The beauty in writing about a project months after it drops is the test of time it must go through. I’m glad to report that since its release on February 17th, “Sinful Temptations” passes my heat check with flying colors. The 21-minute long hip-hop project from Philly-based rapper John michel and producer Bedhead Bobby is just as good as it was the day I first heard it. Not only does the project have staying power, it presents a musical maturity not seen in many debut projects these days.
The intro, “Blessings”, immediately sets the pace for the next 8 tracks. Live drums, gospel choirs, and jazz trumpet opens the doors to the all too nostalgic sounds that remind us of an early Kanye West production. This sound is revisited throughout the entire project; fans of the magic Kanye and Chance the Rapper had created in the mid-2010’s will scratch an itch that has been left unattended for years. As the project goes on, we hear John Michel’s lyrics arrive with both purpose and poise, speaking on perspectives of dreams, race, and freedom. His low register vocals are reminiscent of MIKE and redveil, with the raspy edge of Flatbush Zombies.
“Head in The Clouds” and “Foundation” (featuring a verse from buzzing rapper Malik Elijah) display the uplifting soul chop style that sits at the nucleus of this project. The sound is large, lush, and brings us into the sonics of a much larger space than just the underground. Most impressive to me is Bobby’s ability to create hooks and melody throughout the entirety of the record. It’s one thing to present skills behind a drum pad, it’s another to do so while maintaining storytelling throughout a song.
I say all of this to say, “Sinful Temptations” reminded me of why Hip-hop continues to reign supreme in culture, and as the classic sound of the genre inevitably gets passed onto younger generations, these two certainly are carrying the torch with prowess. Be sure to check out “Sinful Temptations” below and tip your cap to these two up-and-comers pushing things forward in an impactful and thoughtful way!