Don’t Sleep | Brelstaff – In Human Terms

Don’t sleep on this latest beat tape from Brelstaff. It was released on February 15th this year. Brelstaff‘s self titled album was one of my favorite instrumental projects of 2020, so I was pretty optimistic going into this project, and it didn’t let me down.

The first track is called The Case of Ape Bandit, and I think it sets the tone for the rest of the project really well. It’s a super chill, jazzy beat. I love the vocal sample that comes in during the last 50 seconds. It’s a really dope track. It’s followed by a major highlight for me entitled Idyll. This is another super smooth, chill instrumental. I love how calm it sounds. The saxophone that comes in after like 25 seconds sounds gorgeous to me. I feel like a Southern MC like Bun B or maybe Spaceman Jones would sound great over it. The song is dope af. The following track is another highlight called Couped Up. I don’t know who the vocals are performed by, but they really added a lot to this track. The vocalist actually kinda reminds me of Julee Cruise to be honest. It’s a super chill, dreamy, jazzy track. It kinda switches up for the final 30 seconds and gets more hard-hitting and energetic, which I appreciated. It transitions into my favorite song on the album, Not Enough Crime, really well. Not Enough Crime is easily the most hard-hitting, Boom Bap oriented track on the project. It’s still kind of a reserved beat, but the drums just hit harder than a lot of the others. It sounds a bit more chaotic. It’s coincidentally the longest track on the album, and it has a really nice switch up after about a minute and a half. The beat gets even darker and grimier at this point. My face scrunches up every time I hear it.

Whenever I hear a beat this dark, I immediately think of Conway just because he’s my favorite Gangsta rapper right now. Any competent street rapper would sound right at home over this beat though. This is kind of a different sound that I wasn’t expecting from Brelstaff, but I think he nailed it. The song is dope af. The next highlight for me is the title track, In Human Terms. This track sounds a lot less dark and more celebratory than the aforementioned instrumental. It kinda reminds me of No Wheaties by Big K.R.I.T. It’s a really dope track. The next highlight I wanna mention is Angle Park. This track kinda reminds me of Black Coffee by Kill Bill. I love the kind of muffled, echoey horn loop. The only artist I can think of whenever I hear this track is Sade. I think it transitions really nicely into the following track, Set It Off. This is probably the dreamiest instrumental on the whole album. It’s super soft and glittery sounding. It sounds like stardust. It sounds like the color periwinkle to me. I think it’s dope as hell. The last highlight I wanna talk about real quick is called Silo. This is another pretty breezy instrumental that I could see someone like Joey Bada$$ rapping over. It’s a pretty nice track to begin with, but what pushes it to the next level for me is the beat switch that occurs after about 100 seconds. The beat gets a lot dreamier here, and the percussion gets a bit more hard-hitting. The song is dope as hell. The only song that I don’t really care for on this project is Second Wave. It’s not really a bad instrumental at all, but it just doesn’t stand out to me much. It’s just under a minute long, so I guess there wasn’t really time to flesh it out that much. Again, it’s far from a bad beat, but nothing about it pushes the song to the next level for me. It did kinda reminds me of that album by Company Flow called Little Johnny from the Hospitul. It’s just not something I’d return to though. I also feel like it ends really abruptly. However, that’s the only song out of 20 tracks that I don’t see myself returning to. Everything else is dope.

This project is pretty great. I didn’t mention it in the body of this review, but there were clips of what sounded like a Crime film spliced throughout the project, which gave it kind of a whodunit theme. I thought that was pretty cool. The beats themselves are super chill for the most part. If you’re into lofi producers like wun two or Jansport J I think you’ll dig this. I will say that the front half was definitely a bit more interesting to me than the second half, but I wouldn’t say any of the beats here are bad at all. Even the one track that doesn’t have much replay value is decent. Check this shit out and let me know what you think of it. It’s a dope tape to me.

Favorite Song: Not Enough Crime
Least Favorite Song: Second Wave


Grade: B+

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