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Album Review: BrvndonP – ‘BrvndonP’

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.

When we leave this world, what do we actually take with us? Can we truly claim anything as our own? “Your name is the only thing you own.” These are the words from Brvndon’s mother, which ultimately led the artist to change his name. We create nicknames, which become an alter ego. They create a new persona for us to portray to the rest of the world.

In other words, we’re able to re-invent ourselves through stage names and we can virtually become anyone that we want to be. When artists go by their actual given birth name, their music incorporates more of their own personal lives, struggles, personal convictions, etc. Their music takes a more direct approach to addressing life issues by using literal examples. It can also make the listener feel closer to the artist as well. Through his self-titled album, BrvndonP is giving his listeners the evolution of Black Knight to BrvndonP; which offers a different side of Brvndon we have yet to see in his music.

Black Knight vs BrvndonP

If you’re already acquainted with the artist known as Black Knight, then you’re familiar with the versatility of his sound. On his past projects, The Break In and The Young Future, Black Knight utilizes a lot of Bay Area inspired sounds, rock, hard hitting rap beats and smooth, melodic hip hop tracks. Although the lyrical content of BrvndonP has expanded from the Black Knight days, the diversity of sound is still a common denominator between the two.

You can expect to hear the production sounds that I mentioned previously, as well as some new sounds that works well with Brvndon’s new image. As far as content is concerned, you will hear some personal situations Brvndon has faced, as well as those who are close to him. Situations like bullying, suicidal thoughts, lust, drug abuse and just real life situations in general.

The opening track, “Do You Believe”, gives you a smooth R&B vibe and Brvndon wastes no time opening his heart to his listeners. The simple drum snare and kick, combined with a basic piano chord, allows the listener to focus more on the words of the song than the production of the track. The song addresses some of the struggles Brvndon had growing up and learning how to be comfortable in his own skin. One difference you notice off the bat between Black Knight and BrvndonP, are the lyrics. The lyrics of BrvndonP will resonate more with listeners on an emotional level because they are more detailed when it comes to everyday life issues.

The next song, “Limitless”, is a great song to describe Brvndon’s new direction with his sound. He can deliver any genre of music with production and his lyricism abilities has stepped up on this album as well. On previous Black Knight albums, a lot of songs became popular because they came with simple, catchy hooks and solid production. However, on the BrvndonP project, Brvndon focuses more on the message of the album while showing his growth on the production side as well.

In typical Black Knight style, Brvndon includes a lot of features throughout the project. Lecrae makes an appearance on the album with the song “What You Get” and mainstream artist E-40 makes an appearance on yet another CHH artist record with the song “No Fakery” – which obviously gives a Bay Area vibe.  

Although there are similarities between between Black Knight and BrvndonP, they differ in more ways than they agree. On the track “Coolin” featuring Beleaf, Brandon mentions that this album has a different sound to it than Black Knight. To sum up the comparison between the two alter egos, in the words of BrvndonP during an interview with HipHop DX: “From The Black Knight and those projects to this album, I think just hearing it, it’s like night and day.” 

Sound

I appreciate Brvndon being honest and vulnerable enough to share his difficulties with the listeners. The content of this album is much more heartfelt and personal and I believe listeners will appreciate that. On the titled track “Soul Cry” featuring John Givez, Brandon dicusses his own personal struggle with remaining faithful with his Christian walk.

When I first heard “How It Feel/ICU” it put me in the mindset of a song you’d hear performed by Jhene Aiko, based on the sound of the track, as well as the female vocals performed on it. On this song, Brvndon shares his own experience of dealing with manhood and letting people into his life after being hurt from others. The second half of the song is essentially God’s response to all of the problems he mentioned in the first half of the track, which is simply, “I see you” and you’re not alone.

The heartfelt “Over the Clouds” offers inspiration from the testimonies of other life situations. The acoustic guitar, along with the male vocals on the chorus, brings emotion to the song and gives it a soft feel.

Brvndon’s production sound is very innovative and creative on this project. As mentioned previously, Brvndon is bringing something to his music that stands out from everyone else. He has masterfully crafted live instrumentation into his production sound, along with his own unique producing style, which has created a sound that he can call his own. The live instrumentation sound is continued with the track “Workin” featuring  Mouthpie3ce and Drew Allen. The first sound you hear from the track are guitar riffs immediately followed by a bass drop. This song was a great combination of vocals mixed with a solid 16 bar delivery by the guest featured artists. You can expect to hear Bay Area influenced tracks on this album as well as a new generation R&B, soul, hip hop and a lot of bass.

The diversity in sound works in Brvndon’s favor because it allows him to be flexible with future projects. The growth of Brvndon P as an artist and producer is evident on this album. Known for the trap beat and 808s in his production, Brvndon didn’t leave his fans hanging either. He delivers that sound throughout the album with the track “ALYK” featuring Da’ T.R.U.T.H..

Bottom Line

BrvndonP is a well produced album that reflects the growth of Brvndon as both an artist and producer. Brvndon offers encouragement through his album and hope for the future no matter what background one may come from. Chasing your dreams and living them out can be a reality. The diversity in his production will be appreciated by listeners, because the CHH culture is saturated with trap beats in this current season of music. His honesty and vulnerability will open doors for old fans and open new fans to experience who BrvndonP really is, and allow them to find hope in their personal lives as well.

BrvndonP now available for purchase on iTunes.

RELATED: Full BrvndonP interview with DJ Wade-O

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Chanel Crosskey aka DJ Smylee is an avid listener of CHH music and uses that passion to deejay and write album reviews. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. You can follow her on Twitter @imdjsmylee.

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