Da Brakes is coming up strong his own way. Having won at various talent competitions he is now releasing his own LP. He remains unsigned and yet is determined to make things happen for himself. He is a suave individual and his work sides on the more commercial aspects of Hip Hop and entertains elements of R’n’B and more soulful productions as well.
Da Brakes’ vocal style is frequently fast paced, but softly spoken rapping. All of his work is mellow and un offensive. He definitely has an appeal that the ladies should feel and with his debut LP done and dusted he is set to see what the public make of it.
01. Airplay (Intro)
03. Make Noise!
04. Rap City Road ft. Duane Tarique
05. Can We Try ft. Chrysi
06. The Incident
07. The 5 Rules
11. Do Me Like That
12. Talking To The People
The LP is entitled Business As Usual and is twelve tracks deep. It opens with the intro entitled Airplay which consists of an alarm going off and then Da Brakes tuning few a few stations on the radio. Understand comes next with a much smoother sound with a sped up vocal sample from One Man by Tank. This is a bumping party track which is an introduction to Da Brakes and what he is about. What he is about is feel good vibes, girls, and ripping up verses. Da Brakes is sweet with it and as he states he is even working in his sleep and sets the standard for business like Richard Branson. He is full of it, but perhaps warrentley so.
Make Noise! is definitely on the club vibe and is real bouncy. Entirely electronically realised, this is well produced by James Chandler who produces about half the tracks with Da Brakes producing the remaining ones. Rap City Road opens with some militaristic snare drumming before some menacing keys turn the nature of the track well dark. Duane Tarique is also introduced on the microphone and both the MCs set about murdering the track. To be totally convincing the guys need to be more venomous and have a beat with more dirtyness in there. Regardless Da Brakes and Duane get their message across.
Da Brakes excels more at the smoother more charming type of raps and when he gets Chrysti in to sing along he can produce classic if somewhat generic r’n’b rap like Can We Try, which will no doubt pop off in the required circles. The Incident is a story rap of what happened to Da Brakes and his girl on a Monday afternoon. Simple production of a shuffling beat and bassline mixed in with various sound effects to punctuate the verse.
One of the stand out moments is The 5 Rules which is again quite up-tempo and makes good use of The 5 Rules by Freddie Jackson in a Kanyesque way for the production. As you might expect the track details the basics of Da Brakes’ chirpsing techniques and is quintessentially for me the blueprint of what Da Brakes is all about. On a similar tip is Pudding, a slushy track devoted to his girl.
Envious is let down by a beat which is mundane and has little pace or definition to it. Despite the effort put into the vocals this track isn’t on the same level as the others and seems flat. The penultimate track Do Me Like That is more bouncy and the production by JC utilised a great snare and hooks up some great acoustic guitars. Da Brakes drops a story of how he caught his girl cheating and story telling is high on Da Brakes’ list of abilities. In a time when too many artists don’t develop their verses beyond bragging and disjointed and seemingly random disses or bigups Da Brakes takes the time to pick a theme and develop it showing a great deal of songwriting ability. Even more impressive when so many of his tracks are on similar themes.
The LP rounds off with Talking To The People which being at a slower pace is a wind up track and is done as a live segment on a radio show. Quite personal, Da Brakes addresses all his doubters and expresses his hope for the future. Another top tune, it samples up Lionel Richie’s Sela for a classic vibe.