L Bean Midnight Train to Boston

L Bean has sent the game a shrewd warning with his debut album ‘Midnight Train to Boston’. It may
have taken the Massachusetts rapper a few additional months to get this out to the world, but it has
been very much worth the wait. The album art got me hooked first, because it’s the epic work of P-
Ro who has done some insane covers over the past 12 months, but I had also caught a couple of
beastly features from Bean on the Slant Heddshotts ‘High Life’ album from earlier this year. So, it
dropped, it got copped and the rest is history.

Midnight Train to Boston’ is a well-produced, authentic, treasure trove of dusty boom bap beats,
killer rhymes and a flow that is so smooth and genuine that it transports you right back into the
golden era. This kind of joint is one that you hit play on, and just vibe to it. No skips, just ride it
through and through and do it again and again. It’s Rakim meets ATCQ meets Common but all with a
unique edge that gives it the modern appeal. In short, this is one very special record.

You know how sometimes you can just ‘feel’ the music and energy? From first listen, to every spin
thereafter, I’m ‘feeling’ this record. Heart and soul has gone into this and you can tell by the album
structure, no wasted time or bars, nothing hasty. The investment from L Bean is evident from the
sample-free production (no samples, no loops and he does all the drums himself as Sweatshop
Beats!) right down to the killer lyrical content. This is a passion project.

Certified Lyricist’ is a near drum free joint that sets the tone of the album. It’s about bars, bars and
more bars, and you’re gonna get them. ‘I Gotta Get It’ is a funky, boom bap banger as Bean explains
the work ethic with a Naughty By Nature kind vibe on the hook and then ‘Bring It Back’ channels the
inner Rakim that talks to todays modern landscape of social media, soul-less bars and might just be
my favourite joint on the whole album complete with epic cuts….

The story-telling continues on ‘Welcome to Brockton’ which is a more deliberate joint to ensure the
importance of the bars aren’t lost but the piano is poignant and the horns on point. ‘Baby Don’t Kick
Me Out
’ is one of the most honest, raw and genuine tracks of the year. Exploring the inner-workings
of a dysfunctional relationship over a stripped back track with an uplifting hook – it has it all.

Masshole’ is a hypnotic joint, luring you in before delivering brutal bars while ‘Respect’ featuring
Hercules steps it up. Herc again rips it up delivering a killer first verse with his enigmatic flow and Bean
continues to hit the target on the boards and on the mic. The penultimate track is ‘Poppin’ and it’s a
grimefest with some dark production and street bars while ‘Just Me’ rounds out the album as we are
back to that boom bap, corner store stoop rap.

Bangers: Bring It Back, Just Me, I Gotta Get It, Poppin, Welcome to Brockton

Score: 9.5 / 10. At the risk of generating some mad hate, this album got me feeling like Illmatic the
90’s. The dusty, boom bap production that is crisp and continues to move the needle rather than just
sample or loop. The bars… there is a real focus on every word, ensuring a high quality lyrical offering
and delivered with such a fluidity that you KNOW Bean was born to do this. It’s probably been spun
10 times or more and I honestly can’t get enough. This is in contention for one of my favourite joints
of 2021. No cap.

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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!