There’s an honesty that all too often gets left out of modern charting hip hop, replaced instead by performative beefs over beats that ask the listener to determine for themselves where the reality starts and the marketing ends.
Not so with Cozz and Effect, the debut album from LA rapper Cozz. Filled with both classic hip hop postering and the first signs of breaking away from the beaten path of hip hop cliche. Plus he name drops Kenan and Kel, which I feel is a straight baller move.
And yeah, it’s probably worth flagging up front, this is very much a music review written by the “man bun and Biffy Clyro” type of blogger, which, C’mon, you knew already.
The beats throughout harken back to the heights of Gangsta rap, with off shoots bringing back memories of De La Soul, and G Funk. The lyricism throughout is solid, with the opener, Dreams, bursting with DMX levels of energy that make listening to it in quarantine particularly difficult, like drinking four espressos in a sensory deprivation tank.
But it’s in the shoots of exploration and experimentation that show the range at Cozz’s disposal. The slower jazz vibe of Knock Tha Hustle lets the lyricism shine and provides a change of pace to the albums harder, livelier vibe. Likewise long, stretched lines of the third track, Cody Max, put the flow front and centre, letting the words themselves power the track forward, rather than crowding it out with bass and bleeps. In fact the whole albums production is relatively stripped back, giving the whole piece the feeling of being a pedestal for J.Cole to show off the talents of his new protege.
It’s a deep pocket of tricks for an artist who was only 21 at the time of release. Although helped through the album by J.Cole, the album shows the potential and capabilities of a rising talent.
While the tracks themselves are solid and let the rhymes speak for themselves, this is a “straight” hip hop album, there’s less of the flat out weirdness that you might get from Chance the Rapper or Childish Gambino, but as an example of modern rap being able to hold with the heavy weights of just a few years ago, you couldn’t ask for more.
Cozz, Cozz and Effect, 4/5