Awon is a criminally slept on artist. Based in Newport News, Virginia, the forty year old hip-hop veteran from Brooklyn, New York founded his own record label called “Don’t Sleep Records,” with renowned producer Phoniks being one of the other members. While he may be an underground emcee, Awon’s credibility is unquestionable, having shared the stage with several hip-hop legends including Little Brother, Common, EPMD, MC Lyte, and Oddisee. For 2020, Awon decided to link up with Blunt Shelter Record’s own BluntOne, a certified producer out of Budapest, Hungary. BluntOne’s beats can be described as ‘soul-soothing,’ frequently incorporating soft melodies that quietly define his sound. To take the production to another level, BluntOne linked up with A N T I T H E S I S, aka the collective piano project duo consisting of Georgii Speakmann and Phil Lewis. Every single instrumental incorporates real elegant piano instrumentation, with a jazzy touch of looped lo-fi drums to set the tempo. The project with Awon is entitled “A N T I T H E S I S, Vol.1, Pt. 3,” with the previous two volumes being entirely beat albums.
Volume three offers the illustrious, mature lyricism of Awon, which fits exceptionally well with the sophisticated instrumentals. While the production itself is more than enough, BluntOne himself beautifully described Awon’s vocal impact: “AWON created amazing worlds within these beats through his vocals… I vibe with the content heavily. I also have two small kids and I also try to give my best every day to make life easier for my wife, because – even if beautiful – parenting is extremely challenging. AWON projected these feelings perfectly into musings, and so I hope to see this track reaching out to many fathers / soon to be fathers, so it helps to spread a healthy attitude…” Each and every track is brilliant, but my favorite song is undoubtedly “Falling.” A clever bar from the record that left me speechless is when Awon states: “Word to Kool G Rap, had a brother on the run, exile lost, feds give you five for the gun.” This bar is brilliant particularly because of Awon’s usage of the word ‘exile,’ which is a double entendre (whether intentional or not) in the word itself; referencing the producer Aleksander Manfredi, commonly known as Exile. Buckle up and prepare to have your head nodding all the way through by listening to the full release below!
Words by Brandon Washington