Success In Retrograde is a 7 track EP from John Graham. The opening starts strongly with “The Ground Floor”, which encorporates a furiously fast BPM and a celebratory feel. It is most striking for it’s sense of purpose and hunger which almost fly out from your speakers. John is making sure you pay attention to his lyrics which range from politics to the apocalypse. He knows how to flow and is showing off on this record by making it sound easy.
Track two “Modus Operandi” is more laid back and guitar based in it’s production, yet the raps never slow down. As an emcee he’s very easy to listen to. He balances lyrical skill and ‘easy to relate to’ content with the ease of an old pro. With lines like “perception is reality with contact lenses” there are plenty of stand out quotables to keep this project on your mind.
Success In Retrograde makes for a very enjoyable EP with steady foot tapping beats, it demands you stick with it from start to finish. My favourite piece is track three “Veterans Of Foreign Wars” which speaks of the power of revolution through the internet and hip-hop. John employs the use of a speaker phone to lead a rally cry for his music to be heard. Touching on the armed forces and the loss of life within War, it stirs passion through it’s direct dealing of harsh topics.
The EP continues in this vain, focusing on the Occupy Wall Street movement and how music can be used to further the cause on “The Top 1%”. Shade Cobain provides the beat on “The Honeymoon’s Over”, a soulful experience complemented by a Dave Chappelle sample. The message of this track is clear, examine Hollywood and the American system of government whilst questioning everything.
“Dear Diary” is the most personal track on the project, it features the beautiful vocals of female singer Esha J. The song alludes to the great digital switch which has replaced the pen and pad. Despite the modern methods John still puts his heart into the words replicating the effects of a diary. “What Dreams May Come” sees out the E.P. with another Esha J feature. It is by far John’s most laid back rap, but he fills the track with hard hitting emotion. It tells the story of a relationship and is a slight departure from the early sounds of the project. When it ends you are left looking forward to hearing more from John Graham, this is no nonsense hip-hop executed with passion and skill.