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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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“It’s Us Vol. 1:” Luxury Raps from Emerging Voices

Lil Yachty and co. hit the concrete running with ease.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube Concrete Boys – Topic

Concrete Boys is a record label founded by Atlanta rapper, Lil Yachty, and includes signees Draft Day, Camo!, Dc2trill and KARRAHBOO. They brand themselves as a locked-in group of dedicated emcees who thrive in their solidity. 

Their debut mixtape, “It’s Us Vol.1,” released on April 5, is a jam-packed ensemble of boastful raps over sample-heavy trap production, with each group member seamlessly weaving in and out of the spotlight. 

Lil Yachty is a well-respected pioneer in the Soundcloud era of modern hip-hop. Draft Day, a longtime collaborator of Lil Yachty, commands attention with his confident and raspy delivery. He simultaneously introduces listeners to a more playful sound on a myriad of tracks across “It’s Us Vol. 1.”

Camo! is Conrete’s shapeshifter, showing promise in both technical and melodic raps, similar to Lil Yachty’s signature chameleonic abilities. Dc2trill admittedly has no stand-out qualities but is by no means a displeasure to hear. His easy-on-the-ears, low-register vibe somewhat compliments the rest of the unique cast. The true chilled-out spot of the group is rightfully taken by KARAHBOO, who takes the laid-back approach to rapping. 

The posse cut style track allows the Concrete Boys to show off their synergy in the strongest fashion. On their “On The Radar Cypher,” each member gets a solid verse to shine over a saxophone-based instrumental. 

On the standout, “2 HANDS 2 EYES 10 WHIPS/RENT DUE,” another posse cut, once again the five lyricists are given their respective mic time. The first of two beats for this track provides a cinematic backdrop with noir-style percussion and delicate, lush synths.

Camo! becomes one with the beat, hitting every sleek 808-drum bounce to a tee. Lil Yachty’s brief hook guides us into the “RENT DUE” section. His short contribution to this track allows his Concrete Family to take center stage. KARAHBOO and Draft Day then trade verses over a rough-around-the-edges, guitar-backed instrumental. Finally, Dc2trill earns the last minute to himself, and by the time the track arrives at his verse, it’s run its course. 

Collaborations between the members also thrive in the duo format. There’s a more honed-in production mindset that goes into the songs that only feature two out of the five Concrete Boys. Take the intro track, “POINT ME TO IT,” for example, led by Camo! and Lil Yachty. The acoustic guitar loop is taken from “Need 2” by Pinegrove, which sparked the iconic TikTok movement, the “Pinegrove Shuffle.” 

“WHERE YO DADDY” sees KARAHBOO making herself comfortable in this pocket she’s created for herself. Over string-heavy, upbeat, bass-heavy production, she defends her style, “talkin’ on the beat, I give a f*ck, they think my iron low.” While a laid-back delivery isn’t always bad, boxing yourself in as someone who doesn’t care about the energy they put into their work isn’t the smartest marketing move, especially on a mixtape dedicated to pushing newer artists. 

Dc2trill helms “MY LIFE,” which unfortunately is a slow-moving and boring track. A saxophone dances around the down-tempo trap instrumental, successfully depicting a solo journey. That’s about the only redeeming quality here outside of the fact that this is his best performance on the mixtape.

Once again, Dc2trill has the most work to do. He isn’t talentless, but he isn’t very intriguing either. 

Draft Day’s “PINK AND BLUE” is a psychedelic trip into the mind of an eccentric flexer. Sporting his shiny new maniacal approach to his raps, he’s laced over an intentionally distorted, twinkly and happy-go-lucky beat from ChildBoy, frequent producer for Lil Yachty and company. 

A classic tale of saving the best for last, it’s Camo! with “UP YO STANDARDS,” the undisputed best track from “It’s Us Vol. 1.” Over a sunny, sprawling, dense beat from OK, a formative producer for the underground wave of hip-hop artists, Camo! unlocks a perfect blend of both melodic and technical rapping. 

“It’s Us Vol. 1” succeeds in furthering Lil Yachty’s lightspeed career trajectory, and personally platforming each of the Concrete Boys signees. All five members, despite some not standing equal to the rest, coincide with each other as if they were lifelong friends. The locked-in mindset is pushed to the forefront of all aspects of “It’s Us Vol 1.”

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  • R

    Ramon VargasMay 2, 2024 at 8:57 am

    AJ, very in depth and insightful review. This album was not on my radar, but due to your persuasive words, I’m planning on giving it a listen to. Thanks!