Hunxho "Before The Album" Review

Hunxho first rose to prominence in 2021 by releasing tracks such as "Let's Get It." Since then, the young up-and-comer has been steadily dropping albums, mixtapes, and singles to further his buzz. His latest effort, Before the Album, serves as a brief EP to tide over his fans until his next full-length project. This brief release touts nine tracks that play out over the course of 23 minutes, offering some deep insight into the state of Hunxo's current musical trajectory. Let's examine the tracklist and material and see what the Atlanta native has in store.

The Project Has Some Serious Vocal Mixing Issues

Despite Hunxho's talented lyric-writing abilities, Before the Album is a tough listen. The beats range from solid to exceptional, the lyrics are intriguing and autobiographical, and the pacing is varied, but every single track on this project is mixed with a billion layers of poorly-mixed autotune, buried under a mountain of reverb. As a result, Before the Album sounds like it's being played from an iPhone speaker on the other side of an empty gymnasium, even when listening with high-quality speakers.

This vocal mixing is evident across every track and is most jarring on the intro record "Ups & Downs." If you can get past the thick layer of unlistenable autotune, the song delivers on its title by examining some of the major highs and lows that Hunxho has experienced in recent years. This includes crashing out in his romantic relationships, losing friends to street violence, and struggling to feed his kids while his rap career hits monumental highs.

Hunxho Gets Introspective

Once you get past the massive barrier of entry, which is atrocious vocal engineering, Hunxho gets pretty deep into Before the Album. Tracks such as "Do This For Me" offer a man-in-the-mirror moment, with the Atlanta rapper examining his own actions and the trauma he has experienced while meditating on forgiveness and the prospect of healing. Likewise, "Can't Fall Off" sees Hunxo pondering on his contemporaries who lack his hustling mindset while arguing that falling off musically would be akin to taking food off his children's plates. The spacey, soul-chopped instrumental on "Can't Fall Off" is the best on the project.

"Y'all Get It" should be an emotional high point for the EP, as Hunxho croons about losing his loved ones, missing his children, and experiencing feelings of loneliness. Unfortunately, the track opens with some Kid Cudi-inspired humming that sounds positively comical under the layers of grating autotune. It feels disrespectful to catch your breath from laughter while Hunxho waxes poetic about his friends dying in the streets, but that's the cost of admission on a song mixed this poorly.

Some Songs Manage To Rise Above The Mix

Foul mixing positively ruins a few records on Before the Album, while others just barely manage to overcome this significant obstacle. "Closer To Over" is handily the best-mixed track on the entire project, which makes sense as it's far and away the most popular song present. The Genius lyric page counts over 20K pageviews for this track alone, proving that Hunxho's fans are tuning in far and wide. The song is an anthem about betrayal and taking the high road, and it shows Hunxho refusing to backstab people even after they show their true colors. A few well-placed glockenspiel bells and bumping bass notes make this track an easy winner. The song almost sounds like it could score a scene from a mob movie.

"How It Feel" is another highlight, which contains an ultra-hard gospel sample that bolsters the themes of counting your blessings and following your grind. Still, the structure of this track is incredibly bizarre, as it touts a single incredibly short verse sandwiched between an extra-long hook. It's a bite-sized joint, but it's effective in delivering its message. The final track, aptly titled "Last Song," touts some emotional piano melodies, which give way to bars about Hunxho's growth and accomplishments. The song is a brief one-verse with no chorus, a track that leaves fans wanting more, and it has us primed for the upcoming album.

Not to harp too much on this point, but Hunxho desperately needs to fire his engineer on his next project. Beyond that, the fans will surely look forward to the record that follows Before the Album.

The post Hunxho "Before The Album" Review appeared first on HotNewHipHop.


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