OC from NC & D.R.U.G.S. Beats: Crown Royal
[Self-released; Sep. 7]
Good rap music can be like soul food: made with hearty ingredients, not especially complicated in its preparation, but not easy to imitate. Without love and passion, it’ll never taste like your Auntie’s Sunday spread.
There’s just something magical that happens when bona fide pros with decades of tradition and love sweat it out in the kitchen. If you’re looking for a rap album that will warm your soul and feed your hunger for wholesome bars and beats, Crown Royal—by OC from NC and D.R.U.G.S. Beats—is your Sunday spread.
Based in Burlington, OC is a veteran in independent rap circles. Known for his effortless delivery of razor-sharp bars, he’s a man who doesn’t compromise his standards as an MC and makes the kind of music that he loves no matter what’s trending. On Crown Royal, he teamed up with Fayetteville’s D.R.U.G.S. Beats, one of the greatest sample-based producers to ever tap an MPC, who previously contributed to Dr. Dre’s Grammy-nominated album, Compton.
This union is something that North Carolina hip-hop heads have been dreaming about for years, and the duo does not disappoint. The two artists have amazing synergy. D.R.U.G.S.’s production, though exclusively boom-bap, doesn’t sound precedented. He has a talent for finding pockets within samples that glide together with his drum programming, even easing back on the drums sometimes to let a riff loop out for OC to spit on.
You hear this in “Anton Jackson,” where D.R.U.G.S. lays out some subtle drums for OC’s first verse, then takes them out completely to let a vocal sample of a quartet loop as OC flows like molasses with a drawly pitched-down effect. It’s like Memphis bumped into Brooklyn somewhere on I-40 in North Carolina.
Another high point is “Jameson,” which features a haunting, gritty sample of what sounds like a horror movie score, accompanied by heavily reverbed drums and a hyped vocal sample from Super Beagle. OC gets disrespectful on this one, with growling raps like, “‘Cause where I’m from you gotta up it, I ain’t even tough, it’s just here niggas ain’t really bluffin’.”
Crown Royal is a testament to the fact that impeccable raps and beats will always be relevant in hip-hop. This project put two veterans who love their craft in the same room, and the result is an album that sits as one of the best hip-hop releases of 2020—and that’s not just by local standards.
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This album is so original. It’s real hip hop. Worth a listen and you will no be disappointed! You’re welcome!
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