Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be shining our gaze on Richard Barboni, otherwise known under the musical moniker of Sequel. He’s an American hip hop artist with a burgeoning musical resume online, including a lengthy release he dropped several months ago, the ‘Underground Prince Mixtape.’ Thus, Sequel is shaping himself early to become a quite a prolific artist. Let’s explore some of his new music.
I’ve said this countless times before, but it always bears repeating. The independent hip hop community is inundated with music, more so than any other. There is so much poorly produced music in its realm. Artists like Sequel are certainly refreshing in this regard, because his production isn’t lackluster and his lyrical style isn’t overly derivative.
Several hours before I began penning this review, Sequel dropped a track called ‘Imprint.’ It’s one hell of a good hip hop track, exhibiting a slick and simplistic synthesizer beat that favors brevity over anything ostentatious. Sequel overlays himself into its soundscape with ease, becoming one with his production. A lot of his tracks do boast heftier productions, though, such as those found on ‘Underground Prince.’
Sequel seems to balance that well, especially on tracks like ‘Realest Recognize,’ which harnesses one of the best instrumentations I’ve heard in the indie hip hop community this year. His excursions through Kanye West-esque soul hip hop, as showcased on ‘Head Shot Kill,’ are surprisingly effective, too.
The reason Sequel isn’t as stereotypical as his indie counterparts lies in the opening of his new mixtape, the ‘Intro’ track. Essentially, he argues he’s a continuation of a long lineage of quality hip hop, rooted in several generations. This is important: he understands where his craft came from and how he needs to help move it forward. The indie scene is far too full of superficial, stereotypical, bland acts who just want to drop the next hot mixtape on their way to the poolside bar, a beautiful model in each arm. (Seriously, the self-aggrandizing of the scene is ridiculous.)
There are some production quips in Sequel’s music that will likely be addressed in time. Sometimes, his vocals aren’t mixed quite right into their tracks, such is the case with ‘Picture This (Cameras.)’ A quick remix increasing his personal presence in the production would likely remedy this well.
Sequel is a remarkably promising young talent. ‘Underground Prince Mixtape’ is indicative of a hip hop artist that can overcome the monotony of his own scene to shine brightly. He’s moving in a good direction, though he could be augmented by some production help to take him to the next level. Spin his music on Sound Cloud and Reverb Nation below.