Bar Exam: BRM – God’s Goon (One Listen Album Review)
A One Listen Album Review
BRM released his new album last week, God’s Goon, and I’m sharing my bar exam for it today. This is his first album released on his new label Rapture Ready Productions and it features some heavy hitters from the slowly burgeoning underground CHH scene.
The bar exam is a sharing of notes from my true first listen to a project. I typically provide in-depth thoughts and commentary on anything from flows, rhymes, beats, creative direction, track placement, and concepts.
1. Everything I Got – The instrumental begins with a music box vibe, and the beat comes in real nice. Uptempo. Good feel of emotion here. I think he had a hook on this one, but besides that it presents as an intro.
2. I’m Ready – This track begins with the token thunderstorm and light rain. It’s got a spooky bed under it. Brandon starts out from a tender spot and digs in as the verse progresses. The instrumental dies down for Ewell to hop on. “A new creature now I’m filled let the spirit lead.” I dig Ewell’s voice. There was one part of his flow that needed a retake. It sounded like he ran out of breath. JayKnight’s got the Paul Wall flow here. This track is actually good. It’s easy listening. The flows are affixed tightly to the beat, and the hook works with everything going on.
3. Rap Addict – As a fellow rap addict, I had this one earmarked. I’m feeling the flow somewhat, but part of the way through this first verse there’s a really high and tinny synth that’s laid over the top that isn’t too appealing to my ear. “God over everything committed to this all like a wedding ring.” The second verse is where he gets to actually talking about his addiction to rap. We’re alright. I’m just not feeling the beat.
4. Let The Fire – Xay Hill laces the Chorus here. While Brandon has a pretty good flow, he’s not very versatile. It’s not a bad thing. He knows who he is and doesn’t try to give you anything different. “Not here to tell you what you want/here to tell you like it is.” The song is a call for all CHH to band together and I’d say it’s at the bar.
5. Wind Em Up – Starts out with the sound of something being wound up. I like how BRM can end phrases without rhymes and make it still sound dope. It’s funny because there was a moment in the second verse where he slowed down and spaced out his flow, and I was getting ready to write about how he got lazy for a couple bars. Legitimately the next words out of his mouth were “we’re getting lazy.” Okay.. so he may have meant to do that. This is dope.
6. Goon – These songs are all going by quickly. “Goon I’m a goblin, here to gobble beats up” The spooky piano and the choral samples in the background are reminiscent of the Snowgoons or dare I say NF. The difference here is the guitar laid over the top, and the marching pace of the track never really picks up, stagnating to a point.
7. Pop Off – I dig this beat. “I got the mic again, choking it/wondering what kinda can of worms I’m opening” His flow is similar here to what it was on the other songs, but the music is dropping out and laying in as he pontificates. I’m not really into the hook here, but he made it work. Some of the metaphors used in this song were a bit simple, but sonically it was appealing just from a “I can bob my head to this” stand point.
8. Where to Go – The beat here is just a loop, with some drums that lay in every once in awhile. Not built as well as the last beat. Paired with the intensity of BRM’s flow, for me it doesn’t work well. It’s like he’s yelling here for no reason. There’s story telling from BRM and the featured artist, JE. In the times you don’t know where to go, you can still see God at work.
9. Anxious – Chorus at the top. The singing here is just okay, but the way these vocals are mixed have them very forward so it’s more aggressive than it should be. The featured artist at the end needs some mixing help as well.
“I’m out here feeling anxious/am I gonna make it/got a lot of thoughts that’s running through my mind/feel’s like they’re taking over all control I think I have/It ain’t me who got the key/Yo it is God who has it/Fighting emotion swinging at him/I want em out my mind/I want it clear so I can see straight/I need the peace that Jesus gives not on my knees we don’t wait”
BRM has a different writing style to where he doesn’t care if each line rhymes. Don’t get me wrong, it works and it’s very good. I just notice multiple times where content mattered more to him than a rhyme scheme.
10. In The Clouds – This is a cinematic beat once more. Choir ahhhs with an ascending melody. There’s intentionality to BRM’s performance here. He is doing better here at building from tenderness to digging in at key moments. It helps for him to have a growing instrumental around him. Great song.
11. Take A Good Look – I really think that any time you put together a project longer than ten tracks, you’ve gotta make sure there’s stuff there that will sustain your listener’s attention. This beat is okay with the horn blares, and the features here are dope. So far, stepping into this land past ten tracks has given Brandon some momentum.
12. They Don’t See Me – The feel here is a little more pop influenced than anything else on this record. The point of this track is to drive home the idea of the hard worker that BRM is. I was really into the first verse, but I lost energy at the Chorus and then the next verse wasn’t at the same level as verse one.
13. Ventin – We close out with another eerie music bed, and Brandon spitting some candid words over it. He relies a lot on percussive consonants as the drums build. The music crescendos and then peels back to just a piano for the end. Hey he actually carried on past ten tracks quite well. I liked ending the album on this note.
Alright for real I enjoyed myself listening to this album. BRM can really flow and he’s got good things to say. It’s just that sometimes all of this didn’t line up so well. I feel like some creative direction that would include conversations about how songs can work together to paint a picture, or how to manipulate a beat in order to continue to grab the listener’s attention more would benefit him moving forward. This isn’t just about track order, it’s about positioning emotion and vibe in such an order that enhances the listening experience throughout. I also felt like the album length was a bit shaggy. If you trim some of these songs out, you’re left with something even tighter that is less conducive to slumps. (A slump is a term I use to describe areas where the listener may lose focus) I’d like to see this all put together well because I really feel like BRM is dealing with some talent. This isn’t a bad start for him, but could use work.
Overall Rating – (slightly) Under The Bar
Listen to God’s Goon here: