Phonix and Purpose - Those Who Don't Hear (Review)

Phonix and Purpose - Those Who Don't Hear (Essence of Hip-Hop)

"Those Who Don't Hear" is a collaborative album between London-based rapper Phonix and UK hip-hop producer Purpose. The album features a guest appearance from Coco and is fully produced by Purpose himself. It was released on August 24, 2014 over on the duo's Bandcamp site.

1) Neck Brace - The first song on the album features an instrumental centered around some softly plucked strings, the occasional vocal sample and falling keys that give the song darker vibe. I'm really feelin' the beat on here and Phonix sounds good enough over it as he kicks some braggadocios rhymes. Dope way to start off the album. - 3.5/5

2) The Lost Lyrics - The beat on this cut is a little better than the first for me, with a dreary chopped up piano sample layered over boom-bap drums. As far as the rhymes go, Phonix comes through and spits some more boastful bars while flowing nicely over the beat. I'm really feelin' the "golden era" vibe I'm getting from this song. Very nice. - 4.25/5

3) Change (featuring Coco) - This song finds Phonix kicking some personal and introspective rhymes about trying to change for the better over a mellow piano loop. The beat and rhymes are nice and the backing vocals from Coco during the chorus help to give the song an even more soulful feel. Dope shit. - 4/5

4) Casualty Of War - Purpose comes through with what is easily the hardest beat on the album so far, with a chopped up, Apollo Brown-esqe sample layered over stomping drums. The beat has a militant feel to it and the rhymes from Phonix keep with that theme as he spits some boastful battle raps in a more aggressive flow. - 3.5/5

5) Rhymin Spazm - In sharp contrast to the more in-your-face feel of the previous song, the beat on this joint is real smooth, with some jazzy horns and soaring strings over boom-bap drums. Lyrically the song is just as dope as the instrumental, with Phonix ripping the beat while spitting some more braggadocios rhymes. - 4/5

6) iWord - Phonix kicks some socially conscious rhymes teeming with references to political issues and conspiracy theories over another ill instrumental full of cinematic strings and dark keys. The beat is banging and the rhymes are a nice change from the usual boastful bars. - 4/5

7) Murder Mysteries - This song finds Purpose delivering a beat that almost feels like night itself, with some smoky horns and a sprinkle of piano keys over mellow drums. As far as the rhymes go, Phonix comes through and spits some rhymes about how much work he puts into his music, among other things. Nice. - 3.5/5

8) Zonin Out - Phonix raps about how music helps him "drift away to a place where my mind is at ease" over what is probably the most soulful instrumental on the project so far. As on mostly all of the tracks on here so far, the beat is real nice and Phonix bodies it. - 4/5
9) King Koopa - This song starts off with what sounds like an NES sample before the real beat kicks in and Phonix starts rhyming. The instrumental has whimsical feel to it to match the subject matter and Phonix's boastful rhymes are full of video game (and some movie) references. The beat and rhymes on here are good enough, but I'm not feelin' this track quite as much as all of the others. - 3/5

10) Hoola Doola - This cut finds Phonix kicking some vivid sex rhymes over another sort of quirky instrumental. As on the previous song, the beat and rhymes are far from terrible, but I just can't get into this track for some reason. - 2.75/5

11) Phonz (Western Stories Pt. 1) - Well this is a little different. Phonix spits a story about an outlaw in the "Old West" over a cinematic Purpose instrumental. It's rare to hear songs as creative as this nowadays and I'm feelin' the way the whole thing comes together. It's not my favorite track on here, but it's still an ill song. - 3.5/5

12) Beautiful Thing - Now this is dope. Phonix kicks some lighthearted rhymes about the beautiful things in life over a carefree vocal and piano loop. The beat is flames and I'm always a fan of rhymes that promote positivity. Very nice. - 4.5/5

13) F.U - The final song on the album finds Phonix addressing the haters over another soulful instrumental that has me nodding my head despite the somewhat minimal drums. As on the previous song, the beat is banging and Phonix rips it. Great way to close out the project - 4.25/5

I'm going to rate the album

3.75 / 5

because it's real good. I've never heard of Phonix or Purpose when they approached me about reviewing this album and I was immediately impressed with both the beats and rhymes on here. While many of Phonix's lyrics on the project are full of witty ways to boast about his skills on the mic, there are a number of songs that step away from that and explore other topics such as promoting positivity in life as well as crafting a story about the "Old West" (just to name a few). As for the production side of things, Purpose delivers beautifully on here and provides a wide variety of soundscapes for Phonix to do his thing over, from the soulful production of "Beautiful Thing" to the more dreary, boom-bap sounds of "The Lost Lyrics". While there are a few tracks I wasn't really feelin', the majority of the project was really good and definitely made me a fan of both of these guys. You can stream the album below and then head on over to their Bandcamp site and cop it if you like what you hear.


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