Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New Albums By The Fearless Four's Peso

Yo folks, I've got a big update on my post from last summer about The Fearless Four's Great Peso.  Like, two new album's worth.  So yeah, so once again I was hooked up by Matt (cheers!); and you may remember that Peso had kind of quietly mounted an underground comeback in upstate New York under the initials TGP.  Well, now he's a little less under wraps, doing some shows in NY and Germany and he's got two new CDs (you might say mixtapes, but they're not mixed or blended at all; so they're pretty much full albums in my book) under the more recognizable name Peso 131. He's even got a full website now at peso131.com.

A lot of the pros and cons with the new CDs are the same as with the old ones.  It's really cool to hear Peso back on the mic, but the majority of the material are these kind of club songs I've never really been a fan of.  You know, air horns in the instrumental, titles like "She's a Hottie."  Maybe this is what's popping in his local scene, but personally I'd much rather hear some more traditional breakbeat and soul sample kinda stuff, or even something reminiscent of his really old school records.  But it is what it is, and there are still some cool moments are highlights.  Overall, I prefer This Is How I Roll, which is a little more hip-hop.  It's all original production by names I don't recognize, but who I assume are all part of his Plattsburgh Home Team crew, except the first track, "Still Peso," which us over the "Still D.R.E." instrumental.  That's definitely one of the best tracks, and remember that song I picked out from his crew's mixtape called "My Universe?"  Well, that's on here; and they've even made a video for it up on youtube now.

Then the next album, Fearless 4, I wasn't feeling as much overall.  But it does have the best song across both albums, a reunion of the group (the rest of the album, to be clear, is a Peso solo album) called "Club Slappa."  They all come off really nice on the mic, and while the instrumental starts out kinda generically club-ish like a lot of album; the beat changes up and they start mixing in beats like "Peter Piper," and then you're on board.  It's also got some live trumpet by DLB Jr., which might sound like a bad idea on paper, but actually kinda works.  If Peso reads this, more like this song, please!  Now, "Club Slappa" actually popped up online a couple years ago, and I believe a couple of these other songs may be older, too; which is probably why these albums are considered mixtapes.  But it's nice they've finally found a home.  There's not really a storefront or anything, but I'm pretty sure you can cop these CDs if you contact Peso through his site.

I also got to hear some other stuff from his Home Team gang (no, not that Home Team).  There's a Home Away From Home mixtape, which is actually a proper mix, full of solo songs and the big posse cut I wrote about last year's post.  It has two more Peso songs, but they're both on This Is How I Roll, so if you get that, you've already got 'em.  And they also sent me the solo debut of Phonix Orion, who had one of the best songs on the Summer Sampler from last year.  I wasn't too taken with his appearances on Home Away From Home, but hearing him on own project, I was definitely feeling him more.

It's a cassette EP called Cashmere Phoenix, and it's got more of a laid back, jazzy kind of vibe that's completely removed from Peso's stuff.  I suppose it's more in step with what contemporary hip-hop in general, which makes sense, but he's definitely taking chances with beats that blend into breathy choruses and stuff. Lyrically, I could've done without lines about "haters," etc - the worst influence of his generation. But production-wise especially, it's actually considerably more impressive than Peso's albums.  Although I don't think I'm suggesting they get Peso on this style of song necessarily.

But since "My Universe" is one of his best songs, and it's the one they've chosen to make the video for; I think Peso's already moving in the right direction.  So like last year, these CDs might be just for the serious fans and old school collectors who are excited to hear that Peso's back and what he's up to.  But pretty soon we might be looking at something I'd recommend for the more mainstream listener.

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