This album was released on October 16th in 2020. Fatboi Sharif is an artist from New Jersey who I first became familiar with last year when he started dropping singles with Roper Williams. I covered him back when I did my Best Singles of the Week series, and I knew he was dope from the first verse I ever heard him spit. I actually can’t remember what the first song I heard from him was, but I want to bring your attention to his verse on Ill Initiates by Iceberg Theory because he slaughtered that track. He also had a great performance on a song called The Vatican from Iceberg Theory‘s Slothmonk & Friends compilation, so check that shit out too. I didn’t have quite as much experience with Roper Williams prior to listening to this album, although I had heard some dope shit that he’d done with artists like The Underachievers, Pink Siifu, Navy Blue, Maxo, and brainorchestra., so I was expecting the production to be dope. I actually was expecting this project as a whole to be one of the better albums of 2020 as well.
As always, since there aren’t any songs that I don’t care for on this album, I’ll write about the full project in the proper order of the track listing. It begins with Tragic. The production here from Roper Williams is pretty cool, albeit repetitive. As the title kind of hints, the lyrics contain references to a lot of tragic shit that has either happened in the past or is happening right now.
Slave plantation for nine days
Waiting for Kanye
Paul Walker on the highway
I really like Fatboi Sharif’s voice; I can’t think of any other rappers who sound like him. Overall, the song has a super simplistic structure, and it doesn’t ever really get that adventurous sonically, but I definitely still enjoyed it. I feel like Fatboi Sharif puts a lot of effort into his actual rhymes. Some artists prioritize flow, others prioritize wordplay, but Sharif goes all in on the rhymes, which I appreciate. It’ll become more clear as I show more examples of the lyrics later on in this review. Anyway, Tragic is a pretty good song to me. The following track is called I’m Buggin’. The production on this track feels much more intricate than on the preceding song. It’s a bit more uptempo, so Sharif’s flow has more energy. The song is under two minutes, but it somehow feels longer than the preceding track. One thing I appreciate about Sharif is that the edginess feels like a complement to the skill, rather than a distracting gimmick. It’s not the only aspect of his music that stands out. I love how simplistic yet cold the hook on this track sounds. The verses are filled with outrageous comments and imagery, and the hook is just him calmly saying, “Oh, I’m buggin’?”
Same person, gay virgin
Rick James searchin'
Pedophile brain surgeon
Malcolm X, Jeffery Dahmer
The same person
I love how evil and cold the production here sounds. It really sounds like a horror movie soundtrack. Overall, I think the song is really dope. The following track, Fly Pelican, is even better in my opinion. This is the first track on the album with a feature. I’m not familiar with this YL guy, but he did a really nice job here. He doesn’t exactly have the most Google-able name, so it was hard for me to find information about him, but I did see that he collaborates with Roper Williams a lot, so maybe I should check some of that stuff out. Anyway, this is the first track that really came close to blowing me away. I really love the somewhat soulful, melodic production here, and the opening verse from Fatboi Sharif is great.
My bad bitch see-through, police flew
4AM, Robitussin out the teaspoon
Sexy chauffeur, she go purr
Shelter frame, peakin’ through the goat’s fur
My poster spoke volumes, it woke her
With heavy bass in the background from Roper
I think this track has one of the best hooks on the project too. I feel like Roc Marciano would sound really great over this beat. YL killed the second verse though.
I fall back, mad humble
Hit Japan, and I arrive to a cash bundle
Money make me feel alive
Niggas wasn’t even down to ride ‘cause they pussy and they lack hustle
As I kind of insinuated earlier on, this is definitely a highlight for me. It’s dope as hell. Track 4 is a single entitled Smithsonian.
I think the preceding track transitions into this one really nicely. This is the most energetic instrumental on the whole album up to this point. As always, Fatboi Sharif was rhyming his ass off here.
Panic set, news at 12, we saw Dave Koresh
At Bangladesh right where the raven set
I don’t think there’s a single verse on this album that isn’t stuffed with multi-syllabic rhyme schemes.
Spin kick split from the mask of Jason
Drug traffic case, king’s assassination
Pass greatness faith, crash arrangement
Gold pigment, figment imagination
I think this track has some of the best rapping on the whole album. The first verse was nice, but he went even harder on the second one.
I get between an almanac And a best selling novel on Malcolm X Invasion of planet 9 where the infants stillborn chemistry Century barbaric cyclones, channeled mentally Hell-bound side effects, cloned on a killing spree From the last chapter of Annie Wilkes Misery
I think the song is dope as hell overall. Track 5 is a 38-second instrumental interlude from Roper Williams entitled Xavenstein, and it’s actually one of my favorite beats on the album. It sounds like there’s a sample of Bert & Ernie in there, so that was cool. I got kind of a J Dilla vibe from the beat. It’s dope as hell. It’s followed by a major highlight for me called The Cure for Amoxicillin. I’m loving the production on this one. The beat sounds like anxiety in the form of music. It’s like what would play in my mind as I’m trying to escape a murderer’s basement while he’s distracted. This is the kinda beat that wouldn’t work at all if the rappers were wack. The way L.I.F.E. Long & Sharif were going back and forth over it was fucking amazing. I don’t have any experience with L.I.F.E. Long as an artist aside from his feature on The Cold Vein, but this track really made me want to check out more of his work. His voice reminds me of Elucid mixed with Saul Williams. I don’t know who I was more impressed by on this song; their chemistry was actually off the charts. Honestly, they sound like they should be in a group together because the way they were going back and forth was fire. They were rhyming their asses off.
Seek lambs between lands
Seeker clan, patrolling police van
My sneak chance chose pretty teen hands
Me and robber, cruise in a tinted green van
Caravan stashed with weapons and contraband
Target your generals, I’ll blast your Contra command
Shapeshift, change objective; stretch armstrong plastic man
Drastic plans, the smoking villain in Amsterdam
I probably misquoted some of the lines, but it is what it is. They killed this shit. There’s not a single aspect of this song that I dislike. I think it’s dope af. Track 7 is entitled Arsenic. This song has another one of my favorite beats. It’s the kinda beat I would listen to even without vocals. The jazzy, melodic, yet dark production sounds really pretty. Something about the way Sharif was rhyming on this track was really mesmerizing to me too. The flow pattern felt very circular to me. I don’t know if that makes sense, but the way the rhymes kept repeating had me picturing them in a circular pattern. I feel like what I just said makes no sense, but fuck it. All you need to know is that I really liked the way he was rhyming here.
Stand exquisite, planning physics
Manic minutes, paragraphs, the man, who is it?
Stamped in a tomb, vampires lost interview
Grants from the ghoul, gargoyles last general
I think I misquoted a lot of these lines, but you can still see the rhymes here. Damn near every syllable in each line matches up as a rhyme. This song has a nice hook, and both of the verses are fire. I think this shit is dope as hell. It’s followed by yet another highlight entitled Nasty Man. This one has a really nice, relatively uptempo beat. I really love the melodic hook from Sharif too. He’s not really a singer, but he has the kind of voice that can pull off melodic hooks very well in my opinion. The opening quatrain of this song has a pretty gnarly reference to Afrika Bambaata’s pedophilia.
If your tune’s fakin’ I’ll tie you in U2’s basement
With your booboo achin’ from the Zulu Nation
As the title kind of indicates, the lyricism here is a bit more provocative than that of the other songs, which is saying a lot.
Jerk the Lochness with many sharp objects
Jonbenét won the all city twerk contest
A violent teen night before halloween
Dr. Loomis raided the solemn, Osama’s scream
I don’t really have any gripes with this track. I think it’s dope as hell. It’s followed by Galvy, which is one of the shortest songs on the album; it’s only 68 seconds long. I think it has one of the coolest instrumentals on the album though. Once again, the production sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to a horror film. There’s not that much rapping here since the song is so short, and due to Sharif’s shouty delivery it’s kinda hard for me to make out a lot of what he’s saying. However, I did hear him say something about someone who’s 3 feet tall with an insanity plea, so that was pretty interesting. It’s one of the tracks that I enjoy more sonically since his flow is a bit more unique here. I think the song is dope. The next track is called Murder Them. This is another major highlight for me. I think the production here is fucking awesome. I’m not sure how much of it has to do with the additional synth contribution from Driveby, but it’s one of the darkest beats on the project. It’s hard as fuck. I love how aggressive and chaotic Sharif’s delivery here is too. This track has my favorite hook on the project. I feel like this would go crazy at live shows. I can picture the entire crowd screaming that hook. As of Friday, February 12th, I still haven’t decided whether I like this more than The Cure of Amoxicillin or not. Even though he’s shouting all his bars, it’s not as hard for me to understand him like it was on the preceding track. Again, it’s a major highlight for me. The production, vocal delivery, loud, melodic hook; and dark lyricism are all awesome. It’s dope af. Track 11 is called The Jackolantern Sculpture. The way Roper sampled the national emergency alert system on this beat is fucking awesome. They technically beat Busta Rhymes to the punch, so that’s cool. That noise usually instills a massive level of anxiety in me, but when it’s in music it just sounds cool to me. With that said, I don’t wanna hear anyone else try to do it because it’ll become played out if too many people abuse it. The only people I’ve heard do it so far are Roper, Swizz Beatz & J57’s homie Ric Chavez. Anyway, there’s not really a consistent pattern of percussion on this track, so Sharif has kind of a Spoken Word-ish flow here.
By the year 1998, the city of Gotham will cherish the legend of Jigsaw
On plantations where apes test lip gloss
It’s definitely one of the weirdest tracks on this album, which is saying a lot. It’s not exactly a highlight for me, but it does stand out just due to its uniqueness. I think it’s really dope. It’s followed by Stigmata, which is a song that I didn’t really care for on my first listen of the album. I like it more now than I originally did though. I do like the production a lot, but I’ve never really been a fan of pitch shifted vocals in music to be honest, so that’s what makes this one less appealing to me. I think sometimes depending on a rapper’s voice it can sound cool, but most of the time it just makes them harder to understand. I kinda get why Sharif did it here though. I think it fits the beat well. The song is pretty good to me, but, again, far from a favorite of mine. The penultimate track is entitled White Noise. The beat on this track doesn’t really standout much to me, especially compared to some of the others, but it’s not bad at all. The opening verse from Pootie is really nice. I’d never heard of him, but he had a dope performance here.
My people meditate, move quick like featherweight
Still won’t hesitate to lift skin back like leatherface
It sound brutal, but I’m truly in a better place
I eat the noodles with the chicken on a separate plate
While Parisian bitches feed me biscuits ’til my belly ache
Smoke so much, don’t get high, I levitate
The second verse from Sharif feels shorter than that of Pootie, but he still did his thing. Overall it’s a dope track to me. The final track is called Nuclear Warfare. This is another major highlight for me. It has one of the hardest, grimiest beats on the album. I love how dusty and muffled the percussion sounds. It’s one of the shortest songs on the album, but it hits real hard.
Poison seawater, golden silk practice
Cloverfield captured Scientology master
Native land fracture, thought a man passed up
Far from home, the overlord stature
There wasn’t really any room for error since the song is so short, and in my opinion he nailed it. I think it’s dope af.
This album is dope as hell. It’s super weird, which I of course appreciate. Fatboi Sharif is definitely a unique artist, not only due to the themes in his music, but also his approach to composing songs. There’s not a single track here that reaches three minutes in length, but none of them really sound too scant or incomplete. As I mentioned a couple times in the body of this review, I really appreciate how much effort Sharif puts into writing rhymes. Pretty much every verse is stuffed with multi-syllabic rhyme patterns. I gotta shoutout Roper Williams too because these beats are hard. A lot of them really sound like they’re straight from a horror movie score. All of the features killed it on this album too. My favorite is easily L.I.F.E. Long. Even the hooks on this album are good. Really, any complaint I have is specific to a particular song. I don’t think there are any inherent issues with the album overall. Maybe some people might wish that the songs were a bit longer, but I personally kinda liked the short length since they prevented each track from getting stale. The album is really great overall. Check it out.