On the outside looking in one might ask a budding emcee from sunny San Diego, California, what he could possibly use as influence to his or her craft. “What do you rhyme about the beautiful weather, the girls, and the partying?” In fact this holds true for a lot of SD rappers who just use hip hop as a vessel to carry a good vibe and feel good momentum through the message they wish to convey on a track. What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing, and SD rapper “Audios” doesn’t seem to think so either.
His album (mixtape?) titled The Outbreak, definitely didn’t come across as something someone would say has a good vibe at first listen, but as the album proceeds, you can’t help but develop this feeling. There are some exceptions however that just felt contrived. The opening track which shares the album name is one of those exceptions. *The Outbreak* is a very aggressive and pessimistic romp which invokes the “we’re all going to die” mentality, and in fact the lyrics express that sentiment exactly. The production on the track is nice, it kind of has a RZA type feel to it and the lyrics do share the same vibe you get from the production. Another exception is *Everything* which is about the struggles of life and having something taken from you. Nice track but felt a bit out of place. The last exception is *Get Away* which is about escaping the busy trials of life and just “getting away,” which starts to build up to the righteous elements the album has in spades.
Let’s talk about the standouts found on The Outbreak. *Jonny* is a pretty much a hip hop biography of the SD emcee over a very funky and jazzy beat, and follows *D.S.A* which is an introduction of who “Dose” is, and borrows Jay-Z’s P.S.A. track produced by Just Blaze. These two tracks are definitely highlights of the album. *November* just feels right and has a nice latin sample that makes you feel relaxed; the lyrics are very nice as well. *6/15/95* is simply a good track, dope beat, dope lyrics by Audios and company and is laden with insane cuts to end it off, definitely will be a listener’s favorite. What would an album be without a love song? *Till the Heavens* is very musical and the hook draws you in and blends nicely with the heavenly harp sample over raw drums. Finally we have *A-Dub* which has Audios flexing over a DJ Babu track, a nice listen.
Tracks like *Candle Lit, Red Cups, and Play Me* give you a sense of SD living and add a little balance to a mixtape that is pretty much all over the place, while *East Coast* and *Afghan Disco* are nice tracks, they don’t seem to mesh well with the surrounding tracks.
The Outbreak is a good listen. One critique however is that the structure is a bit strange, and doesn’t seem to match the title or seem to progress in the direction of the title track, the mood seems to shift constantly. What CAN be said is that Audios has the talent and ability to put out some very great stuff down the line and has released some gems on The Outbreak. Nice beat programming, and lyrics that go from hard and grimy to lively and upbeat give listeners of all types something to feel and look forward to in the future.
Daniel Levon Lunsford is a hip hop producer/composer, aspiring M.C. and a student from San Diego, California, with a genuine love and passion for music.