I’m Not Dead Yet – ANTHEMIC (independent, Wasted Youth) – April 2016
This review is not like anything I’ve done on Boom Bap and Acid Rap before. I’m Not Dead Yet was released for free late last week independently by Chicago-land singer, songwriter, rapper and producer ANTHEMIC under his collective Wasted Youth. An EP with six tracks, the young musician manages to deliver something totally different with each song, in the way you might expect an A-Lister like Drake or Pharrell Williams to do. Obviously, this is stylistically and sonically different, however the influence is apparent.
The introduction is a serene, relaxed piano track which, while it didn’t particularly need to be there, it set the scene well and was a taster of the beautiful instrumentation to come.
I Can’t Fucking Dance is the first full-length track and to be honest, it’s outstanding. It features the talents of Laron Flowers and Eddie Ishaya, fellow Wasted Youth members who both contribute tremendous verses. I feel like if this song was just a minute shorter, it would definitely have single potential, however it does drag on quite a bit after doing what it needs to do. Despite its length (5:09), nothing can be taken away from the floaty, polished beat. The accompanying music video to this song is equally brilliant and I suggest that it should definitely be checked out. ANTHEMIC definitely has a Childish Gambino-esque nature about him on this track and this would have been even more conspicuous had his vocals been a bit more prominent over the instrumental.
The third song this EP has to offer is named Glass and like I Can’t Fucking Dance, it is blessed with production from the very talented Kenny Bureaux. The drums on the track are close to immaculate. This song, again, is very long, however this is surely excusable due to the overall shortness of the project. Towards the end of the song the beat breaks, which leads to nothing and feels a little pointless and almost kills a bit of the momentum on this song where ANTHEMIC probably sings and raps at the highest quality on the whole EP. That slightly deflating moment doesn’t last long though.
A nice, brief interlude called Here We Go Again helps I’m Not Dead Yet pick back up where it left off for the second half. The self-produced joint is reminiscent of ‘Till I Collapse by Eminem’s intro to begin with and transitions effortlessly to sound like the 808s and Heartbreaks pianos by Kanye West.
That piano transitions again into Anyway which is a cool continuation. One thing this EP does well above anything else is the usually impeccable choice of instrumentation as this song closes with some sulky guitars that sum up the mood of this song deftly. One minor gripe, however, is that the horns on this song seem very distorted which may have been intentional but in my opinion, they should have matched the smoothness of the rest of the song. I wouldn’t say this is my least favourite song on the EP but it is probably my sixth favourite just because I think the lyrics occasionally come across a bit sloppy. Despite that, it does not take away from the vocal performance on display as ANTHEMIC is undeniably very good at singing, bringing a Frank Ocean-style skill set to the table. The last minute or so sounds a lot like many of the instrumentals on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which displays ANTHEMIC’s versatility brilliantly.
The closing track is very fun. Point of Views is used by ANTHEMIC to be amusingly self-evaluative through some of his best bars on the project. There’s a brief moment where he stretches his voice in Lil Wayne fashion which actually made me laugh out loud, definitely something I want to hear more of from him. It’s a short song but in a good way and definitely does exactly what it needs to do.
I’m Not Dead Yet is a project that I seriously, seriously recommend to anyone who has an interest in any of the artists I have mentioned in this review. ANTHEMIC is a musician with a very bright future ahead of him. I’m so excited to see where he goes from here.
Listen to the EP on Soundcloud for free now!
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Follow ANTHEMIC on Twitter @GodAryanBarrett