Top Picks

Cowboy Bebop
Smooth Music / Devilish Ways (2020)
good good half good good

01. Intro (skit)
02. The Clouded Memories Of Spike Spiegel
03. Dear Music f. Melody
04. Start From Scratch f. B-Dawg & Troublez
05. Me Against The World f. Shadow & Lil Dee
06. Asteroid Blues f. Miss Honey
07. Faye f. 1 A.M.
08. Words Of Encouragement (skit)
09. DW f. Joseph Save & DJ 9-Thou
10. I Aint Wit It f. 1 A.M.
11. Come Correct f. Green
12. Tokyo f. 1 A.M.
13. Darling f. 1 A.M., Joseph Save & Rob Payne
14. Outro

Reckless hails from Gilroy in the 408 area code and is an underground emcee, but also a music critic and rap promoter. He did a lot of interviews and paid homage to loads of well known and local rappers outta Northern and Central California. You could hear him on a few projects from a South Bay Area stable called Devilish Ways Recordings, including a 2013 compilation presented by himself ("Grind To Shine") that featured artists like Big Rhino, Ed Dosia, Zak1, Louie Loco, Smigg Dirtee, Chente Corleone and more. "Cowboy Bebop" is in fact a his debut solo release. Its title refers to a Japanese anime from the late 90's; as a matter of fact the whole album is a bit inspired by this series.

"Cowboy Bebop" is made of 14 tracks, including 2 skits and an outro (a short solo song). Except for the host you'll hear a few artists from Devilish Ways Recordings like 1 A.M. (I have a great respect for her delivery), Joseph Save, Rob Payne and DJ 9-Thou. Next to local emcees Reckless invited a few more recognizable rappers from Antioch, associated with Woodie's EastCoCo camp (B-Dawg, Shadow, Lil Dee) and a San Jose rapper / entrepreneur Troublez. I must say that the whole album is quite diversified and Reckless gives you quite a wide range of styles and themes: starting from slower tempos and disturbing beats ("The Clouded Memories Of Spike Spiegel", "Tokyo", "Darling"), through classic hip-hop melodies ("I Aint Wit It") to more vivid and party type of sounds ("DW"). Production is of an uneven quality, because next to very decent beats like the ones on #10 or #12, we'll hear strange and simple music on #7 or #13. Either way, it's worth to mention producers: 1 A.M., DJ 9-Thou, Zelous Beats, JP Bangz Beats, Beat Busta, Shadowville Productions, Cyhper MC LA Santa Loca and King Faro.

Just like the beats, Reckless has its ups and downs. His bars are rather heavy and raw, but he spits verses in many different ways: faster tempos (imo not recommended for Reckless; he simply falls out of the beat), a regular pace (I really enjoyed his delivery on #10 and #12) or even with a bit of singing (#2 - not my style). Overall it is audible that Reckless puts much emotions and passion into his music, yet sometimes he's overcomplicating it, instead of bringing a classic, simple rapping. When it comes to lyrics and topics Reckless represents quite a decent yet not so extraordinary level, therefore you'll hear about music itself and its impact on Reckless' life, not giving a fuck about the haters, life issues, representing the Bay and the Garlic City, and a classic ode to fucking.

At the end of the day there is a lot of passion in this album, however too many flaws make it quite uneven and mediocre.

Hard copies ara available via Devilish Ways Recordings e-store.

Reckless, thanks for sending out a copy for review purposes.

Written by: lethaface
Comments (1):
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