Review: ItsYaBoiH2, Bigger Fish
ItsYaBoiH2, Bigger Fish
The 26-year old rapper Anthony Brown may perform under the name “ItsYaBoiH2” but as a kid at heart, he’s proudly represented his adoration for music since his youth. After growing up in Tennessee, ItsYaBoiH2 constantly found himself listening to the likes of Tupac, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys. A rapid piling occurred in which Brown transitioned from simply listening to rap music to connecting with the music to writing lyrics of his own. Now, after embarking on an impressive journey that has featured multiple mix tapes and other releases, ItsYaBoiH2 continues to successfully deliver with his latest release, Bigger Fish.
While his music personifies various influences, there’s an evident commonness throughout his compositions: rawness. As Bigger Fish begins with “Rickety Boat” ItsYaBoiH2 presents a solid first impression. Immediately beginning with a hypnotic beat, “Rickety Beat” is a strong start. There’s a definite groove to the song that makes for a smooth entrance the vocals. ItsYaBoiH2 delivers lines consistently with such an admirably smooth flow. In some ways, “Rickety Boat” is the ideal song for the album to begin with, portraying and presenting everything ItsYaBoiH2 is inclined to demonstrate musically. With the addition of TopGun as a featured rapper, “Rickety Beat” reveals a sense of energy that’s fully enjoyable and danceable. Following the strong start is the three minute track “Clap for ‘Em.” Rather than maintaining the previous faster tempo, “Clap for ‘Em” doesn’t feature as loud instrumentation, but rather softens the beat and is of a slower tempo. Synth lines echo louder over the supportive backing beat another beat which is highly accessible, but showcases the lines ItsYaBoiH2 reveals so impeccably. The lyrics are certainly not to be heard without parents’ attention, but “Clap for ‘Em” fuels the hip hop vibes that ItsYaBoiH2 strives to achieve. However, what makes the composition stand out isn’t necessarily the lyrics, but the driving beat underneath the powerful synthesizer. Considering the song has to follow such a strong beginning, “Clap for ‘Em” does the release justice.
Marking the third track on Bigger Fish is the title track. Sounding similar to Ariana Grande’s current single “The Way,” questions may arise concerning the composition’s originality. Both songs feature such similar beats; however, ItsYaBoiH2 opts to rap over the beat instead of Grande’s vocal performance. It may appear to be a similar track, but aside from minuscule hints in the song’s beat, “Bigger Fish” takes on al life of its own. The featured beat results in a perfectly fitted, but repetitive drum sequence. Though the beat is unique and provides the ideal support system, the continuing beat sometimes becomes of an annoyance due its repetition. More impressive is ItsYaBoiH2’s vocal delivery. There seems to be an effortless attack whenever ItsYaBoiH2 holds onto the microphone, an evident ease and confidence conveyed through his voice.
While the easiest route for ItsYaBoiH2 to take would include maintaining strong, fast-paced beats with smooth delivery, the rapper opts to differentiate himself from amongst the pact. Certain songs are relied on to voice that uniqueness and “Where I Wanna Be” tops the list. The longest song on the album, “Where I Wanna Be” isn’t anything like compositions heard prior. Embracing differentiation, “Where I Wanna Be” trades synthesizers for acoustic guitars and exchanges fast beats for a slower pace. In an emotionally-driven track, “Where I Wanna Be” is when ItsYaBoiH2 has his moment: his moment to depart from the rest; his moment that changes everything. The softer instrumentation constructs an impeccable environment for ItsYaBoiH2 to provide listeners with a strong performance. A pattern for the release, the delivery remains fresh and smooth, as ItsYaBoiH2 pours his heart out, “After I got out of school I was so nervous, just questioning my purpose.” He isn’t just another rapper to discuss partying, girls, and money – but represents the minority that immerse themselves in the music and the passion and the meaning behind the music, not for monetary or popularity purposes. A hopeful message conveying sincere message of dreams, ItsYaBoiH2 exclaims, “I just want to be the man. Looking at over a million fans hiding in the stands, and I’m reaching out to ‘em to the point that they can even grab my hand: that’s where I want to be.” With genuine expressions, music doesn’t appear as a game for the rapper.
Concluding the album is the five minute composition “Sink.” Again, ItsYaBoiH2 delivers with something richly different, providing different perspectives and musical representations for listeners. “Sink” strays away from the usage of too powerful beats or instrumentation, allowing for ItsYaBoiH2 to recall the earlier days, when he focused solely on acapella deliveries. Instrumentation remains limited, aside from the soft, supportive beat that takes its time accompanying the vocals and the light piano melody. The performance on all ends is quite captivating and aurally pleasing. “Sink” strips down the project’s usage of heavy instrumentation on previous songs, making for a beautiful, passionate composition. It’s refreshing to hear music that’s limited in instrumentation, not allowing for ItsYaBoiH2 to fall victim to overproduction. There’s an audible rawness that no amount of technology can achieve.
Considering that ItsYaBoiH2 does have more work to do, Bigger Fish shows development and improvement. Bigger Fish creates a reflective piece for the rapper to look back on, demonstrating his growth, hopeful that he’ll continue to apply his knowledge. Most importantly, Bigger Fish reminds listeners that hip hop isn’t only about parties, girls, or money. The release serves as a reminder that thought-provoking hip hop exists, as ItsYaBoiH2 lives to instill that mentality.
Review By: Alexa Spieler
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)