Distorted represents the Oakland, Calif.-Halifax, Nova Scotia connection of rapper Shady Blaze and producer Ryan Hemsworth. And, perhaps appropriately, the mixtape, which is more like an actual album, is just as banging and hype as it is icy and blunted. Hemsworth’s approach to production results in thick-as-fuck synths and bass, snappy drums, and, sometimes, pretty accessible chord progressions. The latter is heard especially on windows-down cruiser “Let’s Ride.”
Shady complements the beats on Distorted with a hyper-technical, wholly charismatic, and extremely impressive flow that you might not typically associate with a cat from the Bay Area. Whereas his cohorts in the Green Ova Undergrounds crew are more laid-back, Shady splits the difference with a delivery that switches from mellow to blistering within the same verse. This is apparent as soon as the tape begins with the musically lush “On Our Way,” which the rapper attacks with equal parts hunger and bravado. If you need something else to listen to along with Mick Boogie’s mix of A Tribe Called Quest rarities and remixes, let Distorted be it.
You can stream Distorted below and download it on Bandcamp.