Complete with the "hustle & flow" theme that runs through the soul of any indie artist fighting their way to the top, Flight School Preps successfully lace catchy beats with convex lyricism and a starting five roster of features in their latest release, BlackMarketED. Right out of the gate, with the placement of the infamous Badu line, "I'm an artist, and I'm sensitive about my sh*t," the Preps align our mental, and remind us why they're here in the first place...for the love of hip hop. "Let Me In" and "Dollar On A Dream" proclaim the common mantra of working hard, rhyming and deserving out of the now to progressing into the next phase of the game. The album opens on a more serene note, but within a few tracks, hit us hard with the projects' first number including a feature, "Workin'" with Lil Champ Fway. A "bump this sh*t loud in the whip" baseline accompanies the catchy flows, boastful bravado, and does a great job of highlighting the positives of everyone involved, including the main producer of the project, BlackMarket. The next few tracks bring us down to a more human, emotional level, including the number, "New Sh*t," ft. Phresh James. A not-so-typical ode to an old flame, the lyrics suggest that the old lover should find a better hobby than claiming that, because her old flame has moved on, that he's on some "new sh*t." Trading in the old that wasn't working for something new that provides much more satisfaction is the moral to this story. And with a dope break down at the end, this track stands out on the album.
Continuing down the path of befitting features, "Society Scale" ft. J Nics and "Day 1" ft. Steed, round out this project with thought provoking lyricism, letting the bars do most of the talking on the first, and the beat equally speaking up on the latter. In the J Nics assisted track, the lyrics "...wonder why I need a deal for, and why niggas kills for? Generation after generation, feelin' like they got nothing to live for...then they kill more..." remind us of the "society scale" so many young men weigh their lives against, leading them down a path that takes them away from their highest potential. "Even though I pray everyday, they tellin' me go to hell, no matter how much I study, I fail [...] they say that, I was supposed to be dead or in jail, mama gotta stack money for my body or bail, they judging off of society scale..." Suggesting that although society may have placed a box around the young urban males experience, there can be so much more achieved with the realization that the limitations were placed there by others, and not ourselves. Definitely one of the best tracks on the project.
Lastly, "Dat Funk" gets us into the typical Miami, strip-club, substance-induced, drunken party mode that anyone with a lighter side can enjoy. The slow groove hits hard in sober moments, and would definitely heighten the mood during a night that included the aforementioned luxuries. Whip this out when you want to use the "I was drunk" excuse for your actions the next day, or if you happen to wind up at a house party full of red cups, gorgeous, pre-gamed women, and a rented, collapsible stripper pole in the corner. The mood will be immediately set. Besides, what's "flight-schoolin'," without some funk?
BlackMarket, along with the projects' few other producers, compliment the Preps talents so well, it makes us long for the days when the artist-producer team was more of the norm in the industry, and hope that, with more projects this seamless, the industry can get back to that seemingly elusive partnership. It definitely makes BlackMarketED a solid effort from this indie crew, and one of the better projects out of South Florida this year thus far.
BlackMarketED can be streamed/downloaded on Audiomack.