Sugar Tongue Slick
For many, The Gold Rush, a project of remixes and reworks, was the first introduction of STS to the world. The album had the ATL-born, Philadelphia-based rapper spitting over the hottest hip-hop, R&B, and pop songs. It was a convincing demonstration that STS can rap over anything and everything with finesse. On STS x RJD2, STS teams up with RJD2 , a prominent Philly producer that can provide the anything and everything.
A casual listen to STS and the similarities to Andre 3000 are undeniable. This runs deeper than their accents or birthplace. STS’s style resembles Outkast’s (and by association, Atlanta’s) bouncy, pop-fused quick spurts of precise enunciation, often backed by soulful singing or jazzy instrumentals. This makes for a project that functions as well in a club as it does during a midnight drive.
RJD2 acts as the perfect complement to STS, providing an array of exciting productions that capture the fine line between supporting the vocals and containing layers of intricate instrumentals. Much of the production draws heavily from older influences mixed in with newer styles, instrumentals that are reminiscent of older days, without feeling dated.
There are some tracks that have trouble staying distinct, especially between more pronounced singles. Luckily, the album has enough variety to keep most fans satisfied. STS brings the party with “Doin it Right” and “420,” but can just as easily switch to more poignant topics, as he does in “All I Wanted Was a Caddy” and “Monsters Under My Bed.”
While any comparison with Outkast is a compliment, it does point at potential issues with STS x RJD2’s appeal. Is there enough compelling content here to distinguish the artist? While some of the songs do lack the character or replayability STS is capable of, the stronger singles demonstrate that there’s nothing but a bright future for the Philly rapper.