24 Jun 2021
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And$um - Album Review: Volume 1

26 Jun 2020 // A review by Ben Ruegg

And$um's album entitled Volume 1 is a trip through a whole range of ideas and concepts.

Armed with an idea, a sound and a vision, And$um takes ownership of his sound and runs with it. It's a mix between a wide range of different hip-hop genres mixed into one and this is where I find the album title Volume 1 works best. After having heard it a few times, this album feels very much like a journal of ideas, each one with its own story and sound. By mixing with so many different producers, each instrumental really does have its own sound, yet they all share some similarities.

Yet, amongst such a mixed bag of ideas, there truly are some stand out moments. The first comes in at track 3 with the song 2016. Here, it feels like a true diary entry about the struggles of being a musician and writer. "Music my escape but I hate it at the same time." Lyrics like this, it felt for a moment he was pouring his heart out about how he feels and I appreciate that sort of thing. I applaud that because it's important to be real and say what you feel. In music, that struggle is real for so many artists.

One thread that ties the album together is the true tastiness of the instrumentals, like on track 6 What You Mean Feat. Jenchi, a truly jazzy inspired beat that ebbs and flows perfectly. Some of the strongest delivery from And$um is heard here. His flow and sound are quite unique which allow it to stand out from the crowd. There are times where the pronunciation doesn't quite allow for the listener to understand what the word is, but this track doesn't have that. Instead, it is one that just gets you vibing in the right way.

Roll Up Feat. RyeChi has a fantastic beat and And$um flow feels like a nod to Del The Funky Homosapien's performance on the Gorillaz track, Clint Eastwood. Volume 1 really showcases And$um's love for the art of hip-hop by allowing so many different ideas and styles to come through here.

While the album has plenty of fantastic hip-hop moments that feel inspired by the concept of sampling ideas and creating beats out of them, a lot of the tracks feel underdeveloped to me. With a lot of tracks clocking in at around 2 minutes or less, I was waiting for so many to keep going. The ideas are all there and to me, I would love to hear more and more. That, of course, is just my take on it. Volume 1 does balance it out by having fully formed ideas like Smooth which is a true jazzy chord influenced banger. And that is the thing I can appreciate; Volume 1 feels more like a sampler and a lead up to an album. While it has a more mix-tape vibe to it, it is obvious that And$um will have more to record in the near future.

Overall, it is a great collection of songs that allow the listener to sit back and take in the mind of And$um, his thoughts and ideas. Accompanied by many different producers who all bring their own style of beats, they are still connected together with a vibe that works for his voice.

If you are interested in New Zealand hip-hop, make sure to give this one a spin.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About And$um

Hailing from the sleepy port town of Lyttelton, And$um is an explosive young hip-hop artist beginning to carve out a real identity.

2019 has been a big step forward for the Christchurch artist. With two full length projects released racking up over 100,000 streams and being included in a variety of Spotify editorial playlists, including the official New Music Friday.

And$um describes his music as "authentic", and seeks to talk about his personal experiences in a relatable way. With a tendency for up-tempo head-bobbing songs, And$um wants to have fun with his music.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for And$um

Releases

Late Nights
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Vol. 1
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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