For New York rapper Lil Shies, Ridin Round Town Vol. 1 represents a significant stylistic evolution. Spearheaded by single ‘Benz’, the six track, entirely Godmode-produced tape sees Shies delivering smoother, more melodic rap music. His vocals smattered in autotune, the MC quickly establishes this sound on ‘What It Is’, one of the coolest, most expertly engineered songs in his discography. Dock Hellish, who is the sole feature here, adds to this track expertly thanks to his history of delivering pop-influenced trap music to the masses. Handling the other five joints solo, Shies slices through Godmode’s clattering percussion on ‘Middle Fingers’, provides serpentine hooks on ‘BbyGirl’ and tackles his most challenging beat to date on ‘Too Much’. Godmode deserves enormous credit for his work here, as the beat on ‘Benz’ might actually be the most ‘traditional’ of the production on offer here, the rest being mind-bogglingly slick future trap creations.

Songwriting-wise, Shies music has never been stronger. ‘What It Is’ has quickly climbed to the top of his trap output, it’s not only the strongest Shies/Dock song to date but one of my favourite songs of the year. Throughout this entire project the NY artist proves that he’s incredibly good at establishing chemistry with a producer, and with Godmode he may have found a long term musical partner.

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