Boston rapper Slaine has been on the scene for a minute now, releasing a series of critically acclaimed mixtapes, as well as holding memberships in the Special Teamz and La Coka Nostra supergroups. Always one to steal the show, despite his loyal fan-following he has yet to release his own solo LP. While doubling as the go-to-guy for any Boston-based gangster flicks (The Town, Gone Baby Gone), with A World With No Skies, Slaine finally makes a go at being a certified solo artist.
The concept behind the LP is defined in the cinematic title track, which opens the album. Here, Slaine explains that while folks always say “the sky is the limit”, he instead lives in a world with no sky at all. This bleak outlook carries the length of the LP, with Slaine’s rock solid delivery and top notch production keeping it an interesting and enthralling LP throughout. “Voice of The Apocalypse” finds him re-freaking the sample last used on High & Mighty’s “The Half”, using the backdrop to paint a disturbing picture of paranoia. “99 Bottles” is a classic, uptempo throwback channeling vintage House of Pain, in terms of both lyrics and production style.
Speaking of production, Slaine’s team of producers have given the LP a quality of moody blues and brooding beats. Tracks like “Night After Night” (prod. LüBalz) and “Mistaken Identity” and “The American Way” (both prod. Statik Selektah) have an infectious, blunted quality that grabs the listeners from the first four bars. Slaine’s commanding flow and vivid storytelling on top of them seals the deal completely.
18 tracks deep, the album does begin to lose it’s grip on the listener after a strong first half. While the second half is still deeply rooted in quality, it wallows more in self-pity than the album’s slightly (and only slightly) less abrasive first half. While cutting some of the extra slack may have earned Slaine a grade higher on the rating scale, at the end of the day, this is a work of undeniable talent and truly something special. For Slaine, the sky just might be in sight by the end of this year.
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