Introduction:

This #MusicMonday gets personal. As a musician myself, I am friends with several artists of varying backgrounds. This week, I’d like to take some time to highlight a friend and collaborator of mine: MyzBeatz. Myz is a rapper based in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and works as a campus pastor at UND, heading up Chi Alpha. Along with my friends SW, C-Los, and myself, MyzBeatz makes up a rap group based out of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, called The Forks. Having been active since his teenage years in Apple Valley, MN, he released three projects before switching artist identities and moving to Grand Forks. His first project, Salt + Light, was released in 2013. He followed that up with a collaborative mixtape with UND artist D’Tay called Who Am I? in 2014. In 2014, he also released two singles: Take Offense and BassHeads, which featured D’Tay and Casstaway. He appeared on C-Los’s 2015 single Show N’ Tell (Remix), alongside Reschad Oliver and Empty Vessel, followed by features on Treal B’s 2016 EP Apathy and C-Los’s award winning 2016 single Together. Today I’m reviewing his 2016 album Phenom4Eons, in honor of The Forks’ newest collaboration. I will also be reviewing C-Los’s album SonRize at a later date, as well as SW’s Reminiscent. You can check out Phenom4Eons and download it for free here.

1. The Nobodys

The production is really solid. The beat comes in hard and immediately gets your head bobbing. The hook is catchy. Myz introduces himself and C-Los as he starts ripping in. His flow pattern is really impressive. He rides the beat very well. The theme for the album is set up well with this really solid intro track. The last hook he’s joined by C-Los who has a really funny bit with him.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

2. This City

The second song slows things down and pitches us a deeper track. The vocals on the hook are really solid. The wordplay is killer, especially with all the local in-jokes. While it grooves at a slower pace, the track is exceptional. He grooves right along with the beat and it’s very impressive.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

3. Finding Myz

The track starts with really pretty vocals and an emotional setup. This track is very real and intense. The idea of self-identity and discovering yourself is truly exceptional. The vocals are truly spectacular. The production is really great.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

4. BassHeads (ft. Ki’Shon, Seckond Chaynce, & Casstaway)

Things get lighter and more fun with this one, as we get a fun track about his love for bass. Myz goes first and rides the beat like it’s a bike. Ki’Shon goes next and adopts a style like KB and flows pretty well with it. After an intro from C-Los, Seckond Chaynce jumps on like it’s nothing and absolutely murders it. His chopper style allows him to spit bars at a supersonic pace. Casstaway, a veteran of Myz’s records, gets on and rides the beat well. Seckon Chaynce and Myz are really the highlights of the track, along with the incredible production, but the track is a perfect jam.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

5. Ancient Glory

The hook is gorgeous! While the uncredited female vocalist remains anonymous, she sounds familiar; her vocals are absolutely knockout. The track is slower and more personal, which Myz proves is a strong point for him. While the verses don’t quite love up to the hook, the sentiment is there are and, therefore, very appreciated. While so far this one seems to be a bit of step back, it’s still a pretty tune.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: B+

6. No Air

The gasps for air in the intro are a nice touch. Myz’s vocals are absolutely dynamite on the track. Myz gets on and rides the beat once again. He grooves right along on the medium paced beat. The production is a standout hit, especially in the mixing. While short, it’s a sweet track.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

7. Sinking (Interlude)

The production on this interlude fits the title 100%. It’s a really well produced beat that generates emotions like sinking. It’s a nice interlude that gives a breather before we jump into the next track.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

8. Deep Waters

The interlude before sets up this track very well. The track about being rescued from drowning in sin has some really beautiful vocals from Myz. The flow is solid too, in keeping with the slow song pattern. This track might have the best vocals of the record.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

9. Shipwrecked

The strings and vocal samples that start of the song are beautiful. This song is an inspirational sequel to last song and absolutely outdoes the previous track. Myz absolutely kills the track and delivers some solid wordplay. He paints a really vivid picture and delivers a rap parable that is unparalleled in anything I’ve heard in CHH or otherwise. The C-Los cameos are a really nice touch too.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

10. Tapdance

The pianos and choir vocals are a really pretty way to start the next track. This one has another inspirational start to it. The tap-dancing sample is a stroke of genius. The song about purity and holding hope is a true jam. The track is a head-nodder and Myz grooves on it incredibly. The vocals are spectacular; between the female vocals and Myz’s own, it creates what could be a mix of the most real and the most pretty track. The choir vocals work like a siren song and it really creates what might be the best performance on the record.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. I Salute You

Sampling horns in an epic style already has me in. The beat is a jam and an absolute banger. The song serves as a thank you to the military. The C-Los cameos are a perfect fit and the song itself is a great jam. It’s an arena jam waiting for an Alerus Center audience.  The lyricism and energy are excellent and infectious.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

12. Surface (ft. Jacie J)

Now we’re slowing things down again. With a really pretty piano sample and some wonderful production, Myz brings up another real topic in living a “two-face” life. Jacie J’s vocals are strong and a perfect fit for the track. The wordplay is incredible and his performance is wonderful. The examination of the idea of denominations among the Protestant Christian faith is an incredible topic that is never explored in either mainstream music or Christian music. The song is groundbreaking and truly a treasure on this record.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. Six Feet Under

The faster paced track is storytelling track is absolutely aggressive and wastes no time in getting the story across. It’s a great track telling the story of the betrayal, trail, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s redemption song for the people who haven’t heard the story before and a fresh spin for those who have lost count of how many times they’ve heard it. It’s very well done and a perfect fit for the record.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

14. Tidals (ft. Abbi Grimaldi)

We flow (literally) from the last song to the newest one. The song is gentle and peaceful and serene. The synths and samples of rolling waves are a perfect blend into the production. Abbi’s vocals are a sweet fit into the track. The overall vocals are pretty. The lyricism is stellar. The story of just a daily struggle to spend time with God is a really well done topic that often gets overlooked in CHH. It’s another groundbreaking track for the record.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

15. The Depths You Go (ft. Bryce Meyer)

The flow (sorry, the puns about the songs being connected by crashing waves was too good to pass up a second time) from song to song doesn’t let up as we get another serene and peaceful song. The acoustic guitars mixed into the production are perfect. The production is excellent. Bryce’s vocals are a perfect fit for the track and work on every level. The lyricism on this one is excellent as well. Entering through the topic of the unexplored depths of the ocean, Myz creates another perfect song for the album. This is a genuinely perfect song. I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. The flow pattern, vocals, production, samples, topics, lyrics, and the vibes are all perfectly stitched together to create another hit.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

16. Phenom

We roll (there, I changed it up, happy?) right into the final song seamlessly. The production is absolutely incredible. Myz’s vocals are beautiful at the start of the track. We fade out and come back with a dripping, ticking, ominous vibe. Myz’s vocals are chilling as we enter the finale. It’s a terrifying. Myz is delivering what is a Grammy-worthy with the performance he’s delivering here. The tension builds with the production and it starts to lighten up but it’s growing into an inspirational track. Myz keeps speeding up as things brighten up. The beat creates a sense of fleeting time and the need to get to work before Jesus comes back. This final song is groundbreaking and incredible and captures the entire sense of the album in one incredibly produced song that wraps up the message in a way that deserves a Grammy. We are left in total silence for 22 seconds to reflect on what we just heard. This track is genius, masterfully performed and produced, executed in a manner that plays like an NF song at the start and ends in the most original way ever. If you weren’t a MyzBeatz fan before, you are now.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion:

Phemom4Eons is a project that starts pretty cut and dry. It starts how you might expect a local rap album to: a fun jam that you might listen to once, that feels maybe more surface than substance. But the album is like the ocean that it bases its theme on, it has layer after layer that just keeps getting deeper and deeper the more you dive into it. The production is incredible and Myz’s performances are stellar, with some displays of lyricism and wordplay that truly left me speechless. There are ideas and themes in this project that are groundbreaking; things we always think about but never say, articulated into words. I can’t recommend this album enough.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

 

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