Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
Deraj and B. Cooper both signed with Reflection Music Group around the same time in late 2013/early 2014. Deraj first in December of 2013 and B. Cooper followed shortly after in January. Both have done some light work with the label since signing. They have both done features for label mates and released projects shortly after their signings. However, for the better part of 2014 and all of 2015 they remained relatively silent. This has had both artists flying under most CHH fans radars. Now is the time for these young talented artists to showcase what they’ve got. The newly formed duo is set to release their new project entitled For The People on Friday, March 11th.
The benefit to being a relative unknown to the genre (especially as a group) is that there is no way to set expectations. Deraj and B. Cooper have nothing other than their label mates past success to compete with. The relief of that pressure allows each artist to express themselves to their most creative extent. For these two, that has to probably be like a dream. Both Deraj and B. Cooper are very creative outside of the 16’s they spit. They both do work in photography and graphic design, including doing album artwork for other CHH artists. With CHH being as creative and good as it has ever been, this talented duo is just trying to carve out a lane for themselves.
There is a good amount of music coming out consistently in CHH right now, that it seems as if everyone is a rapper. It is hard to be memorable in that climate for any artist. It is even more difficult for newer artists to gain traction because you immediately have to grab fans attention. There has to be something about your project that is not only memorable, but specific to you. Deraj and B. Cooper has that “something” with their production. The production on For The People is very good. All throughout the record, fans will have their heads nodding.
The EP opens with the hard-hitting title track. It is heavy with the bass but smooth enough to let each emcee glide over the beat. This is the perfect opening for a record because it doesn’t take any longer than 30 seconds to grab your attention. This beat will bring you back to this record again and again. The tandem follows that up a little later with the even harder Derek Minor assisted “Squad“. This is turn up music at it’s finest. Fans of Derek Minor have heard this type of track from him, so his appearance was no surprise, but Deraj and B. Cooper stunning on the track was a welcomed surprise. These two songs alone have enough energy in them to be on any playlist for the rest of this year.
There were a lot of drums and bass on this album, the real hard-hitting production was saved for the first part of the record. For The People mellows out considerably towards the end. The mellow transition that the record takes with “Gone” featuring REMMI, “Stars” featuring Foure, and “Transparency” featuring Sye Spence is a much-needed one. This is where the record really shines. Both Deraj and B. Cooper felt comfortable and more in their element on these tracks. The whole feel of the record is elevated by the change in tone. A beautifully sung hook by REMMI drives “Gone,” and more restrained drums. The track is simply beautiful and the perfect addition to this record.
For The People is driven by the production, but the real meat in any record lies in the lyricism and content. This is where Deraj and B. Cooper have their moments of struggle. Overall, the record is good lyrically but this is one of the areas where the duo could grow. “Nothing New” featuring Kaleb Mitchell is an example of this struggle. Both artists throw a lot of punches and use a lot of similes and metaphors when they rap. When you punch a lot, you have the potential to miss big. On this track, it shows. Lines like, We on ten like canned foods/we in here like shampoo, come up short of what each artist can reach with their lyricism. This song is underwhelming and leaves the listener wanting more from the track.
Apart from a few letdowns, there aren’t very many down points in the records lyricism as a whole. More often than not, Deraj and B. Cooper shine with their lyricism. Similar to the production, the lyricism on For The People excels on the mellower portion of the record. The heartfelt bars that each artist spits over the ultra smooth “Transparency” is nothing short of excellent. This is a heartfelt track that reaches through and connects with the listener on a deep level. This is a genuine track that offers a beautiful message of hope and perseverance that is much needed.
The message on For The People is not an overtly Christian one. There is no doubt throughout the record that they are Christians, but the message takes a more subtly tone. The goal seemed to be to make a record that is for all audiences, and the duo succeed in that. This is a record that can be enjoyed by all types of people, throughout all walks of life. That is yet another thing that makes this record valuable to CHH. No matter your mood or your situation, For The People has a place on your playlist.
Overall, this is a good record. There are some great moments and some moments that are not so great. It all comes together to make a record that is enjoyable. You can hear the potential and talent of both Deraj and B. Cooper, and that should have all of CHH excited, because these two will be making good music for a long time. For The People is a solid effort from these two creative emcees. If you weren’t familiar with them before, you should be after this, because they are too talented to overlook.