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, I’ll be delving deep into a selection of tracks from ‘2 Timbz Down,’ the debut studio endeavor from the up and coming hip hop artist Spade Monrow. The album, which boasts a notable distribution deal with Dope Hitz Entertainment and Forbes Music, has already garnered significant attention for its single releases. The record is due out this coming spring. Is it worth your time? Let’s dig into it and find out.
‘Big Plays,’ a single that was released in October, has accumulated over 20,000 streams and downloads since its debut. Thus, it’s the first track I gravitated toward when exploring Spade Monrow’s music. Out of the gate, I can see why Monrow appeals to the indie hip hop community. He’s got some incredibly solid production baked into his tracks, and ‘Big Plays’ is certainly a track that could stand on its own two feet against mainstream counterparts. The indie hip hop genre is so inundated with poor production, so artists like Monrow are few and far between.
Outside the production, ‘Big Plays’ is a track that defines Monrow as a performer quite well. His presence is commanding and powerful, and there’s an undertone of electronic and dub in the instrumentation that works into his persona nicely. ‘Chalk It Up,’ another track from the upcoming LP, is heavily reminiscent of the artists that Monrow cites as primary influences: Notorious B.I.G, 50 Cent, and the like.
‘Dangerous’ is arguably the best of the tracks I was sent off of ‘2 Timbz Down.’ Monrow’s presence and lyricism on the track is excellent, and his eclectic use of autotune is fantastic. It reminds me heavily of some of Kanye West’s productional stylings on 2013’s ‘Yeezus,’ actually, and ‘Dangerous’ is an anthemic, badass hip hop tune through and through.
Similar to ‘Dangerous,’ ‘Suspect’ offers an explosive production that dials into Monrow’s borderline electronic sound. It’s one of his most convicted performances. ‘Woop Woop’ follows, a commentary of sorts on the police that has bizarre references to ‘Mortal Kombat’ and the like. It’s one of Monrow’s most eccentric lyrical bouts.
Finally, ‘I Got The Keyz,’ a bonus track on the LP, is a well rhymed jaunt through Monrow’s self-adoration. That may be my only major critique of an otherwise very good collection of tunes: I’d love to see Monrow explore themes that aren’t as self-centralized. Outside of that, though, ‘2 Timbz Down’ is shaping up to be a record worth picking up.