan favorite and worth a listen from all music lovers. Redhead is in rare form here.
“The Glow” sounds like bars aimed at the emcees and naysayers Redhead has taken issue with during his tenure on the underground. Nice melody here and one of the few moments where Redhead bears his teeth as an emcee.
“Exxxactly” is the title track. Great beat overshadows the emcee, in my estimation. Beat is meaningful. Bars aren’t as meaningful, but the flow is cool. Almost a perfect masterpiece, which is saying a lot, but almost doesn’t count. “Exxxactly” is a solid song, but it doesn’t effectively bring the album’s theme together.
“Steady Building,” in my opinion is the most authentic Redhead song on the album. It is the one song where you truly sense his personality and get a feel for his authentic persona. Also, the song is positive and motivating, as Redhead declares all over the joint he is steady building.
The songs that make up Redhead’s Exxxactly are quality, oftentimes melodious and lyrical. However, the album is not as cohesive as it could be and the theme isn’t clearly communicated over the duration of the project. Exxxactly sounds more like a collection of Redhead’s best songs rather than an album. There are no sketches stringing the project together and there is no recurring theme throughout the songs stringing the album together. Redhead’s performance is stellar on every song and he effectively represents his quirky personality through his music alone, which is difficult to do, but the project comes across as slightly forced with over half the album being R&B. While artists like Drake can pull it off, from a brand new artist, the R&B influence comes across as a strategy for relevance, more so than a genuine progression of Redhead, the artist.
If you are into bass beats and snares and hard lyrics this project is not for you, however if you are into R&B hooks and fun loving raps from a self-proclaimed nerd, you’ll love this album. Given the current climate of hip-hop Redhead’s Exxxactly is a breath of fresh air and even when some of the material may seem a little contrived, Redhead is unapologetically Redhead.
Redhead- Exxxacty Playlist:
Keep up to date with Redhead on his official website: www.redheadpg.com.