Fresh from the streets of Louisville, KY Philly Blocks brings us his highly anticipated E.P. “Mr. 17th”. Narrated by Dj Murph & Ben Staxx, the EP features the singles “Clinton Era”, and “C.E.O”. The track “Movie”, also sees Blocks team up with fellow artist, Cino Fresh. For years, the Louisville scene was largely underground and insular, with brief flashes of success on a national scale. All of that is looking to change, with determined and passionate artists like Philly Blocks bringing their skills and collaboration to the table. Wide-eyed and ready to go, the KY rapper facilitates a set of songs that walk a fine line between hardcore street rap and introspective slow-burners.
Right from the get-go, on “Almighty” (Prod. by Bossman Rogerz), Philly Blocks shows us that his direct, urgent, and surprisingly transcendent. He sends messages, hands out advice and speaks his mind in spellbinding dialogue aided by a raspy delivery.
Although Blocks shows strong emotion in these tracks, there is also plenty of old school aggression on the album. Case in point, the single “CEO” (Prod. by DP Beats), where Philly Blocks also brings out consistent flirtatious energy.
Unlike his contemporaries, Philly Blocks is clearly not on any syrup, smoked out, or faded, as he delivers bar after bar on the standout track, “Clinton Era (Prod. by Cmplx). That gives the rhymes he spits a much more powerful impact. This is an adrenaline fueled retrospective socio-political analysis that hits hard to the core. All things taken into consideration, this could just be the best track of the bunch.
There’s an underlying sense to even the hardest of his tracks that Philly Blocks is basically a deep-thinking, good-natured individual, unless you provoke him. In which case all hell may break loose. The conviction in “Average” (Prod. by Mexiko Dro) is too heartfelt to be ignored.
Here Blocks showcases the kind of voice that stands out in a crowd, let alone a crowded field of artists hungry to get noticed. The thing that may surprise people if they really listen to Philly Blocks closely is that there’s an ocean of depth beneath the surface level of his gravelly, booming voice.
Another thing that separates Philly Blocks from the pack on “Mr. 17th”, is the fact this is his project. A lot of albums you listen to these days turn into messy collaborations where a half dozen of the artist’s friends are riding on his coattails, making token guest appearances.
This doesn’t happen here, and when Blocks chooses to collaborate, it’s a focused and winning choice. A fine example of this, is “Movie” ft Cino Fresh (Prod by AZ Beatz). The writing is sharp and on point, while the rappers totally complement each other, in a tale that is awash with electrifying atmosphere and emotion.
Capable rhymers ride the beat, locking into cadences that play off patterns laid out by a producer. Exceptional rhymers, rise above that, infusing nuance, mood and emotion into every line, putting the listener right inside the story.
“Father” (Prod. by PoloBoyShawty), which closes the project down, is a 7 minute masterclass, in being an exceptional rapper, as Philly Blocks displays his storytelling skills – raw and uncut. “Mr. 17th”, is a smart distillation of the hypnotic qualities that makes Philly Blocks’ music great.
Connect with Philly Blocks on Twitter / IG @Phillyblocks