Some say that nothing in life is free, while others maintain that the best things in life are free. Regardless of which side of the argument you tend to fall on, it seems that some of the best hip hop in recent days can be attained at no cost to the listener… legitimately. I am sure that 2dopeboyz.com incurred some costs in making The Barrelhouse LP available to the listening public, but as far as I am concerned, I just got some of the best hip hop currently available for free fifty free.
Swerve introduces the album with the track All I Have – a bare-all tale of a disjointed childhood and a young man who made sense of life through the lens of hip hop. The beat is an eerie one with some creepy horns that ebb and flow and set the tone for a serous intro, and just like each to follow it, the production is rooted in the boom bap era of hip hop. The second track was one of the singles previously released, featuring young Brooklyn emcee Sene, which transitions the story told by the album as a whole from how the music helped life make sense, to how it takes So Many Days to see fruit from the toil of paying dues in the game. Different Shades then ties Swerve the emcee to his roots, whether racial/cultural, or as one who is carrying the bloodline of hip hop forward – more accurately put, both at the same time. I assume the juxtaposition of DS and Yesterday’s Gone, featuring Co$$, is intentional and the fact that we are tied to our past and yet, in a very real way, the past is gone, is a concept he and his contemporary are cleverly toying with. Swerve’s departure, even if just via a daydream, is timely given the weight of the first four tracks. The Getaway provides a sunny day on the beach regardless of what the view from your window has to offer. The rest of the album follows suit and The Barrelhouse LP is worth multiple listens from start to finish. I loved the album and fittingly, Swerve ends it with Love.
Swerve provides a very candid portrait of life and allows his listeners to enter the album, have a drink and find a bit of respite – his inspiration for doing so is described below:
“Barrelhouse Background: Also known as a juke joint or a bar or saloon. The term originates from the storage of barrels of alcohol that were often turned into tables around the bar. Barrelhouse’s were set up on the outskirts of town, often in ramshackle buildings or private houses, they offered food, drinks, dancing and gambling for weary workers. They also birthed many genre’s of Blues and provided a circuit for emerging artists to travel and perform. The owners would often tend bar themselves and usually make extra money selling groceries or moonshine to patrons, or providing cheap room and board.”
Listen. Enjoy. Please Share.
Peace and Love,