Introduction

This week’s edition of #MusicMonday is the second of three articles in a mini-series focusing on individual members of Midwestern rap group The Forks. Previously, I covered MyzBeatz and his album Phenom4Eons. This week, I’m tackling the newly released, debut mixtape from SW: Reminiscent. SW is an East Grand Forks-based rapper. Born Steven Widman, SW grew in popularity following his performance of “Desperados” by Andy Mineo at Grand Cities Idol in April 2016. After, he set out for a career, releasing his singles Panda (Remix) and God & Society in May 2016, followed by Sit Back (ft. C-Lee) in June 2016 and 44 Bars (Remix) in August 2016. After this, he took a long hiatus, marking his change in producers and his part in the formation of The Forks. In August 2017, SW returned with his single The Memo, followed in October by Let the Beat Bounce (ft. 2K). Now comes his first mixtape ever, Reminiscent.¬†You can download¬†Reminiscent for free here.

1. The Reason (ft. C-Los)

Borrowing the beat of Trip Lee’s “Schweet”, SW uses the beat to introduce his album by exploring what the reasons for him rapping or being put where he are. He’s accompanied by C-Los, the producer of the record and solo rapper in his own right. C-Los flows well on the beat with SW. Their chemistry and lyricism is strong and makes for a solid debut. It sets the tone for what’s to come. The intensity of the song seemingly heralds an album similarly, however, the comedic elements from the two present an alternative opinion. It’s a good intro.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

2. The Memo

The fourth single from the mixtape utilizes a beat by YouTube producer IVN. SW’s flow pattern is really impressive. The song is really impressive lyrically, dealing with the idea of identity. It’s a really fun jam. The intensity is there, suggesting it’s going to continue with that angle. It’s a great track that emulates the spirit of a song by Logic.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

3. 44 Bars

Speaking of Logic, SW takes the Logic classic out for a spin. Opening up for a honest 44 bars of venting, this is a really personal song where he opens up about the responsibilities that come with it. The lyricism is solid and the emotion is something you don’t see very often in mainstream rap music. It’s a mesmerizing track that SW utilizes to establish a connection with the listener. It’s a honest song.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

4. Confidence

This track is intense in its production and SW flows pretty well a beat that is pretty mediocre and choppy at the outset. However, things switch and speed and sound more like a regular SW track. He rides it like a bike and fees comfortable. This track is actually genius in its construction. It’s a song that is about growing confidence in what he’s doing, which he decides to show in the beat and lyricism than just saying he’s become more confident. It’s a very inventive song as the listener starts out uncomfortable listening to the track and ends up with a sense of pride of what SW manages to accomplish.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

5. Run It

Borrowing another beat from Logic, the pace picks up. The lyricism and production are absolutely knockout. He fits this beat like a glove. At five songs in, SW shows just how comfortable and at home he feels behind a mic. He loosens up and sheds the intensity factor to prove his sheer talent and skill, all while having tons of obvious fun. This is the best of the bunch so far.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

6. The Journey

Things get epic here in track six. We’re digging into the meat of SW’s album with this song about his life journey. He rides the beat well and the lyricism is really solid. It’s impossible to compare this to the song we just came off of, but The Journey is a really solid entry into the album.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

7. Calling Kaleb (Skit) [ft. C-Los & 2K]

This hilarious skit between songs helps establish the chemistry between the artists and signal a lighter tone for the next song. The skit sees SW and C-Los about to work on another song on the album and require the services of 2K to sing the hook, only to catch his voicemail. It’s a skit that fits right in and helps loosen the listener up after The Journey. The beat used to score the skit may or may not also be an Easter egg to a future project? Ultimately, it’s a just a funny insert for the album and it does more good than harm. It’s a funny piece for an album that’s about to take a fun turn.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

8. Let the Beat Bounce (ft. 2K)

After introducing 2K on the track before with his voicemail, we get to hear what the pair can do together. The production on this one is fun and really solid. SW’s lyricism is super strong and fun. With the added cameos from producer C-Los, the final single for the album is a real jam. The final feature from 2K is a really fun addition, bring a sort of Marty from Social Club Misfits vibe to the song. His lyricism is actually pretty cool, despite being a little less advanced than SW. Overall, it’s a really fun track that is probably the biggest jam on the record.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

9. Wisdom

Borrowing J. Cole’s “Fire Squad” instrumental, SW delivers what might be his best song yet. As proven with previous tracks, SW is a great hook writer. He delivers a song that is really advanced in terms of what he does lyrically. Covering the subject of gaining knowledge and wisdom in life, it’s the first song to break the pattern of Reminiscent. Instead of focusing on the past and “reminiscing”, he takes what he’s learned and brings looking forward. The production is pretty straight forward and is really solid, but what shines here is the one-two punch of the excellent performance and the strong lyricism. It’s a really strong song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

10. God & Society

Taking his first single, released over a full year in advance, and repurposing and re-recording it to fit his record. The song works extremely well, fitting right in with the narrative being created. Taking a look at the present and applying the wisdom he’s gained, SW calls out the issues of today’s society and what we need to solve it. His performance is stellar and the lyricism holds up strong. The production is really solid. This song is really uplifting despite the seemingly negative premise. It’s a perfect fit for the record and an excellent song.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

11. On The Grind (ft. 2K)

2K returns on the album to sing the hook for the epic penultimate song. Just from the strings on the outset, it’s an obviously intense finale. With C-Los making a cameo, the song actually brought a few tears to my eyes in the production. Everyone’s performances are spectacular. The lyricism from SW is very strong and the hook is excellent. The song focuses on what SW’s been doing, which is creating this album and seemingly more. It’s a really impressive song that perfectly fits into your workout playlist. It’s incredible.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

12. Day By Day

The finale of the album summarizes SW’s journey and his desire for the listener to take away. As we’ve reached the end, it feels like we’ve gone on the journey with SW. His lyricism is solid and he flows extremely well. The production is great. This song just perfectly ties up all the loose ends and everything thematically into an excellent package with a nice little bow. This song is solid and wraps up a really good album.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion:

SW crafts a spectacular debut. Reminiscent from start to finish, crafts a story thematically and executes every aspect impressively. There’s nothing on this album that should be found as unimpressive. Nothing displayed here is average or mediocre. Everything packed into this album, from performances to lyricism to production, is done superbly. Wisdom, Confidence, Run It, & On The Grind are especially excellent, from their concept to their production, these songs and the album as a whole can be summed up in one word: impressive.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

You can download Reminiscent for free here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s