Illpo drops ‘Severance Pack‘ and it’s a refreshing, interesting and engaging listen that pushes the envelope and sits outside the usual grimey, dark, street corner beats and bars that dominate the airwaves. Not that there is anything wrong with the tried and true formula of delivering dope bars, over boom bap production and mix in some bravado, flexing etc. but it makes projects like ‘Severance Pack‘ stand out due to the nature of having a different style and sound. This album gives us a lot more in the way of horns, strings, different drum layers and the flow that graces this album is envigorating while also displaying incredible penmanship and crafty command of language.

The album sits in the perfect listening pocket as well, it’s a 13 track release and clocks in at around 38 minutes, so long enough to sink your teeth (and ears) into, but there is no filling or annoying little lapses in energy. ‘Severance Pack‘ keeps you engaged from the moment you press play, until it’s time to spin it again. The North Carolina duo of Boones and Bond rock the mic with such feeling and presence, you hang on every word they say, so this is one of those top tier albums where the beats and bars are equally as impressive.

So, let’s get into the track by track breakdown of the Illpo release to let listeners know what they are in for when they add this album to their rotation. Things get started with the B Squared produced ‘Severance‘ which uses really smoky vocal layers to build some soul into the dusty joint, while Illpo give you a bit of insight into what’s to come. Next up ‘Keep On Watching‘ has a more triumphant vibe due to the production and horns from Gavin Maestro, and Illpo take centre stage with the strength of their words and enigmatic flow before ‘Feel Alone‘ which is an edgy, moodier vibe with a menacing score underpinning the in-your-face, real-talk bars Boones and Bond serve up.

Study Hall‘ is a more up-beat, dusty boom bap track that dances through the headphones and brings a positive vibe while Illpo get busy with their bars and deliver positivity and reality with authenticity. ‘Restin Youngless‘ flips that Y&R soap opera theme and provides listeners with a really smooth, easy-listening production which suits the street narrative flow that Illpo possess, then the Poe Mack produced ‘220 North‘ really gets the neck snapping with super crispy, drum themed production that punches the ear drums, and of course, Illpo know just what to do with a track like that – spit like you’re chewing tabacco.

Using the iconic Denzel Washington ‘fall forward’ speech as an intro, ‘Keep Goin‘ is a motivational, make moves theme song that could be the score for a superhero flick. Illpo bring the bars with bravado, and Deonna adds her vocal beauty to this one to really set it off. ‘Growth‘ is another tale of progress, forever moving forward and this has a really subtle soul / smoky vibe resonating through the crisp drums and crashing cymbals then the Van Gunz produced ‘Bobs Big Boy‘ brings a funky, upbeat, blaxploitation vibe that is super fun to listen to and Illpo know how to entertain the listener with their crafty command of language.

The brass rings out on ‘40 Acres and a Tesla‘ and this track slows the tempo to increase the impact of message as Boones and Bond drop some meaty, robust rhymes for your mental and ‘Not Healthy‘ follows on with another deliberately purposeful track, Showdown Beats creating a rugged audio canvas for Illpo to paint pictures upon. ‘FLWOTW‘ is so smooth, it could be a smokers anthem, it has that laid-back vibe that you can just ride out to, and then the album closes out with ‘Trafficker Tales‘ which is more of that traditional boom bap, soulful vocals, dusty layers and Illpo are right in their bag with their smooth hustler tales penetrating the punchy production.

Bangers: Study Hall, Feel Alone, Bobs Big Boy, Severance, Trafficker Tales.

Score: 9.5 / 10. What a fantastic album. The vibe of this is really fresh and sits in a nice lane where could appreciate the subtle nuances in production and flow, but you’re fully immersed in the music from beginning to end. The effortless flow of Boones and Bond almost makes the album feel ‘too easy’ but when you get to really listen deeply to the lyrics and the messages being woven between the wordplay, there is nothing ‘easy’ about this! Refreshing, engaging and plenty of replay value – make sure this one gets your eartention.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!

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