This is the 5th full-length LP from Philadelphia emcee O.T. the Real. Starting up in 2016 after coming home from prison & dropping his debut single “Papercuts”, his profile began to grow from there after showcasing his skills on radio stations as well as his a discography currently consisting of 4 albums accompanied by a mixtape & 7 EPs up to this point. Standouts include the Heatmakerz-produced 3rd EP The Irishman, the DJ Green Lantern-produced 3rd album Broken Glass that dropped on my 25th birthday & his previous LP the Statik Selektah produced Maxed Out. I haven’t covered his music since then but he’s dropped his debut mixtape No Matter What & a total of 3 EPs: Desperation of December, It’s Almost Over & Red Summer. All of which were hit or miss for me personally so when it was announced that O.T. was finally signing to Black Soprano Family Records/MNRK Music Group & enlisting araabMUZIK to fully prelude his debut for the Buffalo indie label Zombie, it raised my expectations significantly.
“If They Coulda, They Woulda” is a rugged 103 second boom bap opener having all the perfect samples of the dope that he be producing whereas “Turning Stones” shifts gears into trap territory dedicating this to all his homies who got it their own way. “The Crown” featuring an opening verse from Benny the Butcher & Elcamino on the hook lavishly talks about wearing the titular object on their rollies leading into the spacey trap flavored “Strong Survive” talking about only those who have strength will prosper.
Conway the Machine slides through on the jazzy “Just Different” cautioning that it ain’t the same when it’s you being the one to come & get, but then “Certain Things” featuring 38 Spesh addresses specific topics that they don’t even talk about over an eerie loop hooked up with these kicks & snares. “Ice Baby” takes a groovier route instrumentally working in some hi-hats too showing how he hits it with the ice just before “Blood Stains” featuring Rome Streetz drearily returns to the boom bap talking about having to wash the streets to remove the stains from it.
“Whole Shabang” featuring Amir Ali is an alluring trap start to the final leg of the LP comparing this music shit to the coke exchange prior to the trillwave-inducing “Anemic” featuring LIHTZ talking about how homie only had 1 life & he played with it rather than just staying with it. “JJ Reddick” picks things up comparing himself to the Orlando Magic player of the same name over a glamorous boom bap beat that is until “Fade Away” ends O.T.’s debut with B$F on a dreary note with kicks & snares talking about how you never know when death’s gonna aim your way.
As someone who started following O.T. about 2 & a half years ago when The Irishmen dropped, Zombie is his strongest project since Maxed Out & easily one of the best to come out of the Black Soprano Family camp this year as he is a more than welcoming addition to the roster. araabMUZIK’s production is noticeably more consistent than the mixtape & trilogy of EPs we’ve gotten from O.T. in the last couple years as they go down to the streets with one another to match their intensity.