$15.20/20.00 [?]
Steddy P - BETTERMAKEROOMIndyground Entertainment

Steddy P

Kansas City, Missouri’s Ray Pierce, or Steddy P as he is more-commonly known, is the co-founder of IndyGround Entertainment, founded in 2004. The label houses a slew of talent, mostly emanating from the state of Missouri. BETTERMAKEROOM marks something like Steddy’s eighth release from his homegrown imprint. The 14-track album boasts a number of shining moments, along with some less-spectacular efforts.

BETTERMAKEROOM begins strong. Steddy P’s rapping embodies the term “conscious” — his raps consist mostly of stories about the things that surround him; he talks about a range of subjects and about rap music in general. His flow is very consistent and his delivery is strong. Most of the tracks include a chorus that’s repeated frequently throughout the track and can sometimes become a bit repetitive. However, the rapping and production go together nicely and usually compliment each other. The first handful of tracks in particular are very well-produced and knitted together neatly.

Steddy P displays versatility in his style as does the album’s producer, Indyground affiliate Matthew Sawicki. There is an assortment of styles from one track to the next and, to begin with, the album is great to listen to and keeps you heavily engaged. P is very knowledgeable about hip-hop. It’s easy to tell in his music. The tracks of BETTERMAKEROOM include memorable verses from and references to the golden age of rap. His lyrics often include experiences that some listeners can easily relate to. This album displays Steddy P’s knowledge and skill.

The first 5 tracks of BETTERMAKEROOM are great. Awesome flow, great beats that complement the rhyming, and some interesting lyrical content.

Unfortunately, the exceptional tracks that comprise the first half of BETTERMAKEROOM begin to fade as the album draws to a close. You can’t help but feel that some tracks have been paid great attention to and others have been thrown together.

Somewhere around the sixth track, the PREACH and Godemis (CES Cru)-assisted “SIC”, the album begins to falter.

The second half of the album focuses on subjects that include chasing a woman and weed, which aren’t exactly something you haven’t heard before on a rap album. The heavily-used subject matter contributes to what develop into some of the larger holes in the effort. While not necessarily outright bad tracks, many of the songs that fill the latter portion of the album feel uninspired. Many lack any great aspects that help the opening cuts truly shine. In a word, they simply feel forgettable.

That’s not to say that the entire last half of the record isn’t at least worth a spin. The beats are generally very good throughout, with Sawicki showing his ability to produce head-nodders in a variety of styles and compositions. BETTERMAKEROOM is also laced with incredible scratch work by Indyground’s stellar DJ Mahf.

On the whole, Steddy shows immense talent in the opening of the album, which unfortunately only helps to illuminate some of the weaknesses in the tracks that fail to deliver. However, BETTERMAKEROOM is still very much worth listening to. It displays some moments of true brilliance, and still creates an enjoyable listening experience. This album has a lot to offer, and with more consistency, it would have easily been one of the better releases of 2012.

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