Jul 17, 2015

Review: Lucky 7 - Statik Selektah (@StatikSelekt); A Niles P. Joint

Statik Selektah has been putting in work for years whether you know it or not. He’s produced countless songs for a plethora of artists, DJ’d on eight radio stations, put out three EPs, 16 collaboration albums, and now is releasing his third and final (more on that later) studio album. Lucky 7. This is specifically his third album in three years, yet the Boston beatsmith hasn’t become the least bit stagnant or stale musically. This is remarkable because he doesn’t deviate too much from his signature production style and has many of the same familiar faces spit bars over his beats. Statik Selektah’s music still remains fresh in spite of his symphonic idiosyncrasies. On an album full of features it makes sense to go track by track, so get excited.

Intro (feat. Hannibal Buress) - Since the album is called Lucky 7, we have a monologue pondering what it means to be lucky by comedian Hannibal Buress. It instills the casino type of theme and adds levity to the proceedings.
The piano keys on here are perfect for a monologue.

Another Level (feat. Rapsody) - Rapsody is the Keith Thurman of the rap game: she’s an intelligent and exciting contender not only in her division but for the pound for pound crown. This triumphant beat is a perfect showcase for Rap’s lyrical acrobatics and punchlines. Take note of Statik’s use of horns, they’re a trademark that will return. Expect Rapsody to take home a few championship belts soon.

Beautiful Life (feat. Action Bronson & Joey Bada$$) - I spoke about this song here. It still holds up and will wind up being one of the best songs of the summer.  

Hood Boogers (feat. Your Old Droog & Chauncy Sherod) - The percussion on this track is wonderful and the bassline is underrated. Droog still warrants Nas comparisons but is starting to come into his own. Sherod brings the funk on his portion of the song.

The Locker Room (feat. Dave East) - Speaking of Nas, his latest signee to his Mass Appeal imprint Dave East shows his ever improving lyrical chops on this track.  He’s good enough to star on his own track after being relegated to posse cuts on the previous Statik album.

In The Wind (feat. Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T., and Chauncy Sherod) - Joey and Sherod make their second appearance on the album while southern heir K.R.I.T. lends a hand. This song has a breezy vibe with positive & inspiring lyrics. The guitar riff is understated but still steals the show. It should also be noted that this entire beat was created in the lab with no sample.

Crystal Clear (feat. Royce Da 5’9”) - This may be my favorite beat on the album. It’s reminiscent of a 1940’s film noir soundtrack. Royce brings his usual bravado while opening up about his past struggles with alcoholism. His flow is essentially a crescendo and picks up as the song goes on.  Very impressive song overall.

How You Feel (feat. Mick Jenkins) - The combination of idyllic strings and keys is crisp like fresh linen. Mick Jenkins solidifies his spot as one of Chicago’s best and brightest in their alternative rap hemisphere. I wish this was longer but they get the job done here.

Murder Game (feat. Smiff N Wessun, Young M.A, & Buckshot) - As much as I love the Duck Down veterans, this song sticks out like a sore thumb and doesn’t fit with the rest of the album. Young M.A is from the new school of Chiraq style rap despite being from BK. It’s like the veterans altered their style to fit the new jack and it doesn’t fit the flow of the album. The trumpet is a nice touch to the only mediocre and cookie cutter beat on the album.  

Gentlemen (feat Illa Ghee, Sean Price, and Fame) - This track more than makes up for the last and has become one of my favorites.  The Brownsville rap veterans take turns dropping their trademark gritty bars over a minimalistic beat. No flash, just a grimy aura that is perfect for all involved.  

Bodega! (feat. Bodega Bamz) - I always was intrigued by the potential of Bodega Bamz but wished he would select better beats.  This is exactly the type of instrumental I had in mind.  The Tchaikovsky-like violins fit his expressive flow like a glove.  Here’s hoping he works with Statik Selektah a lot more in the future.

The Trophy Room (feat. Skyzoo, Ea$y Money, Domo Genesis, & Masspike Miles) - A posse cut featuring some of the most underrated in the game over a swanky beat is always welcome. It’s a chore to pick who got off the best, but if forced to choose I’d have to go with OFWGKTA alumnus Domo. Either way, it’s a quality song from top to bottom.

Sucker Free (feat. JFK) - I loved the first half of the track as JFK makes good use over a marvelous beat featuring the most graceful saxophone you ever heard.  Then the beat switches to a bass-heavy tale about going to the can.  It’s humorous but gross, works as an interlude I guess.

Wallflowers (feat. Your Old Droog, Termanology, & Lord Sear) - Droog continues to come out of his shell and bodies this track.  Any comparisons (referenced on here) will soon go away as people appreciate Droog for Droog. Don’t sleep on Termanology either.

Top Tier (feat. Sean Price, Bun B, & Styles P) - The opening of this song sounds like a retro video game soundtrack, which is appropriate enough because this feels like the ultimate boss battle. Statik has the ability to seamlessly integrate two NYC legends with the de facto mayor of Houston and make it work, even without a hook. This is a timeless track.

Silver Lining (feat. A$AP Twelvyy, Kirk Knight, and Chauncy Sherod) - I’ve admittedly never been a fan of A$AP anything but Twelvyy isn’t bad at all on here. Kirk Knight is going to blow soon, as he’s the latest in a line of young emcees/producers to rise up. The song feels like something that would play during the climax of a great movie.

Cold (feat. Wais P & Jared Evan) - The thing is this song gives the exact same vibe as the previous one. It’s not a bad song, but it just sounds almost identical to the last one. If you played this album in the car as background music you wouldn’t notice the song changed. I prefer the former, but it’s a coin flip since they’re so similar.

All You Need (feat. Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, and Elle Varner) - Bronsolino and Soulo speak on the intricacies of love on a track that’s light enough to give AM radio vibes without being lame at all.  Bronson talks about settling down while Ab-Soul talks about letting go. Elle Varner lends her hazy vocals, which put the finishing touches on this easygoing song.

Scratch Off (feat. CJ Fly, Talib Kweli, & Cane) - This song wonderfully builds on the underlying luck/gambling theme of the album. CJ Fly continues his upward trajectory and even shows his crooning abilities on the hook. Kweli is still one of the game’s most consistent emcees. Cane more than holds his own despite being not as well known as the Brooklyn upstart and OG.  

Alone (feat. Joey Bada$$) - Statik Selektah is great at getting the best out of mostly everyone he works with. This is the case here as Joey finds a laser-sharp focus in his own solitude. He’s at his best when he’s contemplative and deep. The drums on here are magnificent while being nuanced.  

Harley’s Blues - This is an instrumental track named for Statik’s upcoming daughter. It flows nicely from the previous song. The saxophone solo towards the end is one of the best things I’ve heard all year.  

As I alluded to before, this is Statik Selektah’s final solo/compilation album. Seeing as Lucky 7 is his third album in as many years and was created in less than two months, it’s safe to say that he’s mastered this format. Aside from the one song I wasn’t a fan of and the odd sequencing of two songs (both minor qualms,) this album is damn near perfect. There’s something here for everyone. Additionally, Statik Selektah has established himself as arguably the best producer in hip hop. It threw a wrench into the Joey/Kendrick/Bronson stranglehold on the Album of the Year debate because it’s that excellent. Since it’s his last album I’m surprised a couple of the regulars didn’t make it (Freddie Gibbs, Nore, and especially Black Thought) but for an album that came together in less than a couple of months there’s still an incredible and diverse abundance of talent. I have a hard time picking a handful of favorite songs because they're almost uniformly excellent. This was the album I anticipated more than any other all year and Lucky 7 did not disappoint.  Lucky 7 by Statik Selektah is available on iTunes but after the break.

Rating: 4.85 out of 5.


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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