Album Review | Height Keech & Darko the Super – You Gotta Have Friends

This album was released on March 4th this year. Darko the Super is an artist whom I’ve covered multiple times on this blog before, but this’ll be my first time writing about a Height Keech project. I checked out his Wild Height Keech album from 2020, which was pretty good. I still felt like I wasn’t that familiar with him as an artist prior to hearing this record though since that was my only experience with him. I mean, I’d heard him on features before, but still. Anyway, I knew I would like this album to some extent, but it actually ended up surpassing my expectations. I wasn’t planning on covering it originally, but after hearing it I knew I had to write about it.

The album begins with My Arms Bend Back.

I like the simplistic, Rock-adjacent production from Height Keech a lot, and I think Darko sounds great over it. The first verse is dope. The hook is very straightforward, but it serves its purpose well enough. I think Height Keech has a really great vocal delivery. The dude just sounds really good whenever he raps. I appreciated the Tom MacDonald diss too.

I can't stand at a standstill
Tom MacDonald CDs landin' all in a landfill

The production is kind of minimalistic, and the flows aren’t particularly intricate or anything. They just sound really good. I think their vocal deliveries are great, and the lyrics are entertaining too. It’s a dope track. The following song is called Hellraiser 79. The production here is a bit more funky and complexed. I really like the way Height Keech & Darko trade verses on this track. I watched Height Keech’s “THE MAKING OF ‘YOU GOTTA HAVE FRIENDS’” videos, and I get the impression that he views himself as a producer first and rapper second, but I think he rapped really well on this album and on this track in particular. Darko killed this shit though.

Yo Height, you should've seen me
Sellin' CDs to goofs who practice alchemy
You would've been proud of me
I groan a lot
Couldn't find where I parked, I didn't even get shot
Lock up all the cops, they're homicidal
Leave the key in a hollowed bible
Wait 'til they eat each other
Come on people that's my only brother
Everybody get together and learn to love one another
It's kinda like that movie Mother
And God doesn't care
When I prayed God wasn't there

I know for a fact that I misquoted some of those lines, but I tried my best to transcribe them accurately. Anyway, this song wasn’t really that great to me on my first listen, but it grew on me a lot after repeat listens. I mean, I liked it when I first heard it, but I like it even more now. The song is dope. It’s followed by a highlight entitled Lost in Space.

The main reason I love this song so much is honestly just the production. I love this beat. It’s awesome. The rapping is of course really good too though. The first verse from Darko is dope, and I love how those extra drums come in during the hook. That might be my favorite hook on the album. The second verse from Height Keech is really great too.

Now go off at the sound of the whistle
All souls grind down to the gristle
And everything that I said is official
Goddamn, that's the last straw, fire the missile

The music video is pretty cool too. There’s nothing that I don’t like about this song to be honest. I think it’s dope as hell. The following track is entitled Donnie Darko. The production on this track is really cool. It’s another one of the best beats on the album in my opinion. Darko killed this shit too. I feel like he kinda stepped up the rhymes on this track.

I'm so Philly like the Roots band
At the diner of the apple juice man
An MF DOOM fan, so I gotta couple names
Back then it was fun and games
Met you down at lover's lane
Tuckin' chains and duckin' flames
Old ones, cold guns, I haven't been shot in years
Plottin' fear, that's what got me here
Now I'm chillin', y'all
Shorty said I look like a chubby Jake Gyllenhaal

That line about him looking like Egyptian Lover was pretty funny too. Height Keech sounds great on the final verse of this track as well. I think the song’s pretty dope overall. I don’t have any gripes with it. Track 5 is entitled In the Dark of Night. This track has another one of my favorite beats on the album, and I think Height Keech’s flow on the first verse is really nice. Darko of course sounded great on the second verse too. The song’s kind of short, but it doesn’t feel incomplete or anything. There’s not really a hook; the song is just two verses, one after another. It’s not really one of my favorites on the album, but I don’t have any gripes with it. I think it’s a dope song. It’s followed by a highlight entitled Milkshakes.

I really love the production on this track. The rapping is about as good as I’d come to expect from these guys, but I just really love the way this song ends. The “mothafuckaaaaa” from Darko the Super makes me laugh every time I hear it. That’s my favorite part of the song honestly. The track is just two great verses over a really nice beat. They don’t really throw any curveballs at the listener. It’s just really well executed. I think it’s dope as hell. Track 7 is called Buzzy Linhart, and it’s got another really great instrumental. This isn’t one of my favorite tracks on the album, but I definitely enjoyed it to some extent. Darko’s flow isn’t really anything special, but that Ron Jeremy line was pretty funny to me. I think the main reason that this track kinda disappointed me a little is that Height Keech didn’t rap on it at all. He just handled the production. That’s cool though. I mean, it’s definitely a good song. The rapping from Darko is nice, and I like the beat. I think a verse from Height Keech could’ve pushed it to the next level though. It’s still a good track though. I fuck with it. It’s followed by Expensive Ugliness, which has yet another really great instrumental. The first verse from Darko is great.

Mackin' you on the avenue like money pimp society
Walk in the interview, like "you motherfuckers better hire me"
I'm waitin' for the God in you to pardon me
Tough love didn't harden me
It took away my self esteem
Now I scream myself to sleep

Those are some of my favorite lines on the album. The second verse from Height Keech is great too. As always, he sounds really good rapping here. The song’s got a pretty straightforward structure; it’s just two verses, one after another with no hook or bridge or anything like that. I think it’s a dope track. The following song is entitled 30 Inch Zenith, and it’s the shortest song on the album. It’s just under 2 minutes long, but it doesn’t feel incomplete. The production is kind of simplistic, but still pretty fast-paced and energetic. Darko’s flow is really nice here. I feel like he matched the energy of the instrumental really well. I love the way Height Keech comes in during the beat break. He sounds awesome over this beat. I had a feeling that he’d be absent from this track since it’s so short, but I’m glad that that isn’t the case. The song is really dope. The penultimate track is called Superstar, and it’s got one of the best beats on the album in my opinion.

The first verse from Darko is pretty solid, and the simplistic hook is nice as well. I love the way the production kinda switches up for the second verse from Height Keech. The music video is pretty cool too. This is another one of the better songs on the album in my opinion. The song structure is very straightforward, but the beat switch really adds a lot to the track for me. I think it’s a dope song. The album ends with the title track, You Gotta Have Friends, and this is the longest song on the record, clocking in at a whopping 7 minutes and 12 seconds. It miraculously doesn’t feel too long winded. I really like the kind of somber production, and Darko’s melodic hook is pretty good. The first verse is great too.

The day the music died I was with my valentine
Sleeping in the pines
The time to live is now
My mind was in denial
He took me to the pilot of my soul
I sang joy loud and bold
It was no tornado after all
In the rain playin' basketball
Didn't even get wet
North, South, East, West
No doubt you're the best
I don't ever wanna say goodbye, I wanna say hello
Jimmy's on the harp, Buzzy's on the vibraphone
Pickin' at the scab, I couldn't leave my mind alone

Again, the song is over 7 minutes long, but it doesn’t feel like it at all. I think this track has some of Darko’s best rapping on the whole project. I think the placement of this track makes a lot of sense; it would’ve felt weird for this song to appear anywhere else on the album. It works really well as a closer. Height Keech doesn’t rap on this song at all, but I feel like Darko held things down really well on his own. The song is really dope. I fuck with it.

This album is great. It’s honestly better than I was expecting it to be, but now that I think about it, I don’t know why my expectations weren’t particularly high. There’s not a single track here that I don’t enjoy. The production from Height Keech is really good, and I think he has a great vocal delivery. He’s also pretty good at rhyming. Darko comes off like the more seasoned MC out of the pair, but it’s not like he was murdering Height Keech on every track. I think they work really well as a duo. I feel like if you’re a fan of either of these guys then there’s probably no way you won’t enjoy this record. I liked Height Keech’s Wild Height Keech album, but this is even better to me. I wouldn’t mind hearing these two guys do more projects together in the future honestly. This shit is dope. Don’t sleep on it.

Favorite Song: Lost in Space
Least Favorite Song: Buzzy Linhart


Grade: B+

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