Phase 2 – Boombox Chronicle – Review

Phase2Here’s a story of just another Filipino rapper who grew up in the Middle East, relocated to North Carolina and now makes hip-hop tracks that ring back to the boom bap days of the 90’s. If you’ve seen one, then you must have seen Phase2 because I’ve never seen another. You can tell Phase (can I call him “Phase”) is a total hip-hop head.  You can hear the years of rap influence in his flow as well as his beats. I would say he’s done his homework, except you can tell listening to the great rappers of ol’ isn’t work for him at all.

Phase2 – Boombox Chronicle

He has a deep respect for hip-hop music and the culture, that much is obvious. I grew up in the 90’s with artists like Method Man, Redman, Big L and The Pharcyde, and this guy is bringing all these artists back to life in his songs. He is a lot like a boom bap buffet. Get your plate, have a little KRS-One here, a little Delinquent Habits there, sit down and enjoy. I think old school dudes like me are going to want to eat up and be sure to go back for seconds.

Phase2 has solid timing in his delivery. His lyrics are well thought out. His word play is on point. If I was to make one small criticism it would be that sometimes he tries to string too many words together. Sometimes you need to “play the silence” as they say in the jazz world. Finding a few more moments to take a breath and let a line sink in would only help to improve his already solid flow.

His break-out mixtape, The Boombox Chronicles is a collection of dark, gritty boom bap drums over minor melodies that chronicle snippets of his younger days growing up in the Middle East. His song “By My Side” has a classic rapper-who-doesn’t-really-sing-but-tries-to-sing-the-hook-anyway sound and it works great. The sentimental vibe along with the simple words make it a sure fire sing-a-long classic. It’s definitely a song for the ladies, but it is still produced with enough of an edge that the fellas can get down on it as well. The video for the song is great too. You can tell he didn’t have a big budget for video production, but the use of different angles and some solid editing really make it work. We get a look into Phase’s world, a look at his hood and we get to check out his performance style. All in all, a very well-done video for a small budget. Other indie rappers can learn a thing or two from him on how to make a low-budget video look good.

Overall, I really dig Phase2. He reminds me of the days I lived in my parents basement with Cypress Hill posters on my wall, dreaming of the day I would make it as a rapper. The dream is alive and well in North Carolina. And that makes an old school dude like me feel pretty good.

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