Artist: Speak & Dream Panther
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Genre: Hip Hop
Length: 22 mins
Released by: Sheran Stone Barnett
I first heard of Speak via an interview on Sway in the Morning and at the end of that interview my mans laid down a fire freestyle (starts 4:35). Ever since then I’ve been a fan and following him. He’s had multiple projects across the years–Sex Quest 3, Fall Time Radness, just to name a few. He’s also ghostwritten for various rappers/artists throughout the years.
Onto the album, Speakpanther is a hazy look into biculturalism through a Mexican-American perspective. I think it’s the most vulnerable Speak has been on a project touching on various topics such as his difficulties of finding love, the rising violence in American society and how our reactions on social media make us numb to it all, the harshness of crossing the border, balancing Latino and American culture etc, etc. It’s not without it’s moments of braggadocio which there is plenty on this project–women, sex, his come up in the rap game, being high on coke/weed/speedballs. He’s a charismatic and varied rapper oozing with wit, playfulness, pop culture references and intensity all at once.
The production from Dream Panther is psychedelic in texture, using synths and guitars to carry that energy throughout various songs like opener “Howdyyy”, “Viva La Lagunilla”, among others. This is juxtaposed by the harder, more experimental songs like “Not From Here”, “Dollar Beer, Free Shots”, and “Trap 3D”. It’s a difficult balance to maintain but it’s solid in its execution.
If there’s one gripe I have about the album is the mix of Speak’s vocals—at times his voice is overpowered by the beats which makes the listening experience a tad harder trying to figure out what Speak is saying, but overall the album is definitely a must-buy if you’re a rap fan and you wanna hear BARZ. On a personal note, the album is made more relatable to me because as a hip hop fan/listener I don’t really hear much of the Latin-American experience, so it was refreshing to see this project touch on that.
Stand out tracks include: “Not From Here (feat. Liphemra & Poshgod)”, “Dollar Beer, Free Shots”, “Trap 3D”.