Don’t Sleep | aloeight – Arachnid

Don’t sleep on this latest album from producer aloeight. It was released on September 2nd this year, and it’s loaded with enticing features. That’s the reason I checked this project out in the first place. I’d never heard of aloeight before, so I made sure to keep my expectations in check despite the myriad of exciting features. This shit thankfully did not disappoint at all though.

Since this isn’t a full review I’m just gonna write about a few highlights. The album begins with the title track, Arachnid.

It has features from KXNG Crooked, J. Arrr, Locksmith, and Vega7 the Ronin. It’s definitely one of the most exciting tracks on the project just from the features. Crook fucking killed that first verse.

When I'm blastin' no rapper concern me
I'm a savage, imagine me havin' some mercy
When Crooked rappin', attackin' a verse, he
Snap your neck until your lookin' at the back of your jersey
I been handlin' my beef with a snub
Before I was even old enough to sneak in the club
You could think you a stud 'til I'm drinkin' your blood
If it ain't me your features a dub

I mean, everyone killed their verse on this song. He probably had my favorite performance though. I don’t know. It’s definitely close. The beat is actually fire too. I was kind of expecting this project to have a bunch of killer verses over mediocre production because I’ve heard multiple producer-helmed albums this year where that’s the case. Thankfully this one is different. I really like the piano-driven beat here. It sounds great. It’s not the type of beat that I would expect Vega7 the Ronin to rap over just because it’s so different from what Machacha provided him. Crooked I & Locksmith both kinda rapped with double time flows, while J. Arrr & Vega7 the Ronin came with more traditional flows. I mean, they’re still rapping at a fast pace, but it’s not as over the top as when Locksmith & Crook were rapping. It was actually really interesting to hear Vega7 the Ronin here because I feel like his flow was completely different from what he did on his album with Machacha. He fucking killed this shit though.

You niggas ain't comp' to me
I'm Constantine, demonic like Quan Chi conjured me
I quantum leap with a conscious stream of thought
They gon' wanna cryonically freeze my corpse

Shit… He might’ve actually had the best verse. I don’t fucking know. Everyone slaughtered this shit. This shit lowkey has Slaughterhouse energy. There are four MCs here, and they all demolished this beat with relentless flows and dense rhymes. I love how dynamic the production is too. It feels just as fluid as the flows of the rappers that spit over it. I think this song is awesome. It’s followed by another highlight entitled Filtered Soul. This one has Mickey Factz, Ill Conscious, and Vega7 the Ronin. The production here is a bit more soulful and melodic. It sounds like something Rapper Big Pooh would fit over perfectly. Mickey Factz fucking murdered the first verse. I really loved his performance on this track.

The shade from open skies are layered like a cake you moldin'
The razor golden bright, the nature of a painted sculpture
Made from chosen angels by the savior while we take the doses
Break the mold, and while the snakes are watching think of Moses
I'm saving souls and riding waves without a major ocean
Made an opus, John the Baptist ate the locust
Weighed it like I'm waiting with a patient focus
Gave the faith to hopeless
Showed the homeless ways to cope with overdosin'
Maybe most can stay for potency, don't overrate opponents

His verse is beautifully written honestly. I recently listed out my favorite features of 2022 on Twitter & Instagram, and this verse from Mickey Factz definitely would’ve been mentioned if I had heard it at the time. He really impressed me here. I love it. Ill Conscious had a bouncier flow, which I appreciate. His verse was also really great. Of course Vega7 the Ronin murdered the final verse as well.

I'm slowin' time's tickin' phase to script the sickest phrase
My beard whiskers will probably switch to grays before they hit the page
Channel the whispers from out the distant graves, the mystic sage
My listeners are decoding transmissions within this cryptic age
A snippet played, I'm on price, and it's like the clip displayed
Him sittin' atop a cliff in the shade, gazed at pacific waves
Paint these blues like Skip James' pain mixed with Da Vinci's fame
The ink stains contained in these 50 shades different from Christian Grey's

This might actually be my favorite song on the album. It’s so fucking good. Each verse is a masterful display of lyricism, and the production is great too. I feel comfortable calling this one of my favorite songs of the year honestly. It’s fucking amazing. Track 3 is another highlight called Big Umbrella. It features Mickey Diamond & Pro Dillinger. I don’t think I’ve ever written about either of these MCs, but I’m a fan of both of them. I first heard of Mickey Diamond when he was featured on Ty Farris‘ No Cosign Just Cocaine 4. On the other hand, my introduction to Pro Dillinger was his feature on Recognize Ali‘s Underground King II album. He really stood out on that feature. The second time I heard him was on the last Jedi Mind Tricks album, and he fucking slaughtered that shit too. So yeah, I really fuck with these guys. Anyway, the production on this track is really dark and grimy. I love how hard-hitting it is. This might actually be my favorite beat on the album. It’s definitely one of my favorites. Maybe not my number one favorite. I don’t know. Mickey Diamond sounds great over it though. I think he has a really unique, recognizable voice, which I appreciate. Pro Dillinger sounds a lot like Flee Lord to me, but they don’t rap the same way, so it’s cool. Both of the verses on this track are really good. The main reason I like this song so much is because of the beat honestly, but Mickey Diamond & Pro Dillinger definitely did it justice. The song’s dope as hell. The last track I wanna talk about is called Gospel.

This one features Ransom, K.J., Elzhi, and Ill Conscious. I guess at this point it should go without saying that every verse is killer. That K.J. guy doesn’t have the most googleable name, but he’s really talented. I was introduced to him when he was featured on Ja’king the Divine’s Operation: Black Sun Tzu album. He’s pretty nice.

I'm Dolomite when I hold the mic, boy, I'm cold as ice
Yeah, so precise, human tornado that's striking overnight
That's chosen twice, they told me "Yo, Rome, just go and roll the dice"
My goal tonight's to pimp the game like I'm covered in hoes and ice
You know I'm nice while you overhyped, hold the golden knife
The golden knight, bow my head slowly over this bowl of rice
That COVID life, sicker than average, the flow will choke you twice
That's over life, you niggas can't see me just like a broken light

What really makes this song stand out to me is the instrumental though. It sounds really cinematic to me. I gotta quote some of these Ransom bars though… Look at this shit.

It ain't business, it's personal, the nerve of you
I blow out a nerve or two on the curb with you
Surgical, these words in these verses I know disturbing you
The verdict's due, I'd prob'ly be nervous too if I heard the truth

He’s so fucking smooth with the rhymes and flow, man. I fucking love that dude. Obviously Elzhi slaughtered his verse, and Ill Conscious was fantastic as well. Elzhi might’ve had the best verse though.

They planned to blackball me in a hall full of pool sharks
But dropped the ball like hoopin' at school parks when the tool sparks
This beast mode at its apex, prey give me paychecks
Y'all big mad at who would let Bruce Banner stay vexed

Yeah. He fucking killed this shit. I love it. The song is dope as hell, and a great finale to the record.

This album is exceptional. It exceeded expectations. Like I said in the body of this review, I was expecting to hear good, yet low effort verses over mediocre beats because that’s the kind of shit I usually get from these types of projects. That’s not the case here at all though. The production here is rich, layered, and dynamic. Dem features doe… There’s not a single bad verse on this project. Even Kool Keith, who hasn’t put out a project that I actually enjoy since the 90s, delivered a pretty enjoyable performance. This entire album is just loaded with show-stopping rap performances. If you value hyper technical lyricism, I genuinely think that this is a must-listen project for 2022. Do not sleep on this shit. It’s actually one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. I love this shit. Check it out, and let me know what you think. I think it’s really dope.

Favorite Song: Filtered Soul
Least Favorite Song: Sludge Cone


Grade: B+

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