Poised and Pleasant
Doomtree has had quite the year. Their roster has accounted for three full-length albums thus far, and the duo of Four Fists will make that five in October. Not only has the collective produced a large quantity of music in 2018, but they have also created a wide palette of sounds for listeners to enjoy. Whether it was Dessa’s airy and pop emphasized sound that enveloped her latest record, or the sci-fi synth-heavy sound on the collaboration record Artería Verité, Doomtree has delivered on their promise of making some of the most unique indie hip-hop in all of music. A big part of the collective’s success this year has been the latest record from Longshot and Lazerbeak.
Admittedly, the veteran producer Lazerbeak and the Chicago born emcee Longshot might not be the most logical fit on paper. Lazerbeak’s very full and melody driven beats can work very well on their own. Projects such as Lava Bangers prove this to be true. While this is quite an impressive feat in its own right, production this full can often draw listeners away from the lyrical content of the rapper. This would seemingly be a problem considering Longshot is the emcee on this project. Chad Heslup often crafts incredibly meaningful lyrical pieces that are a testament to his character and upbringing. If these sentiments were to be completely drowned out by excessively active production, then ultimately this project would have been doomed to fail. Luckily, the two Doomtree veterans were able to pull off something very polished, catchy and ultimately fun.
Perhaps no track is as fun as the opening track “Just Dance.” This track perfectly represents the compromise both parties make to benefit this project. The funky organ-led beat is sure to make the listener sway their hips, so knowing this, Longshot just has fun with it. Longshot’s quick and sputtering flow rides perfectly over the infectious groove Lazerbeak laid on the track. “Inside of You” does a great job of showcasing both performers’ skills as well, as the verses allow Longshot to showcase lyrical cleverness and his off-the-wall vocal inflections. Just when you start losing a bit of interest in the verse, an anthemic but crowded chorus comes in and steals the show. The operatic vocals in the background are a nice touch, and Longshot’s vocal mirroring of the trumpet part on the hook also creates a fulfilling effect.
The more sentimental moments on here really also work well. The driving title track is an incredible reflection on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. This track at times feels a little bit crowded due to its involved beat, but the message and passion that Longshot spouts during his verse would be able to cut through just about any beat. “Let Him Go” is another heartbreaking tune, this time about single mothers and deadbeat fathers. Longshot’s empowerment of single mothers is a welcome tone, and the canvas Lazerbeak provided him fully allowed him to capitalize on this moment.
While it is not the most perfect album, there’s some really infectious lyrics and grooves across Parades. Both parties were able to highlight each other’s strengths. Lazerbeak’s colorful beats and Longshot’s wise words of introspection end up creating something very satisfying on both a casual and listening level.