Formula 56 is a rap artist hailing from Sacramento, California whose music is anything but formulaic. It is essentially hip hop, but melded with the styles and sounds of dubstep and electronica. Rapid Transit comprises eleven tracks, with a range of producers and guest vocalists which gives the album good sonic variety and the production overall is first class. The emotional range of the song subjects is also large, starting upbeat and ending with a tragic tale.
What strikes the listener immediately is the impressive flow and rhyming of the rapping, as evidenced on the great opening track Party Tonight (feat. Sean Divine), which has a great singalong chorus hook that will go down well in the clubs. Second track Accelerate is a real highlight with a cutting edge electronic backing, and a great Skrillex-style dubstep section. I also loved the filter sweep before the hook.
Tracks three and four feature great guest vocalists. If You Ever Knew (feat. Renazance) has a Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake feel on the choruses and Beverly Ely lends her talents to Heart and Soul to strong effect. The former, in particular, sounds like a good choice for a single.
Some tracks like Take Flight and Treading Water have Formula rapping the chorus hook and Fallin’ features him singing, his raw style suiting the gritty, visceral lyrics. Formula is prepared to show both sides of life, like any good artist should. Carry On was another highlight for me towards the end of the album.
However, he saved the best till last with final track Goodnight (feat. John Michael), which showcases best his abilities as a rapper. The lyrics to this are hard-hitting, harrowing yet poignant and beautiful at the same time, with some incredible wordplay and control of rhythm. For me, it rivals Eminem at his very best, say Stan or Lose Yourself. The emotionally sung chorus hook is an effective contrast to the rapped verses and it’s the perfect conclusion to an extremely strong album. This album deserves your attention and I expect Formula 56 to be making some big waves in the music industry soon.
Verdict: 8.8 out of 10