Troublez is a West Side San Jose representative who's been active in the rap scene for almost a decade now. He's released solo albums (e.g. "Thug Poet", "I'm Loving Nothing"), a mixtape, compilations ("The Network", "Tha Allstarz") and the most recent collabo with Lil Coner titled "My Heart's Black". We've had an opportunity to write reviews (read here) of some of those.
The hereby "Grandma's House" is a solo EP that comes in a digipak that's then put in a cardboard sleeve. Those have different artwork, that's why you can sometimes see two distinct covers for it on-line; btw the one above is from the cardboard sleeve. The whole production (7 cuts overall) was delivered by Indi Harmonix and I've got to say that I'm overall impressed with his skills. If you are in a mood for soft, laidback, melodious tracks, "Grandma's House" might spark your interest. Paces are rather slow, you'll hear a lot of delicate piano, saxophone, guitar and probably other instruments I cannot name. Beats remind me of something you can find on the late Jacka's recordings, or Joe Blow's. They tend to be similar to one another (well, "Old School" and "Grandma' House" do stand out a lot), have a lot of female voices looped somewhere in the background and more often than not songs themselves feature no hooks. I usually don't mind, as long as it happens from time to time, but over here 5 out of 7 joints have nothing but jacked women singing or moaning. I didn't like this approach on Joe Blow's mixtapes and I'm not fond of it here either. Just to be clear: I find the production very good overall, it's just those background add-ons that I grew tired of.
Another strong side of the album is its lyrical content. As the title correctly suggests family bonds and relationships do occur on 3 songs: "Love U", "Something I Wanna Tell You" and "Grandma's House". You will hear about love/hate swings among close ones, family secrets, joint time together when all members finally meet up, growing up, being raised by your grandmother etc. Other than that "Old School" takes you back in time to reminisce on days gone, "Ima Get It" focuses on determination to achieve one's goals, while "In The Bay" is something that all projects need: an anthem to your home turf. Maybe the actual lyrics are not particularly deep or captivating, but theme is definitely present there. Now let's focus on Troublez himself. I have once mentioned in another review that I wasn't fond of his skills. I said back then that his verses left a lot do be desired and he needed to step his game up. I haven't had a chance to listen to any of his subsequent releases since then, yet I read reviews that popped on our site and they more or less mirrored my opinion. Well, years went by and Troublez made progress, but then again not always. He's more fluent and blends with the rhythm better now. I especially liked his work on the first two opening jams, but then on a couple more his verbal skills are still not up to par with what other guests present. I mean rhymes that tend to be played out (bitch/rich, anybody?) or sometimes do not appear at all when you'd expect them. For some reason those shortcomings are somehow audible in his verses, like I let the cd play in the background, I do not focus, but still hear those slip-ups. Ampichino's, Jacka's, Dru Down's, B-Legit's, all these guys' verses smoothly pass me by. Since I'm talking about the guests now, they all provided very solid performances, apart from Rappin' 4-Tay and Hatchet (both come off-beat). With that said, Troublez is capable of delivering decent flows, but for some reason he doesn't do that always and it unfortunately affects the whole project.
Troublez, thank you for sending out a cd to us.
Written by: khamenei