Album Review | Scuare – Phenomenal

This album was released on March 19th this year. Scuare is an EXOCIETY artist who I first became familiar with through his work with no1mportant as …&more…; I eventually went on to check out his only solo album at the time, which came out in 2013, and was entitled Alphabet Soup. I’d liked everything I heard from him at that point, so I was really excited when he dropped Skin, which was a really great collaborative album with Ramen Suicide. Ramen Suicide is Rav & Kill Bill. I don’t actually know if they go by Ramen Suicide anymore, but I know that at one point that was their name as a duo. Anyway, Scuare really stood out a lot on that album, but it’d still been so long since we’d gotten a solo album from him, so I was even more excited when I found out about this latest project.


One thing I’ve been coming to appreciate about certain albums is when the actual music sounds like the album artwork. Even before I saw the official artwork for this album, I thought it sounded very tropical and watery. The opening track, The Bottom, has a very danceable groove that makes me feel like I’m on the beaches of my mom’s home-country, Trinidad & Tobago. The melody just sounds very refreshing. I really like his melodic delivery on the opening verse, and he’s still got that flow mastered. It sounds like he’s very meticulous with the placement of each syllable whenever he raps. The layered vocals sound great. I like how he immediately kinda references how long it’s been since his last solo album on the hook.

It's been so long, I feel like everything is back in the day
So I just live it like I'm happily just having a break
If you don't fuck with me that's cool, but I'll keep rapping this way
Don't need no company to tap in these waves, I'll be great

The feel-good atmosphere of this song had me dancing around my room like a jackass on my first listen. I think it’s dope as hell. The second track is called Drama, and I think it’s even better. I love the way he rapped on this track. I feel like his lyricism was definitely more dense than that of the opening track on this one.

Why do I try to still find the right lines
With lies that minimize the rise in my pride?
Keep blocking off any prize, the options of getting by
The clouds of enemy skies, I'm doubting everything twice
I'm tired, I'm not wired to really do what's required
I'm mired down by some irony, I ain't feelin' inspired
So why are we swimmin' circles in search of servin' a purpose
Uncertain of what's been worth it, determined to function perfect
Awkward moments off the dome, you talkin' big, but I forget it
Always got a proper flow, get off the topic y'all presented
I don't need no options livin' obstinate, no hops or innings
I'm just here to talk some shit, no toxic shit, just thoughts I've givin'

I love how the production evolves throughout the runtime of this song too. It starts off kinda minimalistic with these really funky drums, and it slowly builds until the song crescendos after about 57 seconds. I’m not sure exactly what instrument that is that comes in at this point, but it sounds fucking fire. I was really caught off guard by just how danceable so many moments on this album are, and this is a perfect example. I feel like if you don’t at least get the involuntary head nod at this point, especially due to the way he’s flowing, you don’t have a soul. He killed this shit. I like it even more than the opening song. I think it’s dope as hell. The following track is called Leviathan, and is performed by …&more… This is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. I love the super smooth, jazzy production. It makes me feel like I’m on a really chill cruise at night. Scuare killed the first verse. I love how melodic his delivery is. His flow is of course still smoother than butter.

I just wanna pass through
Don't ask me, won't ask you
No photos, no flashing, no tattoos
Don't tag me, won't @ you
I'm rapping, I'm past due
Just happy to be back
With some gravity to attach to

Before listening to this song, it’d been years since I’d heard anything from no1mportant, so it was just nice to hear him on this track again. He killed his verse too. I love his melodic delivery, and his flow was just as smooth as that of Scuare. They really make a great pair. I see why they chose to form a group because they compliment each other like peanut butter & jelly. After no1mportant’s verse, Scuare comes back in to sing an incredibly pretty outro. It sounds gorgeous. I love it. The song is dope af, and it’s followed by another major highlight for me entitled Heart Beat. This one’s a contender for my favorite track on the album. Scuare sings through most of it, and it’s just such a pretty, relaxing track. I love the melody of the hook. Scuare’s soft vocals sound really goddamn good. The hook sounds like waves washing over me in the form of music. The way the beat switches up after the hook is fucking awesome too. I love that weird sound that comes in. It sounds like the noise that whales make. The verse that Scuare spits at this point is phenomenal too.

It spins laps around my mind at least half of the time
It's gettin' hard to hold it down, I feel like laughin' & cryin'
I know it's trite, I know it's everybody's battle, not just mine
I posit like I got some thoughts to write
But I'm just nauseous, tryna wrap my head around it
I bet I never sounded the least bit certain
When workin' the odds and ends about them

The song is just under two minutes in length, but I don’t even mind the brevity. I think it’s amazing, and it’s easily one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion. Track 5 is called The Journey. This one is exactly one minute long, and is pretty much just one verse. It feels more like an interlude as a result of its length, but it’s still pretty cool. I love how it sounds like he sampled the sound of someone walking on a hardwood floor for the percussion. You can also hear what sounds like someone knocking on a door. The verse itself is really great too.

I got no grass on my history, don't look forward or back
I season the moment, I never know when to act
I been growin' I guess
When you don't plan in no direction what does growin' invest
It's been double time
Trippin' for no fuckin' reason I'ma just ignore it
I'ma just sit back and try to listen for it
If it's this important I ain't fishin' for it

The song is really dope. The following track is entitled A Message to Young People. The majority of the track is taken up by someone speaking, but I couldn’t understand any of it since it wasn’t in English. The kind of ambient-sounding production behind the speech is pretty cool though. After about a minute, a beat starts fading in along with some light vocals from Scuare. This track feels even more like an interlude than the preceding song. It’s really cool though. I obviously probably would’ve gotten more out of it if I understood what was being said, but the vocals from Scuare are nice, and I think the production is really cool. It’s a good track. It’s followed by Forward & Back Again. This track has one of the most lighthearted, cheerful beats on the album. It sounds like rainbows & sunshine. It’s super clean. Scuare’s flow and melodic delivery are effortlessly smooth here.

Guess I just feel like there's no
Hate when I'm losin' control
Everything that I do right
Remind me of things I did wrong
Remind me of moments in life
When I'm hidin' to hold that shit off
Remind me to hold on the mic
And I might need to roll up and bomb

I think I misquoted that last line. He didn’t say “bomb.” Fuck it, I tried my best. The song is under two minutes long, so there’s really only one verse, but it’s really great. I think the song is dope. It’s followed by a collab with Rav entitled Hillside. This is another major highlight for me. I love the funky production here, and Scuare performs one of the catchiest earworm hooks I’ve heard all year. Also, the way the beat kinda evolves during the verses is fucking awesome. The instrumentation that’s panned to the right is actually insane. The verse from Scuare is fire too.

Ain't no way to reign entropy
Flip pages back, it's our history
Just gotta find a reason to be kind
Believe it, never mind, the pieces take bliss from me
I was stuck on misery and private public blistering
No time for love and listening to other people's misery

Once again, I misquoted that last line. He didn’t say “misery” at the end, but I couldn’t really figure out what the word was. Fuck it. It don’t matter. Rav comes in for the second verse and kills it as always. One thing I’ve come to appreciate about these guys is that not only do they frequently switch up their flows, but they also will spit with a new delivery for each section of their verse, whether it means rapping with more melody or reaching into a deeper register. But yeah, overall, I think the song is dope af. Again, it’s one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion. The penultimate track is called Troubleshooting. This one is produced by sow. I could see someone like Saba or Chance the Rapper spitting over this beat. It’s really jazzy and melodic. I love the horns from FLOOG. I guess a better comparison would be Mick Jenkins because it still has that aquatic sound that I mentioned earlier on in this review.

Y'all just need to troubleshoot
Take a long time, swim in circles for a W
Some of you still don't focus on what's in front of you
Give it a pause, let it come to you
Nature don't force no pace, no course
Don't waste yours for some occasional peace
Space is not formed for your pleasure
Got thorns, but it's better when you flourish in a place that's home deep

Again… I misquoted that last word. I doubt he said “home deep.” I don’t fuckin’ know. Get off my dick, I tried my best. I love how soft Scuare’s vocals are on the outro. His singing sounds like a chill little wave washing over me. The song is dope as hell. The closing track is entitled Here, and is produced by BlkPwRngr. This is another major highlight for me. Every single time I listen to this track the hook gets stuck in my head for hours. I love how funky the percussion is here too. The beat switches up after about 90 seconds, and gets much more somber and soft sounding. I could see someone like Drake spitting over this beat. Scuare’s flow at this point is fucking crack. It immediately gives me the involuntary head nod. He killed it. I think it’s a great way to close the album. Overall, the track is dope af.


This album is pretty amazing to me. I think it’s a step up from Alphabet Soup, which was already a really great album. I mean, you really can’t go wrong with either one, but I just personally prefer this one. I don’t know if it was intentional, but I got kind of an aquatic, watery, island motif from the soundscape, which coincides with the album cover. I love when albums do that. I need to get a physical copy of this album. I’d love to have it on cassette, but a vinyl record will suffice as well. I really have no consistent gripes with this project. I think the production from Scuare is fire, and I appreciate how unique it is. I feel like Scuare has a very recognizable production style. A lot of the beats here are surprisingly danceable. This shit has some earworm grooves on it. It’s easily one of the best albums I’ve heard so far this year. Don’t sleep on this joint. It’s dope af.

Favorite Song: Heart Beat
Least Favorite Song: A Message to Young People

90

Grade: A

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