DISCLAIMER: THE OPINIONS OF THE ALBUM REVIEW ARE NOT THE OPINIONS OF THE TRACKSTARZ GROUP. THIS IS MERELY ONE PERSON’S OPINION AND ANY CRITIQUES OFFERED ARE NOT DONE IN A SPIRIT OF MALICE, BUT IN AN EFFORT TO CHALLENGE THE ARTIST TO RISE TO THE LEVEL OF EXCELLENCE THAT HE/SHE IS CAPABLE OF.
When it comes to music, there are often times when everyone sounds exactly the same. In an age of trap beats and mumble rap, Shep the Shepherd and Timmy Clover come to hip hop with a unique sound. Shep isn’t a stranger to Trackstarz. Last year he sent us a single called Sumndays and it was well received in the line 4 line showdown. Now he comes with a new album titled Trapper Keeper. So lets check out what he has been working on since we last heard him.
The first thing that stood out to me was his cover art. There are a few different statements that paint a picture of a storm trooper from Star Wars. The title “Trapper Keeper” takes me back to my childhood days where all the cool kids had a trapper keeper in school. Shep the Shepherd teamed up with Timmy Clover on this album for a total of 10 tracks. Timmy Clover produced the album and Shep came with the vocal performance. I don’t know if it was done on purpose, but the track listing was actually placed in alphabetical order.
The first song is Black Hole and I felt the unique production of synths and horns set the tone to let you know this wasn’t going to be a traditional hip hop album. You immediately feel Shep’s unique vocal usage almost scratchy and he changes up this flow pattern a few times. Cali4nia Dream’n is probably my favorite track. It has that west coast feel and I think this was one of Shep’s better flows on the album. This song is one you can ride with the top down and your wife next to you.
ChinChillan had a much different feeling than the previous song. This was a trap beat, but instead of holding a consistent rap flow, it almost felt more of a spoken word song. In this song Shep is sharing how those who are wrapped up in fame and living in the world desperately need Jesus. Next, is the lead single “Happy Song.” Another west coast feel sharing his appreciation for the west coast. There also seemed to be a little homage to Ice Cube with the latter part of the hook being. “Today was a good day.”
“Lost in Translation” is a song dedicated to his spouse, but in a different way than Cali4nia Dream’n. This is more of a personal and more sexually inclusive track. We don’t get too much of this type of content in CHH, so it definitely makes it stand out. The hook on it was done well and Timmy Clover did a great job on this one. “Pressure” was one of the more intense songs on the album. The intensity matched the references of Marvel’s Avenger characters. There were a few lines that I thought stood out such as, “Check my baggage how I carried on.” Halfway through the song the production slows and Shep matches his vocals with the slower pace. This is one to turn the bass up loud and loose your head.
The last song on the album is “Traphic.” This song had my favorite from hook from Shep. It was simple but it worked. The production shared many of the same instrumentation and sounds as the first song. That is probably more noticeable if you listen to the album on repeat. It didn’t sound exactly the same, but it did share a few elements.
Here at Trackstarz we like to help artists improve in all areas of their creative works. With this overall goal in mind I would like to share just a few critiques and suggestions. Throughout the album there are several moments where Shep’s breathing can be heard. I would suggest working on breathing control during recording. On a couple songs where he changes flow patterns he didn’t land on the track in perfect order. That made it feel a little uncomfortable. Shep has a unique voice and I would love him to keep working on honing that sound and make it work for him. There is not a lot of people in CHH with that sound and if he makes it his, he will be able to capture his core audience even more. The production on the album was great and Timmy Clover showed his professionalism on it. If you want something with a different sound this is an album to check out for sure.