“It’s the incredible, your girl will say I’m edible–and to these rap cats I’m something that theoretical.” –Roy O.
Roy O. (pronounced ‘Roy-ol’) is a Texas-based indie hip-hop artist by way of Nigeria. He dropped his first mixtape back in 2011 and hasn’t stopped to catch his breath since; he’s since released “The Royolty”, a highly acclaimed mixtape, and his first exclusive album “HUE”, which boasts an [impressive] feature from Houston’s own Scarface, from the legendary Geto Boys. His latest project, “SCRATCH,” is cover mixtape that touches on the essence of hip hop. “It [the mixtape] embodies many meanings,” he explains on his SoundCloud, “at its deepest, Scratch means the freedom from the need to be perfect, freedom from the need to have it all figured out. We all want to get somewhere in life and a lot of times we overlook the beauty of the journey there. Life is a journey, a creative process of trial and error, and there is beauty in accepting that.”
At eight songs–plus an intro– the project is a great mix of vibes. From the bar for bar punchy wordplay on “Far From Falling,” a reworked version of “Dead Wrong,” to his versions of Ice Cube’s “Check Yourself” and Kanye’s “30 Hours” from his critically hailed Pablo album. What’s dope is that he makes each beat his own, rather that allow the original songs to dictate his flow and direction. He also chose a well-curated batch of beats, rather than a more contemporary/predictable palet with records like “Panda” or “Ooohhh.” The organic nature of this collection of songs also shines through–this is likely because nothing was written. “This mixtape was constructed over many miles on Houston freeways and in Houston traffic, freestyling to instrumentals,” he’s quick to point out, “It includes outtakes from recording sessions, off-key singing, lyrically and a humble acceptance that makes it refreshing.”
With a hint of soul that is almost reminiscent of Chance The Rapper mashed with Anderson Paak, Roy O. delivers a healthy appetizer to whatever it is he has up his sleeve for the new year. For now, enjoy the stacks of bars he’s served up on fine china. Rewind worthy, most definitely.