That's what he said.
Shottie is an MC from Miami, FL that currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. I’ve been a fan of his work since his mixtape “Local Legend” circulated around my hometown in South Florida back in the early 2000’s. Since moving to Brooklyn, he’s formed a collaborative with 95 Labs that are currently putting out some of the freshest music videos, performances, documentaries, and albums right now. I’ve been checking out his growth and maturity in his music and was anticipating the release of “The Blackest Rose” for quite a while now.
“The Blackest Rose” will easily become a staple in independent hip-hop. The laid back, head nodding, jazzy samples with modern tempo 808’s and witty punch line flows layered under complex rhyme patterns make it one of the most creative projects released in a long time. I find it strange and difficult for such a variety of styles and techniques to all blend under the same conceptual aura throughout the whole album. From start to finish, Shottie and Tev have somehow managed to capture that dark, twisted, humor spiced with raw talent that make music enjoyable in all places and situations. It’s a certain type of chemistry that most producer & MC combo’s (including mine) aim to achieve. Let me go through some of my favorite joints.
“Black Roses” couldn’t have been a more perfect introduction. The beat is an intense, royal homecoming that features a slow piano loop that just magnifies the importance of what this project is. The lyrics match it well and from the first line you almost smile knowing that your high expectations will be met and the anticipation is well received. He breaks down the whole concept of of how life is like black roses with poetic metaphors that sum up the whole concept in one swift attack. My interpretation is that as good as life may be at times, the unexpected is always inevitable and there’s almost a certain beauty in dealing with it. Through various story-telling parables, Shottie makes it clear that we all need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Because, “Life is nothing but black roses and every new day you could get a bouquet…”
“Sayonara You” is my personal favorite song on the album and it shows why Shottie may be your favorite MC’s favorite MC. The hook and beat are smooth to cruise to and the wordplay is just out control. I can’t even drop a quotable because the whole verse is strung together beautifully and seamlessly overlapping that I wouldn’t dare separate one line from the next. The whole vibe makes me miss cruising down A1A on a Sunday afternoon. And Salazar genuinely compliments the track with a dope verse mixed with a bit of Miami authenticity and a dash of goonery.
“Cyanide Filet” has the best hook hands down. “Nobody ever taught me how to do shit…I had to screw shit, up before I knew shit, now I’m some new shit…” PREACH! Goes in hard. Kills the beat. Every time he drifts off from his verse into different ideas he always carefully transitions back to the hook to remind you that he’s on top of his craft. The whole track is full of genius rhyme schemes.
“Illegal Medicated” is my favorite beat on the whole album. If I had to jack one and remix it, this would definitely be right on the money. Shottie blesses it with a braggadocio, cipher vibe and the whole joint feels like a 70’s summer block party in NYC. Within a span of 3 tracks you feel like you’ve driven from Miami to Brooklyn. Amazing.
So not to draw this out any longer, those are my personal favorites. He ends the album excellent with an ill head banging track “Jump Ship” that reminds me of my times ciphering with his crew IDEE4 after Miami battles in the early 2000’s. The flow is obviously much more advanced and progressive than back then but the same idea of having fun and representing remains. And the outro “In The Presence” is a strange beat and rhyme combo that I didn’t feel at first but as it grew on me I realized it’s one of the most brilliant tracks on the album. Those tracks that take a while to understand usually end up being the best. Great work Shottie! For an MC like me there’s good and bad to projects like this. The bad is that as I get to release my own next week, it almost makes me second-guess myself. But the good is that I’m fully motivated and inspired to dig deeper for the next one. Let’s build, progress, and keep it moving!