The word is that everybody’s sleeping on Philadelphia rapper/producer Has-Lo. Well, it’s time to wake up. Conversation B, Has-Lo’s follow up to his 2011 In Case I Don’t Make It, has a refreshingly old-school vibe – Dilla-esque in its production, one might even say.
Has-Lo wasn’t lacking for collaborators on this album. He had the help of many beat technicians—Exile, J-one, Oddisee, Kev Brown, Eric Lau, Apollo Brown and more—each contributing high production value to Has-Lo’s slick and thoughtful lyrics.
As records go, the first eight tracks were as strong as almost any album I can think of: just twenty-five minutes of golden hip-hop. Standouts like “Face In Disguise (Exile Mix), “Hindsight (Apollo Brown Mix),” and “One For Nana (ST/MiC Mix) highlighted the first half, but for my money, “In The Hands Of Fate (Kev Brown Mix)” was the coolest track on the album.
As good as the first half was, and it was good, the second half left me longing for the focus and soul of tracks one through seven. That’s not to say that eight to fourteen don’t have any merit. “Max UR (Has-Lo Mix),” and “Retro Chic (IMakeMadBeats Mix)” were solid, admirable cuts. Too many times, though, the second half of the album digressed into a-melodic droning.
Changing it up isn’t a bad thing and not every track on an album needs to sound the same. An eclectic and varied sound can add richness and texture to an album that would otherwise be deemed homogenous. My issue here is that most of the album is smooth and funky, with a few tracks that roundly abandon that aesthetic.
Rarely, though, has there been an album offering as much in fewer than fifty minutes. Fourteen solid tracks in under an hour? That’s what I call a good deal, a good listen, and a good album. Conversation B, in my opinion, is just the alarm clock we all need to wake anyone still slumbering on this rising talent.