>> Independent rapper Safari Al returns with a lo-fi tape that is as listenable as it is intriguing.
When it comes to the artists in the art rap and chill-hop genres, Safari Al (or s.al as he’s listed on this project) has been one of the rising stars in the small encroaching scene. If you’re a fan of Milo and his company, you’re probably already a fan of Al’s work. He rides a very similar line as his contemporaries, finding a more lo-fi, poetic approach with couplet flows to be his nesting ground. This split tape has tracks divided between two years and through two producers, Steel Tipped Dove and Cold Lunch respectively, is inspired by the cassette format, and after one listen that really shows. There’s a distinct, chill vibe throughout the project that stems from the beats, sampling, and Al’s vocal delivery. His lyrical approach places the listener in a lot of the locations he’s rapping about. The point of view he comes from feels very personal, and through a lot of these songs, you’ll feel as if you’re reading his journal or sitting next to him and holding a conversation. The intimacy, care, and casualness of the beats compliment him incredibly well. It provides him with a smooth context to build upon. There’s a distinctive vibe shift once the project shifts from side A to side B. Whereas “I Steel Of Radiance” has a more lingering, meandering pace, “I Feel So Action” is ever so slightly more urgent. Even if the beat isn’t fast, AI’s tone and that of the production itself, indicate that the point must be reached soon. Ideas of radiance and action genuinely feel represented by their respective sides, the pause between the shift of these two sides feels very reminiscent of if you’d have to physically flip a tape. While a project like that flirts with the danger of feeling disjointed, ‘I Steel Of Radiance, I Feel So Action’ never feels inconsistent or jarring, and instead feels very well thought out and effective.
The biggest gripe with this project would really be the levels in the mixing. Sometimes Al feels too quiet in comparison to the instrumentals, and other times it feels as if he’s towering over them. If this feeling was intentional, it could stand to be a little more clear, but it also can be filed as a concern within personal taste. With a project like this, in this particular genre, simplicity is the desired effect, and a slight issue like that can feel much more present.
Overall, ‘I Steel Of Radiance, I Feel So Action’ delivers exactly what you’d want and expect for a follow-up project from Safari Al. The project is sparing, chill, simple, and smart, blending all of its elements in a way that feels comfortable and progressive. The end result is something that is thematic and refreshing, with a relatively brief runtime. It has room to breathe without laboring on too long. Al hit his mark on this project and created something that’s definitely worth several listens. 4.2/5 <<
Listen to 'I Steel of Radiance, I Feel So Action' HERE!