EP Review | August Fanon & Defcee – We Dressed the City with Our Names

This extended play was released on June 4th this year. Defcee released one of my favorite extended plays of 2020 with ceenick, and has solidified himself as one of the best writers in the underground right now in my opinion. He released a deluxe version of ceenick earlier this year, which was amazing, and now we have this collaborative project with one of my favorite producers in the industry right now, August Fanon. It’s inspired by the movie Style Wars, which I’ve never seen before. It’s about graff writers though, so I’d probably dig it. Anyway, this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, so I think it’s gonna be fire.

There aren’t any tracks that I don’t like on this album, so I’ll write about it in the proper order of the track list. It begins with a major highlight for me entitled Just a Kid Growing Up. This track starts with what I assume is a clip from Style Wars, so you get introduced to the overall theme of the project right away. The beat eventually comes in, and it’s fucking amazing. I love how breezy and sunny it sounds. It sounds like a beautiful day in the form of music. I feel like Slug would fit over this beat really well. It’s boiling hot fire. Same goes for the opening verse from Defcee. I haven’t mentioned this before, but I think he has a really great voice for Hip Hop. He kinda reminds me of Ab-Soul sometimes, but just with a lower pitch. I’ve also thought of billy woods while listening to him too. Anyway, the opening verse is super well written.

A gem with a flaw is just flesh when it's scarred
Mom garden, tried to grow treasure chests in the yard
Trust was a soft spot, affection was hard
Why my hugs felt like I was acceptin' a charge
Electric guitars worth the noise in my eyes
Traumas the years after when the poison survives
While my pops wrote a book about lawyers and bribes
I was toyin' with rhymes like the oinks do with crime

I like the way the vocals are layered for the hook, and I love with the way he switches his flow up for the second verse. It gave me the coveted involuntary head nod.

Created the Earth with our fingerprints
Painted them perfect and intricate
Skated the surface of innocence
We made up a church with some hymns for it
Debated who verse is the end of 'em
Weight of the world was our emblem

He killed this track. There’s nothing about this song that I don’t love. The first verse was good enough, but he really went off for the second one. The song is dope af to me. Track 2 is entitled All You See Is. The beat on this track is really dreamy and gorgeous. All of the beats on this album are really pretty. This isn’t even the prettiest beat on the album, but it’s still angelic. I love Defcee’s flow on this track. Well, he had multiple flows, but I loved all of them. He killed this track. You know, on my first listen of this project, this track didn’t blow me away as much as the others, but I still dug it. However, I think I’m enjoying it much more on repeat listens. I think the brevity of the song kind of bothered me initially, but I don’t even really notice how short the track is anymore. I think it’s dope as hell. It’s followed by Crime in the City, which I think is even better. The production here is incredible. It sounds really sad, and Defcee matches the tone perfectly.

Another gavel pounds, another cop free
The crackers smile before a laughing crowd
As they passin' a roman candle 'round

The lyricism here is top notch in my opinion, and I love Defcee’s flow here.

Only takes less than a second to fire weapons
American math, white violence designed the lessons
I might die tryna provide a child protection

The song is pretty short, so there’s not really anything going on aside from the one verse here, but it’s so well written and performed that I don’t even mind the length. I think it’s dope as hell. Track four is called Tragic/Magic. This song has the most tense instrumental on the project. Once again, I love how jazzy it is. It’s not my favorite instrumental on the EP, but it’s still 10x better than anything most other producers are doing right now. Defcee of course murdered the verses.

Crystal methodists with 12-Step adventists
Alleged as a shield in a thrill when they reckless
Push the message from the edges we were close to
Heads spinnin' for a blessing to make its final exit from the phone booth

The hook on this track sounds pretty similar to that of the opening song, but it’s dope. The second verse is even cooler than the first one to me.

Even after the burns melted
There's no way to laser off the worst scars that a generational curse welded
Silence hits differently when your family buys it
Washing over they flaws in a eulogy 'til it sanitizes
We loved him, and so the truth is buried by him
Along with any stories that we're supposed to be verifying
Terror flying overhead, I refuse to stoke the embers
Waiting with swollen legs on the ledges 'til its glow is dead

He killed this shit. The song is dope as hell. The penultimate track is entitled Just Beautiful, and it’s a major highlight for me. I feel like this song has the weirdest beat on the whole EP. It kinda reminds me of Lord, Lord, Lord by Kanye West. I definitely think this beat is better though. It’s a cool beat, but, to be honest, the reason this song is such a highlight for me is because of Defcee’s performance. I like the beat, but it’s really Defcee’s flow and breath control that blew me away. It sounds like he has superhuman lungs because he just raps and raps without taking a breath. It’s pretty mesmerizing stuff. His flow eventually switches up and gets a bit more traditional. I honestly think this track has the best rap performance on the whole project. Defcee was spazzing on this track. The first verse was already amazing, but the second one is even better.

You couldn't do in your free time
What I did writing weak rhymes
Struggling and juggling rapping with someone
Mistrust of the government in school kids

The song is dope af to me overall. I have no complaints. Same goes for the final track, Alive. This track has what might be the most beautiful instrumental I’ve heard all year. It’s fucking incredible. I love the content of this track too. You can tell that Hip Hop really means a lot to Defcee here, which I appreciate.

Quoted verses to each other 'til we wrote enough of our own
Hours on the phone spent solely communicatin' through song
It's nerdy and it's basic
But the closest thing to magic that we had was language

I just think this is such a pretty ode to graff artists. The hook is beautifully written, and same goes for the second verse.

None of us are gonna make it out alive, but we write 'cause what we carve between these lines will survive
Our names never drip when they dry, when we die leave a tag for every face in the sky

I think the song is beautiful. The only tiny gripe I have is that the song sounds like it cuts off abruptly. I would’ve rather had them fade the beat out. However, that’s nowhere near big enough of an issue for me to penalize the song. It’s dope af.

This project is amazing. It’s pretty much exactly what I was hoping for. The production here is gorgeous. I feel like these are some of the best beats I’ve heard from August Fanon all year, and Defcee is the perfect artist for them. His verses are as well-written as ever, and his flows and vocal deliveries were on point throughout the whole project. I really have no consistent gripes with this project. Everything was as well done as I could have hoped for. This is actually the best project I’ve heard all year so far, and it’s easily gonna make it into my top extended plays of the year list. Don’t sleep on this shit. It’s dope af.

Favorite Song: Alive
Least Favorite Song: All You See Is


Grade: A

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