Vernacular represents the third time that the Lo$tboy$yndicate collective has featured on 108mics, and with their newest release the trio are more deserving of praise than ever. At seven tracks long, this is their best collection of music to date.
Right out the gate, the ‘Syndicate’ prove that they’re not messing around. The raps are fast and furious, full of the same hunger present on every one of their releases. The singing is where the song truly takes off however, preaching love and unity in a beautiful, incredibly soulful manner. These epic, almost gospel-inspired vocals are even more intrinsic to the second track, where they lament the passing of friends and other hardships in life that have pushed the trio to their current position. ‘2700’ might be my favourite song on the project, propelled as it is by determined yet pain-filled delivery and poignant acoustic guitar licks.
A pattern begins to emerge on the third song, as yet more incredible chorus vocals come crashing in amidst more morbid lyricism: ‘Fucked over more times than I can count’, ‘Wonder if you gon’ cry when I’m in the ground?’ All credit to the producer here, there’s not a single song here that isn’t absolutely chilling. The album doesn’t get any weaker from here, either, as ‘Bloodmoon’ is a four minute colossus right in the middle of the album built around dissonant piano stabs, a Freddie Gibbs homage and a healthy dose of hearty singing (seriously, the choruses here are fucking brilliant). The tone of the group’s music is fairly similar to that of British singer Sampha, whose deeply atmospheric R&B creations strike a similar chord with me.
There’s a couple of deviations from this formula, however. ‘Drive’ is devoid of singing and simply features the dual rap attack of Jay Future and HaZ-E at its most lethal. ‘S.D.T.’ returns to more soulful territory, but its jazzy flourishes are a welcome method of changing things up. The finale ‘Waves’ is drumless for its first two minutes, allowing the group to develop another cavernous atmosphere with which to apply their soul-searching raps and of course the same delightfully passionate singing. Honestly, it seems as if the Syndicate never places a foot wrong and I would be happy to describe this as one of the year’s strongest rap releases so far.
Check the album out in full below.
– Chris (@108seraph)