If you had any familiarity with this Portsmouth rapper's refreshing and inventive brand of UK hip-hop, then it should be of no surprise that his newest album is as buoyant, animated and thought-out as it is.
This is the first album DSG has released since becoming an integral part of the Jeeni mission. DarkStar has been an avid Jeenius since Summer last year and has been blessing the Jeeni database with vibrant and innovative artistry ever since. All seven tracks of this incredible project are on Jeeni right now. Jeeni is always looking to represent and uplift artists with visions as clear and focused as DarkStar.
DarkStarGraver's biggest crime here is leaving us wanting for more content because although he's cohesively expressed a giant variety of emotions, styles and influences, he took just 18 minutes to do it! He justified the choice of a shorter album on Instagram, "New album is 7 tracks in total, could’ve been more but I like that number", DSG cleverly released this record knowing he has so much more in his artistic tank for the next project.
A clear highlight on this record is the early, consecutive killer features on ‘Running Man’ and ‘No Brainer’ from Kid Crayy and Baby Panna respectively. DSG takes the reigns on these tracks at first and allows his fellow Portsmouth MCs to embellish the final push and create a rememberable climax for these standout tracks. Kid Crayy's attacking flow is restless and constantly bops and weaves around the beat. Baby Panna, however takes his time and makes each syllable hit harder than the last. Panna also performs the ear-worm 'Ride with me' hooks just before and after his verse which just completes the track.
DarkStar made it clear that “This project is dedicated to the Portsmouth Hip Hop scene” and made a specific mention to the Portsmouth artists that predate him and thanked them for “Sparking the fire that made me want to rep my hometown as an artist”. A meaningful dedication to a blossoming music scene is a suitable sentiment for such an excellently put together and varied album.
DSG uses his robust and adaptable voice so well on this project that at times, it sounds like extra, unlisted features. For example, a rather high-pitch singing voice for the hooks on ‘On My Way’ is then met with a deep and resonant rapped verse to finish off the short opening track. ‘Gohan’ (review) which was a single teaser for this album, features more of DarkStar’s contagious melodic rapping which is enhanced and made all the more effective with the excellent production of Zack Nailor at WRS Studios.
The hi-hats and 808 bass in the beat for ‘Juice & Gems’ works so well with the jangly acoustic guitar sample, as though they were always meant to be heard together. In fact, the entire album makes such an effective use of samples throughout; ‘Slow Jamz’ has a romantic and theatrical strings sample which turns the rapid, trap-esque beat into a dramatic, epic cut that is just too short. DarkStar also hints at a feral, almost growling voice on this track which provides yet more evidence that DSG will never settle or stop experimenting with what his voice can achieve.
The album ends with class and impact. ‘Over Time’ features a melodramatic female vocal sample which wails over a seductive lounge piano, sparkling under the rumbling beat. The bonus, shorter track, ‘Justice League’ is a moody album finisher containing reams of witty wordplay which flows like water.
Once again, a feat like this album is a credit to producer, Zack Nailor as well as DarkStar himself of course for containing the talent, passion and vision to pull something like this off so seamlessly.
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Check out DarkStarGraver’s Jeeni showcase here: https://jeeni.com/showcase/darkstargraver/