March just ended and we are still living this semi-quarantined life. However, we all have nothing but time to listen to and discover new music. One recently released album was from DMV based hip hop artist GB. His newest project ‘Out of the Dark’ is his most personal project to date, so let’s dive in and see what he has to say during these dark times.
The first song on this project is “Ghost” where we find the emcee singing. GB talks about the dark clouds hanging over him and wondering if they will ever leave. He then goes into a sing-rap flow on his verse as he speaks on needing prayer and fighting for his soul. This is a very interesting way to start the album off. The second song “Paranoia” was produced by Juice Bangers. GB starts out by saying he’s been looking under the bed and in the closet for monsters, sounding very paranoid as the title of the song insinuates. I like the lines, “Can you hear me now like Verizon/ only got bars ’cause I got a strong tower/ what’s the point of bars when you prisoner behind ’em?” I thought those lines were particularly clever. This whole song is a bop and gives the listener a glimpse at how good GB’s writing is. Next is “You Da Man” produced by Kyle Stemberger. This song finds GB attempting to denounce pride as people praise him for being the man while he points them toward who’s really “The Man,” namely God. I like how he flips the whole notion of “You Da Man” on it’s head for the glory of God. This track is also a bop and GB skated on that song.
The next song on the album is “HTB: Reset” produced by Arrow. This track sounds a bit more airy and empty with a feel of eeriness to it. GB gets back into his singing bag but then he switches to a double time rap flawlessly. GB hits the button to reset things and uses a variety of flows in this track as he does so. This song really shows how versatile GB can be on a song. The next song may be one of my favorites from the project just based off the title alone. We arrive at “Pteromerhanophobia,” produced by Obed Padilla and featuring Yaa Boateng and She-Uno. This song has a real chill vibe to it and we hear Yaa Boateng croon the hook ever so softly. The first verse is handled by She-Uno, speaking to the feeling of being afraid to fly. GB speaks about how fear has kept him from launching his dreams. In case you didn’t catch it, “Pteromerhanophobia,” means the fear of flying, and each and every artist bodied this song and hit the nail on the head. The very next song is “HTB: Restart” produced by Freezy The Goat. These “HTB”(Hit The Button) songs feel like interludes but they are also full songs and GB doesn’t waste a line or bar on these. This song speaks to needing to restart and with lines like, “I had to blow the cartridge once again/ what happens after you restart the game?” He hits the subject matter on the nose. Song number seven is “Nowhere to Hyde” produced by 1995. On this song GB feels like he’s someone else but he can’t tell if he’s Jekyll or Hyde, thus the title “Nowhere to Hyde” but he needs to see it for himself. GB really gets in his bag with a ton of quotable lines. I really like, “Pin it on me W.W.E.” He knows he can’t be fake about what he sees, and it’s obvious his sins such as pride are turning him into a different person.
The eighth song on the album is “Unstoppable” produced by Ray Baker. This song was actually the lead single released before the album dropped. I can see why this was the lead single, as it just sounds like overcoming, even though GB speaks of struggling on most of this song. He talks about people in his corner encouraging him to continue on his music journey but he questions, “My wife behind me the entire time she so clutch/ Somebody tell me if it’s only meant to be a hobby why I care so much” A question I’m sure a lot of musical creatives ask themselves more times than they would care to admit. GB talks about overcoming limitations and hesitations and realizing with God we are unstoppable. Next we have “Win or Lose” produced by 1995. GB seems like he stepped through the darkness he struggled with and into the marvelous light. Times are still hard but he’s really leaning on and trusting in God. GB also pays homage to those who fell on their swords in combat and couldn’t come back. This song has the right touch of Boom Bap to it and allows GB to just pour out his heart on this track. Next is “21k” produced by 1995 with additional production from Freezy The Goat. This song sounds like victory, plain and simple. This song with the sample just sounds like celebration and GB is celebrating how far he’s come but he realizes, “If I ain’t out I’m on my way/ this could take a while.” This song will definitely have you feeling good and it’s just a great song. The last song on the album is “It’s Alright” produced by 1995. Clocking in at just under a minute and a half, this is definitely the shortest song on the album. GB speaks of feeling the rain but it’s alright, eventually the clouds will move and, “Here comes the sun, it’s alright.”
In conclusion, this was a well crafted album, honestly the best album I’ve reviewed so far this year. You can tell from the top to the bottom of the project that GB was very meticulous in each and every song. There are no filler songs, each one has a clear and concise purpose for being on the album. The project had a clear sound, dark, eery, with bouts of urgency, that eventually gave way to light. GB told us a story that went from dark to light while he guided the listener musically along the way. GB is a poet turned emcee and it definitely showed on this project. In a time where people seem to only care about the vibe of a song, the lyrics were prominent and just as important as the production. Almost every song had some witty or quotable bar, and GB doesn’t sound bad singing either. I think he had a good number of features and each featured artist complimented both GB and the song. The only thing I would have changed is maybe put “It’s Alright” before “21k” so the album could go out on the highest note. Good music is easy to write about, and as you can see, I’ve written a lot. If you want to hear an excellent album, I highly recommend GB’s ‘Out of the Dark.’2