Awon and Dephlow - Dephacation (Review)

Awon and Dephlow - Dephacation (Review) (Real Hip-Hop)

"Dephacation" is a collaborative album between Newport News, VA emcees Awon and Dephlow and Portland hip-hop producer Phoniks. The album features a guest appearance from Tiff The Gift as well as production from F Draper, but mostly the entire project is produced by Phoniks himself. It was released on May 6, 2014 via Sergent Records.

1) Intro - Skit.

2) Dephacation - The first song on the album features a head nodding Phoniks instrumental with some mellow organs and strings over boom-bap drums and a nice bass riff. The beat is ill and both Awon and Dephlow sound good over it, spitting some humorously boastful rhymes about how ill they are in this hip-hop shit. Dope track. - 3.75/5

3) Real Hip Hop - Phoniks delivers a crazy instrumental full of soaring strings and a sprinkle of piano keys for Awon and Dephlow to get busy over. The beat is just beautiful and both emcees rip it, rhyming about being true to real hip-hop and about being veterans in the game. Dope. - 4/5

4) Step Up - Awon and Dephlow come gunning for wack emcees over a laid back instrumental with some trippy reverberating chimes or keyboards over boom-bap drums. I'm really feelin' the personal feel of some of the rhymes on this track and the breezy feel of the beat makes them even better. This one's fire and is a standout track to me. - 4.5/5

5) Introducing - This cut is actually a Dephlow solo track and finds the Virgina based emcee spitting some humorous battle raps over a hard hitting Phoniks instrumental. The beat is dope, with a nice piano and horn loop combined with ill scratching on the chorus, and Dephlow sounds pretty good over it. Nice. - 3/5

6) Lights Off - This is the only track on the project that is not produced by Phoniks and its pretty dope. The beat has a smoother feel than some of the others, with a soulful vocal loop and some soft pianos, and both Awon and Dephlow sound good enough over it, changing up their deliveries to a more sing-songy type of flow and venting about their struggles. Dope. - 3.75/5

7) You Can Run - Phoniks returns to production duties and delivers a head nodding instrumental with some airy flutes and energetic boom-bap drums coupled with crazy scratching on the chorus. As far as the rhymes go, both Awon and Dephlow both rip their own solo verses first before trading off rhymes for the third verse. This one is real nice. - 4.25/5

8) Sucka Free - This track has a darker vibe than the previous song, with some reverberating strings and an almost gloomy sample over the head nodding drums. Dephlow comes in first and kicks a verse about how he is a "professional playa" while Awon follows up with the same, but with a ton of references to hip-hop instead of a women. Eh, I'm not really feelin' this one too much though. - 2.5/5

9) The War Room (featuring Tiff The Gift) - Awon and Dephlow link up with Tiff The Gift over another dope instrumental with some breezy guitars and shuffling drums. Lyrically the song is really good as well, with all three emcees rapping about everything from music labels and critics to just the general state of hip-hop nowadays. Dope. - 4/5

10) You Know My Name - This track has a sort of presidential feel to it, with some regal horns and strings looped over boom-bap drums. Lyrically Dephlow sets it off first and closes out the track as well, with Awon spitting the middle verse and kicking some more braggadocios bars. Very nice. - 3.75/5

11) Sucka Free (Phoniks Remix) - The final track on the album is actually a remix to track eight, featuring the same vocals (minus Dephlow's final verse) but over a more soulful instrumental. I'm feelin' this one more than the original though. - 3/5

I'm going to rate the album

3.75 / 5

because there are some really great songs on here. Phoniks production throughout the album is really dope, with only a track or two that I wasn't feelin' as much as the others. The contribution by F Draper is ill as well and fits in nicely with the feel of the project while still managing to bring its own unique sound. Lyrically the album is just as strong as the production, with Awon and Dephlow rhyming about their dissatisfaction with the current state of hip-hop (among other things). While there are a few missteps towards the middle, the project begins and ends strong and has me looking forward to hearing more from all three of these guys. You can stream and purchase the full LP via the link below.


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