Review – Thi’sl ‘Beautiful Monster’
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Thi’sl is back with his third album, Beautiful Monster. The St. Louis native illuminates on this 16 track album that sin appears to be good but in the end destroys. Thi’sl creates an album that automatically remains on replay. I find myself constantly enjoying the sonic presentation and lyrical delivery.
Thi’sl begins the album with an introspective introduction. The soulful Swoope produced Beautiful Music starts out with “Life can be a monster, that’s why everyday I wake up it’s the one I’m trying to conquer.” Thi’sl goes hard with 3 minutes of verses with no hook over the live instrumentation. The verses set the tone for the project. The introduction is followed by the Geeda produced Let It Knock featuring PRo. The production begins with repeating synth based siren sounds followed by snapping snares and a knocking bass. This song instantly adds a dose of adrenaline to the listening experience. Thi’sl adds that, “they tried to leave me dead out on the block. But I’m here and now I’m about to turn this thing up and let it knock.” PRo contributes his amped styled flow to the song. The fireworks on the JR produced First 48 sets the stage for an amazing look into a real life story. Thi’sl brings a stop and go flow mixed with a raspy and deep vocal tone. His flow fits well with the spooky sounds, army marching feet, stutter snares and hard kicks. The song is a reality check for those that feel that they are immune to the streets.
With assistance from Swoope and producer/feature Chicago’s Skrip, Thi’sl expands with a different flow for the title track, Beautiful Monster. The repeating kick, crunchy drums and grudge guitar creates a great moving instrumental. Thi’sl switches his style to a more radio friendly simplistic flow. Some may not like his flow on this but I particularly enjoyed the change. The lyrics are not too hard or deep therefore it’s repeatable in concert settings. Thi’sl expounds on how the trickery of sin is packaged beautifully but in the end brings death. Skrip’s hook is good and simple, while Swoope adds “she is a vision perfection, I swear she is. In the mirror is my reflection and there she is.” On Beautiful Mind, Pastor AD3 starts off the Geeda production with an addicting “la la la la la” underneath Christmas carol type bells leading into Thi’sl illustrating life situations. The track switches to a scary movie sound with hour clock bells, fast moving snares and low bass. While nothing is groundbreaking lyrically at this point, Thi’sl is consistent with his flow. I was gripped more by the content rather than the raps. Pastor AD3 adds smooth vocals throughout the verses and hook.
The album changes with frequent ClearSight producer Spec on the boards, Hope Road featuring Jai is another story, explaining why people should drive down hope road. The instrumental starts with a light kick and spacey snares. The piano play and synth bass built within the tracks are more enjoyable than the drums. Thi’sl raps consistently conveying a story but the highlight is Jai singing on the hook. At this point Thi’sl kicks things up a notch.
Thi’sl returns to the high energy flow with No Walls (Set It Off), with rhymes such as “when you see us in the city, I got my derty’s with me, we about my father’s business, we came up in this thang to set it off.” The beat produced by Geeda contains a single repetitive key over a snapping snare with reverb and drops of air sound effects. Alcam holds it down with his amped flow. Lyrically, both emcees remain constant showing that they will continue to be about God’s business. This song is followed by the Street Symphony produced, My Radio On Drugs. The synth heavy track is combined with Thi’sl adding “everybody think they trap or die, you ain’t from the hood boy you trapping lies.” The lead single is a good response song to what’s happening in mainstream rap. The mic control, energy and presence is strong. By this point I’m wondering what Thi’sl will speak on next. One of the many lies that’s out there is trust in Money Money Money. We’ve heard many songs preaching against money but I liked this song because of the different angles he used to reveal its destructive patterns. Over the D-Flow produced song, Thi’sl reminds the listener that money isn’t everything. Thi’sl, accompanied with the smooth vocals of Fitzgerald dedicates a song, Hey Momma. The Skrip produced song starts with Thi’sl claiming “you did the best that you could. single mother raising two boys in the hood.” This song diversifies Thi’sl presentation. Previous songs have addressed sin, trap music and money, while this offering gives an uplifted Tupac “Dear Mama” type of feel uplifting mothers.
As the album moves toward the end, Pettidee and Thi’sl reminds you that It’s Not About Me. I loved the collaboration with Petty on this Street Symphony track. Followed up by the Kadence produced I Signed Up To Die. With production from Skrip, Juice and Lee Jerkins, Thi’sl moves toward the end of the album with I’m So Gone featuring Kenneth Deshields, he talks about the pain in the streets. Thi’sl encourages everyone to Hold On with Fitzgerald contributing vocals again, concluding with I Need You feat. Michelle Bonilla.
Beautiful Monster is the best work by Thi’sl to date. The replay value of the Beautiful Monster is higher than his first two projects. The production was knocking while the lyrical content is more personal and consistent. The style of music presented in this album is an excellent alternative to mainstream trap music. Thi’sl engages this genre of rap extremely well. In fact, I believe its one of the best offerings of the year. I was hoping to hear a couple of fun songs but due to the concept of the project the theme was accurately articulated. Beautiful Monster in fact makes for beautiful music.
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Label: X-Hustler Music
1. Beautiful Music
2. Let It Knock feat. PRo
3. First 48
4. Beautiful Monster feat. Swoope & Skrip
5. Beautiful Mind feat. Pastor AD3
6. Hope Road feat. Jai
7. No Walls (Set It Off) feat. Alcam
8. My Radio On Drugs
9. Money Money Money
10. Hey Momma feat. Fitzgerald
11. It’s Not About Me feat. Pettidee
12. Signed Up To Die
13. I’m So Gone feat. Kenneth Deshields
14. Hold ON feat. Fitzgerald
15. I Need You feat. Michelle Bonnilla