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  • Writer's pictureMalcolm Williams

Don’t Sleep #7

38 Spesh - 38 Strategies of Raw

Trust!! Let me start off with 38 Spesh in the past year has made very easy to say he’s my personal favorite Artist of 2018-2019. The New York rap scene is back at the top of its game with Benny the Butcher and 38 Spesh leading the charge. Benny and Spesh’s ‘Stabbed & Shot’ made it in at number 2 on my Top 5 Hip Hop Albums lists here on the site.

‘38 Strategies of Raw’ is my favorite project in the beginning of 2019. It honestly jumpstarted my excitement for hip hop going into this year of music. This album is street music in peak condition. It’s an album that put real messages in your ears through 38’s experiences in street culture, it inspires you even if you never lived the life 38 speaks of in his music. The production choice lines up perfectly with what I love as a fan, dope drums over fly samples.

‘Everywhere I Go’ is Spesh sounding like NY personified. As he recounts some moments of his life. Like when he was staying in section 8 houses to now he don’t stay in any community that’s not gated. His ability to make the simplest lines sound like the hardest bars on the planet is a testament to his very unique voice. He had a line like “If it‘s one dude in your crew broke then it’s not a circle.” His delivery made my face scrunch up like I’ve never heard better.

One thing I love about 38 Spesh is ability to make any collab he does the hardest records I've heard from the person he‘s rapping with. He teamed up with Fred the Godson on ‘Empty Plates’ where Fred had a line that made me question my own toughness. He said “I know where his mom stay, he gone grieve her, in the tree is where leave her.” I was just like “okay he fucking up.” I feel like before dudes get on a track with 38 they muster up everything they have to get whatever is needed to be on par with Spesh.

‘Soul Pain’ is my second favorite song on this project. It has my favorite beat though, with a sample that just touches my soul every time it sings. Spesh comes in tough to give us his version of conscience rap. It’s extremely street bars driven but no less enlightening than its counterpart. One thing that sticks with me from that record is the very last line of the song where he says “watch all signs, you knew he was a thief, when he stole lighter.” It’s his version of everyone is not your mans and that’s real.

I won’t go any further as to leave y’all with some room to discover some of this amazing music for yourselves. What I will say is, 38 put himself in a bracket very few artists are occupying. He can rap at an extremely high level and also put together great bodies of work. I‘m still discovering music in his discography but I haven‘t heard one bad album yet and probably won’t. ‘38 Strategies of Raw’ set a high bar for projects in 2019, I’m excited to see who’s gonna match this energy or try to pass it.

As in all my articles I want to thank the artist 38 Spesh. He’s been a great inspiration for me to get this site and make some moves I can’t announce yet, never even had to speak to me. His stories of failing and coming back were enough to show me it’s okay to fail but don’t make excuses, I appreciate that.

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