Tardy Album Review | Caleb Giles – Under the Shade

This album was released on July 24th this year. Caleb Giles is a member of Standing on the Corner, which is a popular underground Experimental Hip Hop & Jazz band. You may be familiar with them from their work with artists like MIKE, Earl Sweatshirt, Solange, etc. I’m pretty sure Slauson Malone used to be a member, but I think he left. I might be wrong about that. Anyway, I’ve listened to the first couple projects that Caleb dropped in 2017 & 2018, and I thought they were both pretty good. I think the first one is better. The second one is more polished overall, but it has one of the worst intros I’ve ever heard, which really tarnished the album for me. It’s still good though. Anyway, as much as I like the first two projects, I think they’re very flawed, so I’m hoping he really knocks it outta the park with this one. I’m not expecting it to be one of the best releases of the year, but I do think I’ll enjoy it a lot.

Thankfully, this album ended up really impressing me. I think it’s fucking great. It’s easily Caleb’s best work. There’s not a single track that I don’t like, so I’ll talk about the whole album in the proper order of the tracklist. It starts off with Sunshine, which is far from my favorite track, but it’s still very good. The chill production is very nice, and the rapping from Caleb sounds pretty different from the way he was rapping on his previous work. It sounds much more polished, and less generic. It’s more in line with other up & coming lo-fi Hip Hop artists like Maxo. The song is just one verse, and the rapping isn’t amazing or anything, but I like it. It’s a dope track. It’s just over two minutes long, but it doesn’t feel incomplete despite its brevity. That can be said about pretty much every track on the album though. The second song, Too, features a vocalist named Cleo Reed, who sounds fantastic on the outro. The production on this track is absolutely stunning, and the verse from Caleb is great too. Again, it’s not amazing rapping, but he sounds really fitting over the smooth ass beat. This song alone is better than anything from his first couple albums. It’s dope af. The way it transitions into the next track, Gather, is fucking perfect. Once again, the production is gorgeous. The melodic verse from Caleb sounds fantastic as well. I also really love the background vocals from Dee Lilly. Honestly, the song sounds far more accessible than I would’ve expected. When I found out this guy was from Standing on the Corner, I expected this album to be much weirder than it is. This track sounds like something I’d hear on a Joey Bada$$ album though. The only thing that makes it kind of off-kilter is the length; it’s only 49 seconds long. It’s still dope af though. I fucking love it. The next song is called Blxckberries, and while I don’t like it quite as much as the preceding couple of tracks, it’s still very dope. As far as Caleb’s actual rapping, I think this is one of the best performances I’ve ever heard from him. The first verse is dope, and the second verse is solid too. The content seems pretty conventional, but it’s still very well done. The sung hook on this track is really nice too. The song is great. It’s followed by Roundtable, which is the only song that surpasses 3 minutes in length. The vocals on the hook sound phenomenal, and the chill production from Slauson Malone is very nice. The rapping from Caleb is solid too. I’m not crazy about the screwed outro, but the song is still really fucking awesome. It’s probably my favorite track up to this point on the record. It’s followed by Syl’s Song, which was interesting to me. The main reason is that there was a track on Chuck Strangers’ 2018 album called Syl’s Song, and I’m pretty sure it’s performed by the same person. I might be wrong. Syl DuBenion is pretty dope though. This song in particular is short as hell, but the production is stellar, and Syl’s vocals sound great. The next song is called Quicksand, and I think it might be my favorite track on the album. I don’t know for sure yet though. I haven’t decided. It’s between Quicksand and track 10. Anyway, the production is fucking superb, and the vocals on the hook sound absolutely glorious. Piink Siifu’s singing sounds reallly great too. Caleb’s actual rapping was cool, but this song stood out more sonically than lyrically to me. It’s one of the best songs I’ve ever heard from Caleb. I love it. The next song, Name, is another fantastic song. It has more amazing production from Slauson. I don’t think the vocals on the hook are quite as great as they are on other tracks, but the production alone is enough to push this song to the next level for me. It just sounds gorgeous. The synth that comes in during the second half makes me feel like I’m just chilling with someone I love on a picnic, relaxing in the sunlight, looking at clouds and shit. The song is dope af. The production on What’s Mine from lastnamedavid is pretty cool, although the first half of the song just sounds kinda like a giant cloud of sounds without much really going on. It’s a really chill beat, which is cool, but it’s probably my least favorite on the album. It’s still very good though. The actual rapping from Caleb is solid. If I had to choose a least favorite song, this would probably be what I’d go with. Well, I do have to choose a least favorite song. So yeah, that’s what it is lol. I still think it’s dope though. Track 10 is a reprise of the opening song, Sunshine, and, as I mentioned before, it ended up being one of my favorite tracks. It’s pretty much just a super smooth, mellow, gorgeous instrumental. It features someone speaking on the outro, but I’m not sure if it’s Caleb himself or someone else. The production is absolutely immaculate though. It sounds like love in the form of music. It’s the musical equivalent of warmth. Sunshine is really the perfect title. I adore it. It’s dope af. The final track has more great mellow production from lastnamedavid. It’s a pretty straightforward song; it’s just one verse over a great beat. Nothing really makes the song stand out that much from the rest of the material on the album, but it’s still very good. I fuck with it. It’s dope. 🙂


This album is really great. I’m really glad I checked it out. I’m actually very surprised by how much better this is than Caleb’s first couple albums. I’m also surprised that it hasn’t received more praise. I think it’s way better than Slauson Malone’s album from this year. I suppose the reason it isn’t as acclaimed is because it isn’t as experimental or unique. I don’t give a shit about that kinda stuff as long as the music is great though, and it definitely is in this case. Again, there’s not a single track that I don’t like. The production is fucking stellar throughout the project. I’m not blown away by Caleb’s actual rapping, but it’s far from bad, and it’s certainly improved a lot from his previous work. I don’t have any consistent gripes with this project. It’s really fucking dope. Don’t sleep on it.

Favorite Song: Sunshine Reprise
Least Favorite Song: What’s Mine

87

A minus
Grade: A-

2 comments

  1. Glad you reviewed this, though it isn’t one of my favorite releases from those camp of guys, it still is one of my favorite projects this year. And I know you’re a couple months away from it, but I hope you end up reviewing Medhane-Own Pace. Definitely one of the best albums this year.

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