The Antagonist is one busy busy man. In between writing rhymes, making beats, running his own company CaliFlorida Productions, he has also managed to release five mixtapes this year alone. His latest CD aptly titled International, comprises of 20 tracks, twelve of which he produced himself, all featuring the US rapper rhyming, singing and baring his soul.
So what is the motive behind the Antagonists hard work? Well as the title suggests his ultimate aim is to make it big on the scene not only in his native land but across the whole world and after listening to this mixtape that goal looks very achievable.
The mix itself is put together in collaboration with the UKs own DJ Ames a seasoned mixtape maker with over 250,000 downloads and a following on the internet of nearly half-a-million fans. DJ Ames also recently won Mixtape Host of the Year at the recent Southern Entertainment Awards making him the perfect choice for Antagonist to host this mix.
The CD opens with an epic intro Chuuuuch that fittingly features choral singing and hand claps as Antagonist gets the sermon started, sets up the mood and welcomes us into the mix.
The leisurely tempo continues over the next two tracks Benjamin Lipz and C’est La Vie both demonstrating perfectly Antagonists laid back southern influenced flow. The international theme is evident instantly not only in Antagonist lyrics, where he talks about being good with the stove like Gordon Ramsey, but also in the production which on the slow rolling banger Benjamin Lipz comes courtesy of French producer JackoJack.
The first of several potential chart hits follows with Caught Up a club track produced by new comers Stevie K and Courtez Banks aka The Hook. The Miami based duo who where discovered by Red Dread of Jim Jonsin‘s beatbakery.com, bring up a great beat with a catchy chorus which Antagonist smoothly flows over telling a tale of club love gone good.
Carrying on his globe trotting musical journey Lock on the Doors features UK rappers Real Life who bring a proper British vibe to the mix with some heavy lyrics and witty rhymes. Antagonist holds his own on this excellently produced track by Slayer, made all the better for the well used V for Vendetta sample at the start. In fact with all the screeching guitars, crashing drums and the rock style chorus you could be mistaken for thinking you where listening to the band Slayer and not a hip hop album.
The rock vibe continues on Rock Star, produced by Antagonist who also played the guitar on the track. As Cypress Hill and N.E.R.D have proven before the chart potential of rock / rap crossovers is huge something Antagonist is surely aware of as well.
Another UK artist, producer Nikki Nitro, takes the interlude 48 Days and gives it a distinctive UK sound with an interesting fresh almost grime sounding beat. The electro sound carries on to In The Streets which details Antagonists hustling days and then the tempo slows for My Life a reflective and emotional tale about Antagonists past trials and tribulations.
LoLo takes us back to the club cranking the pace up and getting you dancing. Maros simple but effective production shines through here and if anything the track should be a lot longer. Next up Cam Bodia takes production duties on I’m Right Herrrrrre with violin and cello stabs over a skipping beat Antagonist spits over with skill.
The choir returns on Crazy which is reminiscent of the intro in its production seeing Antagonists warped vocals detailing paranoia and other sinister musings. Thankfully we arent kept in the darkness too long and Movin Forward, an old school West coast banger produced by Stupid Genius is catchy as hell and another potential hit.
The Hook get their own interlude next using their time for a bit of shameless but funky self promotion before Dulce Como El Azucar unexpectedly bursts in. The song sees Antagonist singing a Spanish chorus not too dissimilar to Bailamos by Enrique Iglesias over a Euro dance backing. The track proves not only that he is a man of many talents but how eager he is to take the international market by adapting his musical style.
After such an upbeat track the last four tunes on the mix, all produced by Antagonist himself, take us back to the slower pace and explore the more deep emotional side of the rapper. You Can See It starts this off with a distinctly Cypress Hill sound before Love where Antagonist opens his heart and soul up for all to see. Detailing a tale of lost love the female chorus and slow piano work well. Alone follows stripping the sound down further with an echoing drum the only sound behind Antagonists rhymes adding to there poignance.
The last track Take Me Away brings the mix full circle back to the church with a slow beat and lyrics packed with religious imagery providing the perfect closer and again demonstrating Antagonist is unafraid to show us the intimate insightful side of his character.
Just to solidify the international theme running through the mix and also so we dont end on a down note Punani is included as a hidden bonus track. Here Antagonist takes us to the islands with a holiday vibe, sing-a-long chorus and plenty of guitars with a story about tropical girls and, well you can work out the rest!
With International Antagonist proves not only his versatility but also his potential as a mainstream successful rapper with the variety of musical styles showcased and the quality of some of the tracks in the mix.
With more mixtapes to follow this year Antagonist is one to watch. Lets hope all that hard work gets him the international recognition he deserves.
By: Alex Humphrey
- Facebook Group: CaliFlorida Productions & Antagonist
01. Chuuuuch (Intro) – Produced by: Antagonist
02. Benjamin Lipz – Produced by: JacoJack
03. C’est La Vie – Produced by: Antagonist
04. Caught Up – Produced by: The Hook
05. Lock on the Doors Ft. Real Life – Produced by: Slayer
06. Rock Star – Produced by: Antagonist
07. 48 Days (Interlude) – Produced by: Nikki Nitro
08. In The Streets – Produced by: Antagonist
09. My Life – Produced by: Antagonist
10. LoLo – Produced by: Maro
11. I’m Right Herrrrrre – Produced by: Cam Bodia
12. Crazy – Produced by: Antagonist
13. Movin Forward – Produced by: Stupid Genius
14. The Hook Interlude
15. Dulce Como El Azucar – Produced by: Antagonist
16. You Can See It – Produced by: Antagonist
17. Love – Produced by: Antagonist
18. Alone – Produced by: Antagonist
19. Take Me Away – Produced by: Antagonist
20. Punani (Outro) *Hidden Bonus Track – Produced by: Antagonist