Apollo Brown & Skyzoo: “The Easy Truth” Album Review

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After making an abrupt surprise announcement via social media back in August the Brooklyn bred Emcee and Detroit-based producer have finally teamed up in their first ever joint collaborative album. Clocking in at just over 48 minutes ‘The Easy Truth’ is a 15 track layered escapade showcasing the sharp NY lyricism of Skyzoo and the sultry soul sampling Boom Bap of Apollo Brown, both at their finest.

Skyzoo & Apollo Brown had previously teamed up for a track on Skyzoo’s last solo release ‘Music For My Friends’ as well as for Brown’s 2015 debut solo album ‘Grandeur’. ‘The Easy Truth’ however, marks the first full length collaborative LP between the two and Skyzoo’s first full length collaboration endeavor since ‘Live From the Tape Deck’ with producer !llmind back in 2010. The album also comes on the heels of a slew of highly praised collaborative projects that the critically acclaimed beat smith has put out through Mellow Music Group (whom Brown serves as resident producer for) with other celebrated artists such as The Left, Ugly Heroes, OC, Guilty Simpson, Rass Kass & Rapper Big Pooh of Little Brother to name a few.

Skyzoo once again comes in rare form for this release, whose pen game and word play only seems to get better and better with each endeavor and still remains sharper than ever. Proving himself to truly be one of NY’s finest rising stars of the past decade. Apollo Brown’s Boom Bap-inspired production which invokes memories reminiscent of legendary producers such as DJ Premier and Pete Rock in the heyday of New York Hip-Hop’s golden era tinged with a modern contemporary flare, only complement Skyzoo’s lyrical barrage of rhymes, similes and double entendres which lyrically paint a vivid landscape in listener’s minds throughout the course of the album

Standout tracks such as ‘On The Stretch & Bob Show’ are a love note reminiscing back on the underground New York Hip-Hop scene of yesteryear and a homage to Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito (two of the most influential Hip-Hop DJs of the early and mid 90’s). Jazz tinged tracks such as ‘Visionary Riches’ and ‘Nodding Off’ are acknowledgements to the Brooklyn emcee’s love of the genre and its influence on New York Hip-Hop culture; while others such as ‘Jordans & A Gold Chain’ harken back to Sky’s youth coming of age in 90’s era Brooklyn New York. Long time Apollo Brown fans will also be pleasantly surprised to hear ‘Innocent Ambition’ showcasing vintage Apollo Brown production in a re-tooling of Brown’s ‘Early Morning’ a track off his 2009 instrumental album ‘Make Do’. Indeed, it is head bobbing inducing production showcased on tracks such this where Skyzoo sounds most at home and excels to new heights.

The album maintains a relatively small limited cast of guest features such as veteran Brooklyn emcee Joell Ortiz, underground favorites Westside Gunn & Conway and Maybach Music Group alumni Stalley to trade bars with as well as vocalist Patty Crash who all make sporadic appearances peppered throughout the album.

Needless to say, Skyzoo sounds most at home than he has in years over the soulful Boom Bap laced arrangements and production of Apollo Brown. Reminiscent of his early days working with 9th Wonder, his projects like this that remind us all why we fell in love with Skyzoo’s music in the first place and have continued coming back ever since. Playing and simple Skyzoo simply sounds his best over production like this, and one can only hope this just the first of many more future collaborations between the two to come in the future.

Long time Apollo Brown fans will be pleased as one of Detroit’s premier Hip-Hop producers continues to do no wrong and Skyzoo fans who have been dying to hear him return to his New York Boom Bap roots will rejoice after listening to this dream collaboration come true. ‘The Easy Truth’ while not exactly ground breaking delivers on everything it promises and hits all the right notes in all the right places. Fans of biting hard hitting lyricism as well as those of soulful thumping Boom Bap production we have come to expect from Apollo Brown will be bumping this release for months to come.

‘The Easy Truth’ is available now in stores and on Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music & iTunes. Go out and cop it today!

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