This past Thursday, Dom Kennedy’s Yellow Album essentially took over my Twitter timeline, and it was a long time coming. I had been waiting for that album since the day he dropped Westside II to kick off last summer.
A few hours later, though, scattered lightly amongst the somewhat dwindling Yellow Album tweets, were download links for Iconoclast. Unlike Dom’s latest, Iconoclast wasn’t a project I had been anticipating for a year… not even close. But at the same time, somehow I found myself almost equally excited for both projects as their respective releases approached on Thursday afternoon.
I met Ryan Easter, an emcee – but more significantly, a musician – from Berklee a little under two months ago. That day that I was with both he and Sketcho, who co-produced and engineered Iconoclast, the two ensured me that their upcoming joint project would be one I’d definitely want to be on the lookout for. Sketcho has never led me wrong in the past, so I stayed on the lookout.
Fast forward to today, a few days after the release of the six-track EP. My iTunes play count tells me I’ve listened through seven times, and that’s not including the time Iconoclast has spent in my iPod rotation. Bottom line – this is a project that deserved my attention from the first day I heard about it, and I’m glad that’s what I gave it.
The lyricism from start to finish is top-tier – engaging, perpetually entertaining, and filled with everything from philosophical pontifications to obscure pop culture references. For Iconoclast, though, the words are only one piece of the puzzle. Unlike the majority of today’s mixtapes put out by up-and-coming hip-hop artists, Ryan crafted a sound using his skills on the trumpet, piano, bass and drums, and made incredible music with this EP.
There’s something unique about each track that makes it hard to choose a favorite, but for now, it’s “Hello, Metropolis,” with its spacey, futuristic feel, and lines like, “Oh you special ’cause you rap, got a video, your track can get some buzz but your memory is erasable..”
That said, it’s hard to say the highlight of the entire EP isn’t the bonus track, an acoustic jazz song composed by Ryan himself weaved onto the end of “Iconoclast.” You’ll need to listen to understand.
The only feature you’ll hear throughout the nearly 30 minutes of music is Chance Fischer on the second verse of “Minimum Wage,” and it’s one that fits seamlessly. Chance’s animated delivery spices up the track and complements Ryan’s smooth flow aptly.
Aside from the co-production of Ryan and Sketcho on all of the tracks, Greg Wilson is also credited as a producer on “Minimum Wage.”
It would be in your best interests to click one of the two links below to download Iconoclast. No matter what your personal style is, I guarantee there’s something for you in here.
DOWNLOAD: Ryan Easter x Sketcho – Iconoclast
DOWNLOAD: Iconoclast (Bandcamp Link)