Swerve & SYG | Cold Winters & Warm Whiskey 2 (2013 Mixtape)


As the cold, harsh reality of mainstream rap continues to increase in its frigidity, artists like Swerve and SYG provide soul-warming whiskey to hip hop culture.  Cold Winters & Warm Whiskey 2  proves to be an even more refined batch of beats and rhymes, continuing the CW&WW series.  Open up your blinds, pour a glass of your favorite whiskey (whisky), press play and read on.

Hip hop fans everywhere have got to be scratching their heads as to how/why they are able to get such a dope mixtape, which could easily be an LP, for FREE!  That’s like my favorite Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey distillery (Tuthilltown Spirits) offering a free bottle with the click of a mouse.  Okay, now let’s get into the mixtape.

From the intro to track, Hello Irene (Open my Eyes), to the outro, One Love, Winter, Swerve & SYG maintain a level of excellence as wordsmiths that so many of today’s hip hop and rap artists struggle to achieve at all.  The production, which is provided by a swatch of colorful producers, perfectly creates the ambiance for Swerve & SYG’s true to life, yet oddly optimistic lyrics.  Somehow, the combination of the beats, rhymes and life provided here truly do feel like warm whiskey on a winter afternoon.

I typically like to share some standouts, but the entire album is chock full o’ quality music and really does deserve a listen straight through from track 1 to track 18 (as the duo suggests on their bandcamp.com page for the album).  With that said, I will share a few of my favorites and heavily suggest you make the time to listen intently from beginning to end.  Don’t Judge grabs the listener’s heart with the first strum of the guitar, demands his/her full attention in the first few bars of Swerve’s verse and keeps that attention via lofty vocals and later, SYG’s equally moving verse, which begins with the drums silenced – powerful.  Paradise is this, “yes we can” philosophical anthem which remains grounded while it challenges listeners to not neglect the type of dreaming that many may consider unrealistic.  Love, Loss, Interlude.. is a dope track which we have already covered extensively HERE.  The same can be said of I Have Love, which you can read up on HERE.  Standout production goes to Rise Sovereign with his beat for Not So EZ which could go toe to toe with production from Apollo Brown and his peers; the beat is so powerful that the listener cannot help but recognize a marked increase in vocal intensity from both emcees.  Finally, Above the Water is another chest warming sip of soul-warming hip hop with an encouraging message that is anything but senseless idealism.

Cold Winters & Warm Whiskey 2 is a must listen for any and all hip hop connoisseurs and is a smooth transition for those who are tired of the bottom shelf that the industry continues to serve to the mainstream.  Listen.  Enjoy.  Share.

Peace and Love,

NathanAnthony

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