Arpad B is a hip-hop artist born in Hungary but based in Sweden. After putting out a few mixtapes to acclaim he now releases this eponymous seven track E.P. He combines the depth of old school hip-hop with modern production styles and this E.P. involves several producers, which helps to add sonic variety.
It begins with a 90 second instrumental introduction of rising and echoing synths with a laid back, toe tapping beat which creates a nice sense of tension and anticipation for what follows. The first proper track How I Feel is a great opening statement to the E.P. as it introduces Arpad B’s style and sound in a similar way to My Name Is by Eminem.
Like Eminem, he has an aggressive delivery and a brilliant capacity for rhymes and wordplay. The themes he chooses, though, are somewhat different to most other rappers, and this gives him his own style. Over a slinky hip hop beat and a harpsichord melody, Arpad lays down a smooth flowing rap that touches on his faith and importance of family, as well as declaring his strong self-belief.
Next on the E.P is Dear Mother, a poignant and moving track about dealing with the grief of losing a loved one and a source of inspiration. This kind of depth and emotional honesty is not that common in hip hop and this is what makes Arpad B stand out from the rest of the pack. The eloquent lyrics address her directly and lay bare his deepest feelings, which is a brave artistic move in a hip hop scene full of aggression and male bravado.
This different, honest approach carries on to the next track On My Mind, which is backed by a pulsing synth and a funky, skittish beat featuring some intricate, complex hi hat patterns. Near the start he readily admits “The life of crime was something that appealed to me….” but goes on to recount how the strength of his faith helped him take a more moral path. Again, it is refreshing to hear this when so many hip hop artists choose to glamorize violence and the gangster lifestyle.
This lifestyle is the topic of Who Shot Biggie? and the subject matter of this won’t need to be explained to any true hip hop fan. It hails the late rap star Notorious B.I.G. as a legend, and states the one who murdered him ‘murdered hip hop‘. It’s a powerful, hard hitting track and the simple hook of “Who shot Biggie Smalls? I wanna know….” is one of the catchiest on the E.P.
Sixth track November 25th is short but potent at only two minutes twenty, and features a gorgeous piano riff drenched in reverb as Arpad last down some of his sharpest rhymes. He muses on the state of society and the ‘misuse’ of hip hop, but also notes rightly that ‘the politicians be doin’ the biggest crimes‘.
I’m Gonna Shine is last and makes the perfect finale to the E.P. It is a defiant display of self-belief with a great chord progression as well as the funkiest beat and catchiest chorus hook of them all: “I’m gonna shine cos it’s my time, I’m telling y’all I’m gonna get mine…”. This would be a good single, being the most instant track.
Overall, this is a very strong E.P. that marks out Arpad B as an original voice on the hip hop scene both in terms of sound and the depth and variety of his lyrical content. With the Always Get My Own E.P. soon to follow it won’t be long before he gets the recognition he deserves, from both the public as well as his hip hop peers, and he has the talent to stick around for a long time.
Verdict: 8.5 out of 10
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