Strong A.R.M. – Slow Down Strong/That’s Gangsta – Review

Strong A.R.M. - Slow Down Strong/That's GangstaJust in case you were worried, I can tell you with sincerity that real hip-hop is alive and well. Strong A.R.M. is a Brownsville, Brooklyn native who is for sure living up to his name. I actually did a quick Google search for the term “Strong-arm” and the definition I liked best was this:

“To use personal power to push others around. Sometimes not in a physical sense.”

I think that is the perfect way to define Strong A.R.M.’s music. He is using personal power to push others around a.k.a “the haters.” He’s taking a stand, coming real, speaking truth, and taking no prisoners. He also is doing it not in a physical sense, but in a creative sense. He is using the talents that God has given him to make some noise and shake up the game.

Strong A.R.M. – Slow Down Strong/That’s Gangsta

What I also love about Strong A.R.M. is he is what we call a “Hip-hop Hat Trick.” He is the maestro, the DJ and the MC. He is your all-in-one solution for all your hip hop needs. There aren’t a lot of dudes that do it all anymore, so it’s really refreshing to see SA holding it down.

Even though Strong A.R.M. is representing Brooklyn, his production is very West Coast influenced. Actually, he is a great example that the East-Coast/West-Coast Hip-Hop Wars are officially over. His music offers a great mix of coastal influence from both sides, to create his own sound. That is the essence of real hip-hop. The artists that are going to stick around are the ones that are able to blend all the styles of the past and future to create something that is uniquely theirs. Strong A.R.M. does this really well.

Starting with a very straightforward Dr. Dre-influenced beat, his song “That’s Gangsta” starts right off with a strong hook. “Came up from the street with enough heat…” ropes you in right from the top. And not only his production style, but also his flow is very reminiscent of Dre with a little E-40 mixed in. I think 90’s hip-hop fans will find what they are looking for in SA’s music.

But he doesn’t dwell in the 90’s. His sound has definitely been upgraded, and lyrically he stays as relevant as anyone out there. On “Slow Down Strong,” SA brings a rapid-fire lyrical delivery, but makes it sound effortless. His timing is pretty spot on and the lyrics stay strong while he fights the temptation to fill syllables with empty words. Everything SA says has meaning and you can tell he wants you to listen.

The one thing I must say about Strong A.R.M.’s tracks is the mastering is being pushed a little too hard. This makes the track distorted sometimes and overly squashed in the name of trying to make it louder. That is always a challenge for an independent artist. We want our music to be up to radio-ready quality, but sometimes we get overzealous with the faders and push it a little too hard. It doesn’t ruin the tracks by any means, but I would like to see him lay back a little and let the tracks breathe more.

All in all, Strong A.R.M. lives and breathes hip-hop and it shows in his music. This is real hip-hop. This is for the heads…for the old school and for the new school. East Coast and West Coast can unite and celebrate another chapter in the epic history of the music we love.

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