Rapper Black Pablo has become an increasingly versatile spitter, one who can navigate lush, lively soundscapes, as well as he can navigate futuristic electronic grooves or hard hitting 808 bumps. On his fifteen-song project, “Risky Business”, he picks two handfuls of beats that blurs the lines between those elements – with the warmth of one and the gloss of the other, and it should be no surprise that he handles it all like a pro.
The only guests on the album is M.Nyce and Peso Smoove, and they make worthy contributions respectively to “I’m Gone” and “Swear 2 God”, but mostly Black Pablo is the star of his own show and he handles the spotlight well. The more you listen to him rap, the more he sounds totally in his comfort zone, and this project is a reminder that comfort zone is vast.
One of the greatest qualities of Black Pablo is his ability to be focuses, and effectively communicate with listeners, parts of himself and his truths. His latest release, “Risky Business” comes off as a revelation of a reaffirmed Black Pablo, in which music fans can hear him standing confidently in a space of understanding and purpose.
Right from the bass bounce of the opening track “For Real”, Black Pablo showcases the autonomy to play with divergent ideas which gives him the power to create free-flowing imagery that toys with the listener’s imagination while still maintaining his style of hard-hitting hip-hop.
The sweeping sound of “Panaramic” and “Cartier Frames” lands on listeners like a weighted blanket. Although the rapper’s sound can soothe and relax, it’s delivered forcefully, and all but envelops you in its succession of raw imagery and straight-talk messaging.
Through mellifluous harmonizing and monotone soliloquies, “I’m Gone” ft. M.Nyce invokes a dusky atmosphere and fits well into the vibe the song seems to be going for, while on “Wanted”, Black Pablo raps with levelheaded clarity and an unruffled flow. The rapper’s wordplay is as effortless as it is abrasive and bold on “Big Pimp”.
Black Pablo’s stories, like those on “Playing Wit Keys” and “Netflix N Chill” draw you in because they have their own logic, as the scenes flow into each other without becoming too inflated. The skittering hi-hats and melody on “Martha Stewart” pushes each lyric to the forefront.
Moving forward, on “Taking Risks”, Black Pablo comes across as if he’s inviting you into a deep conversation. Moreover you can’t passively listen to this type of song, as it requires the attentiveness that makes your listening experience an interaction. Black Pablo’s best tunes arrive gilded and shine to a degree that you cannot ignore them.
This is particularly true of “Da Store” and “Tax Season” that bounces with head-nodding groove. The resplendent, “Ignorant” bolsters the emcee’s ascendancy and together with “Swear 2 God” ft. Peso Smoove, makes the case for his powerful appeal. Though Black Pablo is a rapper with big bars and big ideas, when he half-croons like he does on “No Time”, he will hold you mesmerized just the same.
“Risky Business” overall is an impressive body of work. Black Pablo, through slick wordplay and sage-like aura, delivers a slice of vibrant rap that’s earnest and approachable. With this album release, Black Pablo demonstrates that his laser sharp vision and colorful lyrics benefit from the large canvas of a full-length record.
The Black Pablo Story So Far: Born in Virginia, Black Pablo started rapping at the age of 8. He went to high school in Washington DC, where – inspired by his cousin – he became a popular promoter. After he was kicked out of the house by his Aunt, he went back to recording music, throwing parties and performing at his own events. Together with a group named AMS, and his older brother they opened up for mainstream artists in Roanoke VA at JB lounge. Not long after, the group split up, while Black Pablo continued to chase his dream and drop albums on all major platforms. He stayed completely independent and after dropping 3 albums, he finally got a major distribution deal.
Big shout out to @Trensettinkz & @universalmusicgroup #virginiaiskool