Long Beach’s acclaimed emcee, Huey Briss and the well-rounded producer Niko Beats released Black Wax just over two years ago. Seven songs that established them both as long lasting forces in music. They brought a sound out that was missing, filling a void by their own unique means. New age, boom-bap relative beats with deep chords and exceptional ear-filling qualities. The raps are powerful, the style is untouchable, and the execution was timely. Two years later and I continue to go back to the project as if it dropped last week.
Opening with reference to the revolutionary and highly praised poet Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. For Huey “the finesse will not be televised”, he’s keeping his methods in the tuck. Establishing himself as staying ten toes, no selling out to talk to Vlad’s incriminating ass, definitely no features with Lil Xan. The Dilated People’s own, DJ Babu makes an appearance.
“Concealed” takes on a dark and eerily serious sound. Lyrics of staying afloat by any means, shedding demons off him. No corniness will be tolerated. The darkness shifts into a lighter tone, illuminating strings and a dense piano loop. The proclaimed Grace Park legend connects with another verified Long Beach emcee, Seafood Sam, who shows out for his verse.
Cutting out any of the BS that comes his way, less of that, more positivity. Niko has not missed a beat yet, this is one of my favorites. The loop has infinite depth, you get lost in its labyrinth of sound. Huey is bringing authenticity and doing instead of talking. Another powerful beat for “Bullets Don’t Need Guidance”, Niko is an expert at getting loopy cutting exquisite piano samples. He gets on the mic for this one proving his all-around musical stature. Huey excels again, a glorious beat switch in the last verse gives him a new court to control.
Shifting back into a more serious tone for “Too Close”, Briss never lets anybody get too close. No empathy, in the field with it that’s just how it has to go. Reminiscing on living too fast, expressing the wisdom he has now. The project closes with “Lady Blue”, another phenomenal piano sample is cut beautifully. Niko’s ear provided a welcoming atmosphere for Huey to go right to work each and every track. After all the seasons, the struggles, he still keeps his head high. Getting to it on his own.