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SWIDT - Album Review: Stoneyhunga

06 Aug 2017 // A review by James Castady-Kristament

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SWIDT, which stands for "See what I did there?", broke onto the music scene with their independently produced single & video No More Parties In Onehunga in early 2016. Comprised of five members, producer SmokeyGotBeatz, SPYCC, INF, JAMAL and Boomer-Tha-GOD. SWIDT have just released their sophomore album Stoneyhunga.

The album does a great job at communicating the atmosphere of SWIDT’s Onehunga environment and the mischief they get up to, with sound bites and short skits. I remember thinking on my initial listen that the albums pace and feel reminded me of Snoop Dogg's breakthrough album Doggy Style.

The songs are packed full of textures sounds and lyrics that paint a detailed picture of “a day in a life of the boys from SWIDT” and to me this is what makes this album special and where the genius of SWIDT lies. It’s a fantastically executed concept album and the concept is to take the listener with them on their journey through a weekend in Stoneyhunga.

Some tracks are only a couple minutes long and this really keeps the pace of the album moving and no doubt perfectly caters to the short attention span of Millenials. No need to go track skipping on this album. You can listen to it from start to end and it keeps your interest and attention and no doubt it was designed that way. This is a project you get the most out of when you listen to it all from start to finish.

Stoneyhunga is a superbly produced album with many moments of pure genius. Stand out moments for me are the huge sounding bass heavy opening track Alfred and Church. The bass line just makes your ears prick up and take notice immediately and was the perfect choice for the beginning of the album. My other favorite is Ric Flair (Wooo!). Which is one of the catchiest trap joints I think I’ve ever heard. The kind of track you listen to on repeat and dance around the house to.

The album really is quality Hip Hop with a distinctly Auckland Polynesian flavour. It fluidly crosses style lines from Trap to boom bap, Ragga and electronica tinged beats. The rap style is basic but extremely effective. Adding to the vivid visual imagery with story telling. The vocalists sensitive to the complex emotions of these stories, using expressional vocal tone to drive these "musical images" home to the listener. All players working as a team for the full benefit of the song.

You wonder what makes SWIDT stand out from the sea of rappers and rap groups in New Zealand. From what I can hear it’s careful planning and thoughtfulness of what they wanted to achieve with this album and I can tell you they nailed it.

 

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