An aspiring rapper and central part of Colorado Springs music group, Same Old Squares, ArsenikthaToxic has built his contemporary sound through a near-seamless blend of alternative, tap, and lo-fi. Constantly pushing the boundaries of his genre, Arsenik has recently proven his talents with the release of ‘Failure’, a new six-track EP built with some help from his musical comrades, ‘Oh Dam It’s Cam, X.i.am, and Colo.
Opening with a stream of lo-fi beats and modulated vocals, the EP opens with the slow-burning title track, a rough cut rap song that shines through a shaky layering of vocals and instrumentals. Its rhythmic rap with a purpose, offering a more controlled and focused version of the genre. While note instantly catching, there is a nuanced charm to the titular track, offering enough intrigue to keep you hooked and waiting for the next cut to drop.
In similar fashion, second track ‘All In Vain’ emerges from the darkness with a soft flourish, offering a ghostly melody that is stitched together from flickering tones. Vocals flow and stutter, offering a more cultivated sound that takes hold quickly and offers a more illustrative glimpse into Arsenik’s talents. Third cut ‘What Was In That Potion?’ offers much of the same, rising and falling at its own discretion and laying a sound foundation for X.i.am’s verse, while ‘Pumpkin Eater’ and ‘Forced Relaxation’ pass by in a spirited medley of sounds and scratchy production.
It’s final track ‘MoonXChild’ that arguably impresses the most, bringing in some fresh production from Colo along with a wave of emotive orchestral chords and poignant moments. A cut above, ‘MoonXChild’ is a track worth waiting for, and without a doubt the highlight of the piece.
Rough, but authentic, ‘Failure’ isn’t one of the most instantly impressive hip-hop releases you’ll hear this year, but it does offering a unique look at the genre, one that bristles with promise and an ear for detail. Far more personal and emotive than your run of the mill rap releases, there is a depth and sincerity to the beats and verse that you can’t help but appreciate, ensuring that ArseniktheToxic and Same Old Squares will be projects to keep an eye on.