An EP for Hip Hop fans who miss the golden days. 

Strizzy Strauss is an MC from Leicester who shares a strong Hip Hop mes­sage in his second pro­ject Trust the Pro­cess. From the very ori­gins of the genre there has always been lyr­ics which serve to empower the listen­er, and Strauss’ con­sist­ent flows, digest­ible rhymes and boom bap pro­duc­tion harken back to Hip Hop’s late 80’s. On this album Strauss com­monly ref­er­ences a desire to take his music to new heights as a career, which to me emphas­ises his bravery in turn­ing back the clocks on this pro­ject. Anoth­er cent­ral theme of Trust the Pro­cess is to be true to one­self, and thus this style of Hip Hop is clearly the means by which Strauss best feels cap­able of express­ing him­self; cer­tainly refresh­ing for fans like me who have had more than our fill of the indul­gences ubi­quit­ous to mod­ern Hip Hop. 

Cer­tainly one of the strong suits of this album is its pro­duc­tion. You ought to expect boom bap beats which roll nat­ur­ally and form an ideal can­vas for story-telling, with a jazzi­ness remin­is­cent of A Tribe called Quest. ‘Hierogly­fics’ shines as a prime example; a hot piano instru­ment­al which empowers Strauss to let his “soul speak” through his lyr­ics. The pro­duc­tion on this record is nev­er cluttered and feels integ­ral to its accom­plish­ments as a piece of music which expresses the iden­tity of its cre­at­or. ‘Gems’ is one of the album’s more inter­est­ing cuts to me. Horns on the instru­ment­al give it a Chance the Rap­per vibe, but Strauss makes the sparkly beat his own on this track where he’s giv­ing advice to a friend over the phone. This isn’t some shal­low agony aunt assist­ance, he’s try­ing to drop the audi­ence gems that he’s learnt him­self through­out his life, explor­ing the vir­tues of patience, wis­dom and trust.  

‘How ya mean’ is a bril­liant reflec­tion of 80’s Hip Hop, the lyr­ics aren’t super smooth and the rhymes aren’t quite fit­ting togeth­er suc­cinctly, but with his deliv­ery it reminds me of free­styled rap verses that were more com­mon in the past. If you’re someone who is focused on the value of each indi­vidu­al lyr­ic then this track won’t sit with you well, but to me this is an example of a piece of art that is more than the sum of its parts. It’s Strizzy’s imper­fec­tions that become his per­fec­tions when the lyr­ics feel like he is mak­ing them up on the spot, and thus feel even more like a pro­duc­tion of his true emo­tion rather than a cal­cu­lated attempt to make a track that people will find easy to listen to. This is the case for a num­ber of tracks on Trust the Pro­cess

Though per­haps this is why I was dis­ap­poin­ted by the sung chor­us’ in the clos­ing tracks ‘Driv­en’ and ‘Fol­low Your Dreams’. The latter’s gos­pel sim­pli­city might con­nect with you, but for me it didn’t spark excite­ment when the hook made me feel like I had heard the same type of vaguely motiv­a­tion­al song 1000 times before. ‘Driv­en’ is a great track minus its chor­us. An awe­some vocal sample in the pro­duc­tion sets a good mood for Strauss to talk about how his part­ner has driv­en him to become a bet­ter per­son, remin­is­cing on the jour­ney that they have shared. There’s a great lyr­ic here when Strauss com­ments that he “loves her more than any trap­per says he loves his cash”; it’s a state­ment that is indic­at­ive of this record’s mes­sage that hap­pi­ness is to be found through the love of oth­ers as opposed to the pur­suit of wealth. I don’t have an issue with a sung chor­us for this song, but it’s vocals feel untrue to what I took from the track. The lyr­ics, the melody and the mix all feel too edited to me, serving to take away from the hon­esty that Strauss gets across in his verses. 

Trust the Pro­cess is an album that cer­tainly ought not to be missed for Hip Hop fans look­ing for an artist who speaks with hon­esty and truth. I found that this record is uplift­ing through the strength which Straus shows in his vul­ner­ab­il­ity, talk­ing with can­did emo­tion about how his goals have developed now that he has a fam­ily. This is a really mature Hip Hop pro­ject that’s greatest suc­cess is its embrace of imper­fec­tion, har­ness­ing the free­style atti­tude of the 80’s that seems to have gone miss­ing over time. 

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Joel L‑S is an MC who cares about music which rep­res­ents hon­esty and per­son­al­ity.

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Joel L-S is an MC who cares about music which represents honesty and personality.