Rising rapper Al Sharp brings his new project The Voice of the Unheard 2 to our attention. The 13-track body of work is the sequel to his previously released album of the same name and sees Al diving into a myriad of topics ranging from loyalty, street codes, and aspiration themes to pure bravado raps. Backed by hard-hitting thumping beats, he also recruits the help of Evan Tate, Arowbeegee, Donyros, Moe Grease, Crusada, A Chugga, Mr. Bricks Visuals, and Inf Dot who all add their perspective to the record.

“Introduction” is aptly titled and features Sax player Evan Tate and O.G who deliver a stern message to Al Sharp via voicemail. Over Tate’s jazzy and sombre backdrop, O.G. reminds Al not to water down his message and keep hitting the people out there with the raw uncut hip-hop that is much needed in these times. This is followed by “Who Me”, a menacing gritty track that sees Al delivering no-holds-barred raps underpinned by gritty graphic imagery and an authoritative vocal tone. Lines like“I’m old school like tucking your Timbs with a baggy Hilfiger/White Tee, keeping traditions like family gathering/Head busser stars move around your melon like Saturn” accentuate the dark aesthetics and set the tone for the rest of the project. “Modern State Of Mind” is a nod to Nas’ “N.Y State of Mind” and even flips the same piano sample with new drums and edgy textures to match. Al Sharp employs Nas’ cadence and repurposes the lyrics into his own. He takes us deep into his stomping grounds and how the vicious cycle never ends. “I am Him” is a soulful track made up of soft vocal samples with movie samples used in the chorus. Here, Al Sharp reflects on his life and the daily struggles he has to face to get by. He is joined by fellow rapper Arowbeegee who adds his own perspective to the record.


Next up is “Who’s Gonna Stop It”, a dark and cinematic track that continues Al’s stylish storytelling prowess. He takes charge as he sets his sights on his goals while reminding us that the haters will always doubt you so it’s best to stay on the grind and win. The fun continues with “F.Y.T”, another gritty cut that showcases Al’s vivid lyricism and unfiltered pen game. Over the scenic and moody backdrop, he delivers a mix of bravado with insight as he tries to live his life as righteous as possible but his environment tries to throw him off balance. Lines like “And my curses, I read the Bible and I ain’t perfect/ What a curse is?, please define ‘cause I ain’t certain” show his willingness to acknowledge his failings and the rest of the track follows us as we get to peer into Al’s deepest thoughts. On “Let it Go” Al teams up with Donyros for an anthemic bass-laden jam that sees the duo exchanging fiery bravado raps. Donyros sets the tone with lines like “Been around snakes, just about every type/Accept them for who they are, not surprised when they bite” followed by Al’s vivid bars “Heard they pushing repos,play chess don’t reload, involve only the real, the day ones that we know”. The track is then tied up by a call-and-response type hook.


“Target Practice” has a laidback and solemn vibe and is another storytelling record perfectly crafted with graphic imagery from Al. He talks about growing up, aspirations and the daily struggles that throw him for a loop but he is resilient and always has a way to get the prize. This is followed by the scenic “Pandemic” made up of lush synths and a thumping boom-bap drum groove. It brings together Al and fellow emcees Moe Grease, Crusada who all share their thoughts on hard times and how these struggles shaped them for better or worse. “I don’t fuck wit Niggaz” starts off with a movie sample that set the dark tone of the track. Bolstered by the ominous soundscape, Al links with A.Chugga and the duo share their disdain for naysayers, detractors and opposition who try to ruin their plans. “Mathematics”is a bravado and somewhat introspective track that connects Al and Mr. Bricks Visuals. The beat here is quite cinematic and dark and fits the rapper’s fiery bars although the vocal texture has a telephone effect which makes it a bit weird or maybe it’s an aesthetic choice. Al appears in the 3rd verse and closes it out as he dives into his own personal demons and how he deals with them. The last track “Overview” featuresInf Dot over a creepy and ominous backdrop with atmospheric pads, crow sounds and punchy drums. As the title suggests, we listeners are given a summary of some sort as the emcees detail their respective hustle and how they uphold the street code. The project closes out with the aptly titled “Outro” that brings back Sax player Evan Tate who crafts another solemn jazzy soundscape.


Overall, The Voice of the Unheard 2, does a great job at capturing the essence of that retro NY boom-bap vibe with modern rap aesthetics and authentic storytelling as well. Al keeps listeners locked in from the jump with his commanding voice and gritty tales for close to 40 minutes and establishes his world without losing the plot.



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