Friday, July 26, 2013

[Mixtape Review] Rashad Stark - VIGILANTE

Since dropping his project SOAR 2 last October, Rashad Stark made it clear that he was not a stagnant artist. Showing major improvement in his rap and especially production skills, it set him apart from being known as Steezy's sidekick to being his own artist. With VIGILANTE Rashad set out not only to improve once again but establish his own sound and for the most part he does. 

VIGILANTE is definitely an improvement over last year's SOAR 2, overall better rapping, production and little nuances such as track placement set it ahead of his previous effort. VIGILANTE feels like a more complete project due to all of these reasons, while I felt SOAR 2 had more of a mixtape feel. Rashad made strides in improving his subject matter with a much mature and dark sound featured on this tape think "Carnage II" from SOAR 2. Which was probably the best track on SOAR 2 due to its subject matter that dealt with Rashad's various personal issues. VIGILANTE does have it's "Bxtch I Think I'm Yeezy" moments but they are far and few compared to the much more personal material.

When I spoke with Rashad during our interview last year, he spoke about VIGILANTE and how he wanted to find his sound. I don't necessarily think he does on this project but he comes damn near close. Due in part to better production choices to fit his voice and flow and an overall more consistent quality verse wise. Over the 12 track project you'll learn about Rashad the man and the artist. I think with his next project if he continues on the path he established with this and SOAR 2 he'll definitely find his niche. 

One of the main highlights of the tape is the various artists featured on the tracks. All do an excellent job in not only contributing to the track but improving it as well. However, I definitely think we can all agree that Akoko's Sugg Savage stole the show on many of her appearances on the project. Kudos to her. Also, gotta give credit to Rashad for putting together a nice list of guest artists. A few of my favorites being "GODS" the spiritual successor to "Chrono Triggers", both which feature MiggFAM and Mike of Doom to "All Black Susanoo'" featuring EZITO and the aforementioned Sugg Savage. Credit to all who were featured really.

Overall VIGILANTE impresses for the most part, there was little I could find wrong with it. I could do without the 12 track one hour duration and the sometimes over the top anime references and lines but those are more of personal issues than actual detriments to the project. As of now VIGILANTE is a career best for Rashad, who continues to improve with each tape and come closer to finding that sound that he can call his own. 

Standout Tracks: GODS, All Black Susanoo', Just Hold Me, & Real Nigga Anthem 

+ More mature/personal subject matter
+ Excellent features
+ Coehisive sound
+ Improved lyrical and production skill

- Over the top lines/references 
- Short track list, long duration
- No track featuring me