So if you all have been reading my rap/hip-hop reviews, you know I set a pretty high bar for what I actually post about because I just generally don’t listen to the genre with everything that’s floating around on the radio. I enjoy songs that have a good rhythm, sharp lyricism, and smooth flow. “Properly” is a track that hits all of those marks. It’s a single off of Dave Zup‘s new EP, Vignettes, and is a collaboration with Joey Aich and Tripp Fontane.
All three hip-hop artists are based in Ohio – Dave in Cleveland and Joey and Tripp in Columbus. Dave is a rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer with a unique blend of hip-hop, funk, and pop. Along with his witty lyricism and blending of samples and live instrumentation in his productions, he delivers content that is both familiar and unique. Joey has built a platform of unbridled creativity through his blend of backpack and jazz rap. His goal is to help listeners understand more about his life and his story through his music. Tripp is a rapper, poet, and educator who uses his words to share his life lessons and inspire those around him.
Inspired by classic hip-hop posse cuts such as A Tribe Called Quest‘s “Scenario,” Dave aimed to craft a record that not only showcased emerging talent from his home state of Ohio but also displayed his growth as a record producer. “Properly” mixes live bass and electric guitar tracks with lush synth pads and a variety of percussion, all while highlighting the smooth vocals of some of Ohio’s best emcees.
The track opens with an attention-grabbing statement that sounds like it was recorded at an open-mic night and pays homage to the variety of influences that hip-hop draws from. It gives way to a polished first verse from Dave. His steady rhymes sweep over the funky bassline before a flawless transition into the second verse from Tripp. The groove continues to roll underneath Tripp’s velvety vocals. Joey pulls into the last verse with a quick-hitting tempo before an ending composition takes over with the hook repeated over cascading percussions. This song is the culmination of the skills and mastery of three very talented Ohio artists. The smoothing flowing vibes and the lyrical finesse displayed by all three create a track that is reminiscent of old-school hip-hop, just in the modern age.
You can listen to “Properly” and the entire Vignettes EP below!