FriendswithBeats is out to prove that he is more than an instrumentalist..he is a producer.
The New Jersey-raised artist is released his newest mixtape titled The Gardener and it's really unlike anything he has released. Released last Friday the tape consist of nine beats but that's not all. The concept of producers releasing beat tapes to showcase their skill is not new, plenty of producers have capitalized on the culture of releasing a consistent consecutive body of work just like rappers. What separates The Gardener from his previous releases is that the beats are accompanied by verses from fellow NJ rappers. Some are previous collaborators, but there are a few new voices. "For Deon, Tin, and Crackmic I’ve made music in the past with. Rahziq is local to me but this was my first interaction. Nitty B and Kay 9 used one of my beats for a song titled "Pack it Up" and I wanted to carry that momentum over to a different feel for them. Danny Whacko was somebody I’ve followed on IG for a while and finally got to the point of asking him to be on a track of mine. For the most part, I’ve watched these guys over the last couple of years in one way or another." So having these rappers on his tape already separates this project from his previous projects and moves FriendswithBeats into the realm of artists like DJ Khaled and DJ Drama, facilitators of compilation tapes (kind of).
The last project FriendswithBeats released was titled "We've Never Been to California" and it centered around converting Californian stereotypes into beats. The Gardener is not that. The tape gives homage to the 'Boom Bap' era of Hip Hop. " I’ve always resonated with a Neo-Soul/ Boom Bap mix in music. My mom brought me up between Bluegrass, Blues, and East Coast Hip-Hop so naturally, I love those genres the most. Notorious BIG (who DeonRaps reminds me a lot of), Nas, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, etc. I also wanted to be able to try to bring that sub-genre back to life as much as possible. The underground is merging with the mainstream for the first time since the early 2000s and I see it as a small window for that opportunity" The Gardener is certainly accomplishing merging the sounds of early hip-hip with what is considered mainstream. Songs like "Reel Em In" ft rapper Emcee Crackmic (dope ass name btw) really stand out because you can place the track throughout any era, at first listen it sounds like you typical backpack 90's rap song. But then you realized that there are artist on that have held on to that sound and utilize it today in their discography, rappers like Freddie Gibbs, Joey Badass and Griselda. The East coast has always stayed true to putting more of an emphasis on lyrics. And that speaks to both the talent of FriendswithBeats and the flow and vibe Crackmic brings to the song. Other standout tracks include the Rahziq assisted track, "Show of Hands" and "Some Days" with DeonRaps. Really every song shines in its own way. If you truly appreciate the art of rapping and lyrics then this project is for you.
I encourage everyone to listen to The Gardener. There are too many conversations about how no one is releasing quality music anymore, it's all gang culture and dancing now. That's why artists like FriendswithBeats are necessary, they still appreciate the art for what it is and what it was and are continually adding to that culture in the best way possible. Stream The Gardner below!
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