Jul 24, 2018

Album Review: MITCHELL - @KALEBMITCHELL (words by @RamseySaidWHAT

We've already introduced you to the 19 year old Morristown Native, Kaleb Mitchell. This may be my first piece on the upstart artist but this is not my first time listening to him. I first heard a track titled 45 after a mixtape of the same name. This lead me to his debut So Help Me God which charted on Apple's Hip Hop dropping this time last year. Last week, MITCHELL graced our timelines and streaming services.


Before putting pen to paper (rather finger to keyboard), I've listened to this project three times in three separate environments. The first was a morning commute in my 2005 Chevy Cobalt speakers. The second was in a pair of Airpods laying on my girlfriend's bed. The last was a pregame before heading to Atlantic City party at Harrah's. The importance of explaining that is it fits each occasion perfectly. I'd have listened to it in the gym if I hadn't fractured my finger and been in a splint the last month. While it's a personal introspective testimony of life, MITCHELL is also an entertaining listen jam packed with great production, clever lyrics, and a braggadocio flow that makes you make that stank face. I'm a stickler for detail if you couldn't put that together by now so if I lose you with music terms you don't understand forgive me. Let's get to it.

I don't want to take up your whole day reading this when you can spend 37 minutes listening to these twelve tracks on your own. That is my favorite part about this. You aren't going to spend you entire day sifting through this project. Yes, I'm talking to the 6 God and Chris Breezy. No shade but double albums and 45 tracks is a lot. I also see this trend of 7 track albums with The Carters and everything coming from G.O.O.D Music lately. I predicted this awhile back in 5 Reasons Your Local Rapper's Album Flopped. Let's face it, our generation has a short attention span and are visual learners. Albums need videos and need to get the point across quickly. MITCHELL does just that but doesn't short us on the number of songs. I won't hold you track by track but I'll run through a few of the standouts here.

It's raining. You can hear it hitting the window on the project's INTRO. The effect blends into the background and a grand piano dissolves right in. I enjoy the chord progressions and mostly how it blends with the real beginning of this project, NO WAY. I can say that about the entire project. This is a professionally engineered project. Great track sequence, the mix, and the whole nine yards. They pulled out all the stops for this. Track two is a synopsis of sorts. He touches base on his hunger, pressure to make it, and how the loss of his uncle to suicide.  These are the themes of this album.
WAIT A MINUTE features Caleb Cruise. This is one of those sing-songy rap tracks. Cruise comes through with the assist with his own cadence and flow. Whatever wah-wah and flanger they used was executed to perfection. I'm very impressed. KEEP UP is straight fire. It's lyrical exercise. He switches flows over and over with a short hook. I lowkey wish it would have gotten one more verse, maybe even a remix for a later release. What I like about it most is the music. When the melody comes back it takes out one instrument at a time then brings them all back in the last loop before song end. This is real music. Think the end of a seven minute Timbaland and Timberlake track just shorter.

WATCH OUT with Drew Famous is pretty dope too. The duo was talking that talk. This is the track I'd like to hear at a party. Piano meets trap. Everything I said about KEEP UP can be said about FREE THROW Pt. IV just minus a hook. There is none. I said it before and I'll say it again. The best rap is the songs without hooks, it's just venting over a 32 or more. I'm intrigued to listen to the first three parts. The stretch ending the project from LONELY to ALL BLACK (OUTRO) is dope. It might be my favorite point of the album. I'm a fan of mood switches. In LONELY he let's it all out and you can feel the vulnerability in his singing and rapping. I also big on electric guitar solos so this is a standout for me. ALL BLACK takes us home. More venting, more bars, and a short interview at the tail end of the song. I'd explain more but the song cuts off before we get the chance. I think it may be a hint for the next project. I'll do my best to ask him myself if I can get him on the podcast.

I hate to put artists I admire into boxes. Even more I hate when writers make comparisons of lesser known artists to mainstream acts but I understand why it's easy to explain to a fan. I said all of that to say this: If you LIKE listening to artists like ELHAE, GoldLink, Bryson Tiller, Travis Scott and others in that sub-genre of Rap/R&B, You'll LOVE Kaleb Mitchell. Frankly put I think he's better. Dude can sing with or without much pitch correction. As far as rap he's sick man. He said it himself:

 "973 is where I came up, East Coast Killer.
This what happens when you mix 
Microphone Fiend & Thriller"(Free Throw Pt. IV)

I've been told he produces his own stuff and plays a few instruments on the side. While the singer, rapper, producer thing is becoming more popular, real musicianship is still rare. As modern as the production sounds I still enjoy the musicality of it. That small difference sounds far from subtle in the final product. You can hear it, even if you can't quite tell what exactly the "it" is. It's like some of the songs sound like Mitchell featuring Mitchell. An Outkast all by himself. Kaleb combines the musicianship and creative flair of Andre and slick talk and prose of Big Boi. I'd call it the love child of gospel and R&B but with bars. The project is only a week old so I'd hardly call it a classic but I can already tell there's going to be a lot of replay value with this one. I hope he spices things up with a couple visual treatments for these songs. MITCHELL is like that. Get hip. Fast. His camp is legit. I think we all should take a page out of their book and pay more attention. He's not going to be local forever. You can listen to it below via his soundcloud but it's also on your favorite streaming service I promise. Feel This.

Jonathan Ramsey
Jonathan Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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