Speak! – Gnarly Davidson vs. The Marlboro Man [Review]
Rating – 4 out of 5
Favorites – Mouth
Let Downs feat. Nikko Gray
Speak came across #TheREDEFINED’s SoundCloud stream via Noisey and was autoplayed on accident (on purpose). Gnarly Davidson vs The Marlboro Man is a project that is easily spun through in one sitting. Speak has created the perfect album to throw on and ride to. From concepts and words, to beat choices, cadences and progession, GDvTMM is a complete, all around album that creates a sense of connection to the artist and a plethora of favorites.
GDvTMM opens with “Mouth” and as opening tracks go, is A-1. If you have never heard Speakz flow, this opener stands as the best illustration of his rapping ability and beat adaptability. Cooking on those traits, the pure banger “Bulletproof Denali” drops in at track 3 and instantly body limbs start moving. Even though Speakz uses the traditional 2 & 4, boom-bap rhyme scheme, the rugged guitar riff in the instrumental makes sure that the track doesn’t become stale and boring. “Bulletproof Denali” serves as an all-out call to anyone to test the stopping ability of Speak and his subsequent automobiles.
In a brilliant display of sequencing “Let Downs feat. Nikko Gray” pops in a third of the way through the project and slows things down. The succulent voice of Nikko Gray adds a depth to the track, and in extension the album, that hasn’t been showcased thus far. Speak’s vocal prowess and lyricism is extra on point in this track, mostly based on the concept and content of the song. Capitalizing off of the mood set by Ms. Gray, “Death By Misadventure feat. Pheo” tells the second half of the story “Let Downs” started. Where the former tells the story of the struggle of success and the drive that failure creates, the latter highlights the darkside of defeat.
GDvTMM boasts a range of beats and grooves to help establish the vibe and auditory advancement of the story. From the aforementioned “Bulletproof Denali”, “Pendergrass” has an old school, laid back feel, heavy in mid-range instruments and soft percussion, “Lost World” has an experimental vibe, both based on the lyrics and the under laying chorus on the instrumental, and “Good Bye Song feat Nikko Gray” utilizes more classical arrangements and tones.
Every track of Gnarly Davidson vs. The Marlboro Man has a unique trait that collectively create a solid effort. The slow variation in bpms from the first track to the last help create a rollercoaster feel, where the album starts out hard, mellows out in the early middle peaks towards the end of the album and ends strong. The album as a whole listens effortlessly and leaves a satisfaction that only good music can satiate. Having never heard music from Speak, GDvTMM is the perfect introduction album.