Shilla – Can’t Be Friends – Review

ShillaT-pain started it. Kanye and Lil’ Wayne took off with it. And now artists like Travis Scott and Future are cementing auto-tune’s place in hip-hop history. And even though Jay-Z called it out in 2009 and we thought that was the death of auto-tune, it looks like it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And you know what, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And that is exactly where hip-hop artist Shilla comes in.

Shilla – Can’t Be Friends

In my research, I couldn’t find much info on this man of hip-hop mystery. But I found his YouTube channel and really dug what he has got going on. He has perfected the art of using pretty melodies over dark hip-hop production. I’ve always loved this concept ever since Bone Thugs N Harmony started doing it back in the 90’s. The juxtaposition of the whole thing is genius.  Start with a hard beat that has a dark, almost depressing ambience. Then add a simple, sing-songy melody that makes it kind of a pretty song.  Then when you zone into what the lyrics are about, it brings it back to being dark and depressing. But not in a bad way, necessarily. More like in a real, honest way. There is something really cool about singing (even if assisted with auto-tune) lyrics about hard stuff.
Whether he is talking about partying too much or wanting to kill himself over a girl, Shilla’s lyrics can get pretty dark, but they never come off trite. You know every word is coming from a real-life experience and that makes the lyrics something we really want to listen to. We can relate to the heartache and frustration in what he is singing…

Many of his songs deal with girl problems. Relationships gone wrong, feeling alone after a break up, trying to get an EX to talk to you about what really happened. I mean, how many of us can relate to that? It’s really refreshing to hear a rapper not afraid to talk about these deeply emotional feelings without having to call the girl a “bitch” to make up for it.
These songs are super catchy as Shilla’s formula seems to be to find a simple melody and then latch onto it for an entire song. It’s brilliant because by the end of the song, that melody is stuck in your earhole and you can’t stop from singing it the rest of the day. There are quite a few songs of his that are like that. “Confessions 3” is a particularly beautiful tune. It has a very singable melody that repeats throughout the song. This gets stuck in your ear like a nagging ex-girlfriend!
Another song that follows this formula, is “Show Me.” Another laid back groove with a sweet repetitive melody as Shilla waxes poetic trying to make up with the girl who recently broke his heart. This song also has a great video that goes with it. Shilla’s production, with the recordings and the videos, is top of the line. The beats hit hard and provide a bouncy landscape to accompany his auto-tuned melodies. Lots of great hooks. Honest and real lyrics we can all relate too. Shilla has all the ingredients necessary to truly build a successful career in the music game. If you are going to ride the auto-tune wave, at least do it really well. And Shilla does just that. As long he remains consistent in his formula, I think he will find the fans who need to hear his music.

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