Bittersweet Epiphanies is the debut album from west side newcomer, Joey Destino. The album is a lyrically visual masterpiece. This is a great progression from his first tape, Level 17, which released over a year ago. You can tell the kid has been working hard on his craft. The album tells of Joey’s struggles with family issues, girls problems, and attempting to make those around him proud. He also discusses his problems with drinking but uses a cool metaphoric reference of girl names. This is an example of Joey’s innovative raps and his own sound.
The album opens with Joey explaining himself a bit. He seems to be attempting to organize his thoughts and feelings, and more importantly separating the two. Overall, the battle is not an easy one and his flow sets the tone for the rest of the album. Something cool about the album is that he doesn’t have any rap features. He only featured singers Jenni Dinh and Crystal Yi. Jenni adds vocals on Hannah C. pt II, a song where Joey addresses his journey with drinking, with Hannah C. being a moniker for Hennessy. Crystal Yi adds her sweet, distinct vocals on the Xxyyxx produced, Stuck. Xxyyxx also produced She Used To Love M.E, an emo track from Joey where his rap versatility muscles are flexed a bit. Crystal Yi also added vocals on a personal favorite 429. The song explains why Joey Destino uses 429 in his songs often. He tells of the love and loss of his sister, who’s name was Destiny. A very sentimental track, beware that it may cause tears.
The last few tracks on the album are much lighter, production wise. Perhaps the coolest beat on the album comes from Chicago’s up and coming producer, Vela Seff. Dr!nk More is featured on the promotional trailer Joey released earlier this year, so I was anticipating the song and he didn’t disappoint. Backlash ’99 is perhaps the album’s standout song. It’s very bouncy and can easily be listened to on a day with nice weather, surrounded by the homies. The album ends with Joey’s homies expressing that they’re proud of Joey and his work. I believe that it was a statement that Joey has accomplished his goal of making those around him proud.
The album, overall, is a must hear for the first quarter of this year. You can find the album on Audiomack. You can also read what others are saying about it on the album’s tumblr blog, BittersweetST.tumblr.com. Check it out and let us know what you think.