Big Pete and Ell’s collaborative mixtape is anything but invisible – the record is a raucous twenty minutes of conspicuously stylish southern rap.
Big Pete isn’t the type of rapper to dance around the beat on “Invisible Tops”. He’s technically proficient, sure – he rarely gives a line any less than enough room to play out properly – but he’s certainly not a featherweight. There’s a decent heft to the Houston rapper’s words, so much so that even when he lets bars dissipate breathily they do so with the trailing gravity of molten metal. “Oddworld” opens the record with some sonically confused chops, atop which Pete lays down this gravity; bars like “I smoke that dope so I can not breathe, leave y’all deceased” find the rapper occupying a strange middle register. The weight in his voice is then tripled by one of the tape’s central pillars, inescapable bass courtesy of executive producer Ell, whose seismic sounds serve to amplify and support. “Oddworld” hits harder than expected, and both artists prioritise style – a healthy blend of screwed samples, cowbells, and constant flow make for a sharp listen.
It’s really this commitment to polish that informs “Invisible Tops”. On “Midnight” recurring guest Hood-E takes the mic early on, following a set up from Pete backed by abundant symbols and a slick nocturnal guitar riff. As Hood-E takes over tight kicks unravel into sliding 808s. E raps in a chanting, spiraling cadence which pulls the listener into the eye of the storm, and the rest of the tape’s features show similar talent. Fedha Jones is okay on “BILL$”, but superbly articulate on “10 HOZ IN DA HOTEL LOBBY”;
“I’m still in hell with all this smoke but every breath refreshing, them lessons learned were bridges burned, but that’s just less connections, I watch them burn to ashes my river looks less reflective”.
Standout track “DOA” follows “10 HOZ” and finds Fedha joined by final guest General Revis, who connects symmetrically with Pete on the track’s first half, backing the host with manic deliveries. Big Pete then resumes control, here finding his most imposing tone; “Try me then it’s DOA, leave the scene don’t leave no case” merges with a cinematic beat from Ell to paint these grim realities in filmic colours.
The final two songs, whilst loaded with voices, are Ell’s to claim. “Lingo” builds from a shimmering synth loop into a steady banger, complete with sliding lead melodies. “Growth” is similarly a balance; explosive percussion offset but inquisitive lead progressions. A lasting impression is nonetheless found on the featureless sixth track “CLOUD 9”. Here, Big Pete and Ell are in perfect sync, bass slamming as Big Pete drives off into his own ambitions.
Listen to “Invisible Tops” here.
Follow Ell on Twitter.
– Jamie (@youngjade1216)
This review was not purchased, but Big Pete did recently donate to the running and maintenance of 108MICS. This will be used for website costs.