Most people have the ‘Never‘ freestyle to thank for uncovering the enigmatic four man squad known as Coast Contra which has been given MAD love all across the social platforms and for very good reason – these cats can SPIT. We won’t dub them the ‘four horsemen’ but there is certainly that genetic bloodline with Ras & Taj Austin (sons of the legendary West Coast lyricist and HRSMN frontman Ras Kass), but it’s the chemistry not just between the brothers, but with fellow rhymers RioLoz and Eric Jamal that make Coast Contra a really entertaining and engaging listen. Side note: they’ve been opening for Cordae and the shows have been OFF THE HOOK with energy… they’ve got some real buzz right now!
‘Apt. 505‘ is the debut album from Coast Contra and having formed 6+ years ago, that cohesiveness comes to fruition in the form of a 17 track album, laden with some dope features from Travis Walker, BJ the Chicago Kid and others. The production duties are handled by multiple producers who all grace the release with modern soundscapes with a varied sound weaving its way throughout the album. If you’re expecting straight boom bap or old school beats, you’ll be disappointed, but if your palate can accommodate a more modern vibe, then you’re going to experience a pretty dope album.
If the ‘Never‘ freestyle showcased the bars these boys can deliver, then Apt. 505 shows the breadth of subject matter and the many strings to the quartets bow. It’s a super smooth ride from the get go, as each emcee graces the mic with their own unique presence but all four blend like key ingredients to a killer recipe. Even better is the limited use of features, the length of the album (when you have a crew of four emcees, I’m expecting 45+ minutes of dope hip hop) and of course the seamless synergy that Coast Contra have cultivated.
This is musical gumbo as Coast Contra dabble in a little bit of everything. There are clear old school influences and samples, some really jazzy / soul / funky vibes throughout, and of course for the modern audience there are some semi-trap style joints. If chemistry, vibrancy and lyrical prowess are the strengths, then trying to hit all lanes is the weakness. You can live with it, but you do tend to gravitate to the tracks that were more ‘in your lane’ as a listener. These guys are going to be quite popular if they can continue putting in the work that got them here.
Bangers: Pimping Benjamin, Queen & Slim, 505, Get The Worm.
Score: 8 / 10. It’s a really solid debut album and their skills are easily identifiable. The album could have done with some polishing or even (dare I say) condensing, to really pack the punch that the freestyles and live shows have, but in any case, it’s a really good album. The beauty really is in the chemistry and lyrical prowess of the quartet, and the way they vibe on the mic is authentic and somewhat unique. The modern soundscape is a good blend of trying to deliver that ‘boom bap’ style hip hop, but hit the ‘trap’ market without pushing the envelope into mainstream, mumble or hip pop.