Broken Testimony: “Holding On To Nothing” – a wall of sonic excellence

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BEEA: “Ride Or Die” – Classic soul tropes are juxtaposed with modern pop touches

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4 Ones: “Home Alone” – drooling with an overwrought sexual appetite

Unlike other cities, Detroit’s hip-hop community ignores homogeneity. In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, J Dilla molded the Jazz and Soul flavored soundscapes of Erykah Badu, Common, and the Roots through his idiosyncratic soul samples and iconic bass lines. Following on his heels was Eminem, one of the most popular emcees of all time, repping his neighborhood of 8 Mile in the heart of Detroit whilst serving up plate after plate of hip-hop hilarity, violence and insanity all in equal measure.Then the more than eclectic Danny Brown was left to pick up the mantle. But it doesn’t stop there Detroit’s underground keeps throwing diverse rap characters out at us. The latest in line is 21 year old 4 Ones who has just dropped the single “Home Alone”.

Through the song’s sonic influences, 4 Ones seems like he is both deeply in the rap world and constantly looking outside of it. This leads to one of 4 Ones’ real strengths, his ear for a catchy off-kilter beat. And of course his lyrical flow is just as idiosyncratic as the beat itself.

As a single, “Home Alone” is both as explicitly outrageous as 4 Ones character, but also as menacing and impenetrable as his city is. The track remains interesting and cohesive because 4 Ones not only maintains the same atmosphere and tone throughout but is also complimented with sexually over the top lyricism and distinct flows that accentuate everything he’s saying.

Compared to the many trap records these days that try to be alternative or indie sounding but end up sounding pretty uniform and boring, “Home Alone” brisk insularity,  going just over the four-minute mark — feels not only genuinely different, but pretty eclectic too, and eclectic-ness isn’t something we get much of, even in experimental hip-hop.

4 Ones wants to party hard and clown around and not give a fuck about the consequences. The beat is at a peak there, but it’s the explicit raps on the single that you consistently sink your ears into: “Let me clear my throat. Put this dick down your throat, pussy wet I barely float. I hold my nose. I love a bad bitch that keep me on my toes,” or “Suck my dick and don’t forget the balls.”

Right from the start of this track, you’ll know that 4 Ones is going to be taking you into some really cavernous and disturbed sonic territory: synth noises that sound like a video game soundtrack, droopy slides of bass that thump and roll and then louder digital bleeps, while the drums are dominated by snares and hi-hats.

4 Ones’ voice is drooling with an overwrought sexual appetite, as he asks the question: “Does she hate being home alone?”  The propulsion of the track seems designed to irrevocably drag the listener into 4 Ones contemplative, highly-sexed psyche.

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