Whenever one of the core Hellfyre Club members is linked to a project, I have to listen to it. I’ve been a fan of these guys for some time now, especially Milo, who is one of my absolute favorite rappers of this generation. And solo or put together, the aptly labeled “art-rap” Hellfyre Club make some truly unique hip-hop. Lyrically, these guys are full of personality, from the philosophic and often hilarious Milo, the contemplative and low-key Open Mike Eagle, to the absurdly bonkers Busdriver. None of these MCs sound like anyone else, and they create some magic when put together here on this extremely brief 4 song EP.
If you’re familiar with these guys’ lyrical styles and production, this EP isn’t going to alter any pre-conceptions about them or anything. The lyrics are still quirky and sometimes bizarre, and the beats are still clunky and very off the beaten path as compared to traditional hip-hop production. The more Milo and Open Mike Eagle focused songs have appropriately low-key production to compliment their toned down rapping, and the more Busdriver headed songs feature louder, more in your face beats. So sound wise and aesthetically, “CATCHER OF THE FADE” (hilarious title) sticks to what makes the artists here so great.
The EP opens with hands down one of the best songs of the year, “1 of Mine”, and also features one of the best verses of the year from Open Mike Eagle, on which Eagle tells an extremely personal story about his secretary finding a suicidal message that was sent to him. Not exactly the most common hip-hop story, but Eagle delivers it perfectly, especially with the mind blowing final line that I won’t spoil for you. The low-key and understated beat backing this song is wonderful too, as the melancholic chords hanging in the background really make it beautiful, as does the gorgeously soothing hook provided by Nick Diamonds.
While the rest of the EP isn’t as emotionally powerful, it still maintains a high quality for the remaining three tracks, as the beats are on point, and as you’d expect. the verses are entertaining and often funny, like Open Mike Eagle’s opening line on “Dash”:
“I got a eagle head and chicken hands,
Kinda racial like Spic n Span.”
I also have to give a shout out to WilliamThedford’s verse on that song. The rhyme schemes are out of this world and kinda hearken back to an “Aquemini” or “Stankonia” era Big Boi. That’s always a good thing.
As brief as this EP is, it packs a punch, both emotionally, humorously, and of course, song wise. If you’re a fan of any one of these guys, obviously you should check it out, and if you haven’t heard of them, no better time than now to give them a shot. In terms of modern rap collectives, they’re one of the best.
Standout Tracks: “1 of Mine” “Dash”