Matt Solo makes a very strong impression with new Prodigy album
Matt Solo is a local hip hop prodigy and is not afraid to tell you so. Then again, in an industry and genre where it seems like everyone is either waiting in the shadows to profit off your talent or stick a knife in your back, that kind of bravado becomes a component of survival. The telling factor is whether or not an artist can back it up.
Solo’s latest entry, Prodigy, confirms once and for all that the young man has the goods to deliver on his lyrical promises. To lightly paraphrase Robert Ritchie, “It ain’t bragging if you back it up…”
Prodigy is a selection of 12 tracks, including the titular track which comes in at number one on the disc. “Prodigy” is a thoughtful tune that examines, among other things, the duality of the hip hop scene, seeming to simultaneously acknowledge the violence inherent in the genre while suggesting that perhaps rap artists, being artists, have a choice to broaden the scope of their work.
As with Solo’s previous work, the rapper’s flow must be heard to be believed and appreciated. While his lyrical work is generally thought-provoking, the man could rap a grocery list and it would still be verbal wizardry.
“My Cup,” while perhaps not as introspective as the opening track, is nonetheless another sterling example of Solo’s skill on the mic and as a producer. The jazzy/bluesy backing tracks give the track a noir feel. This young fellow and his crew paint some provocative sonic portraits.
“Can’t Hold Me” has an introduction too beautiful to describe here, hearkening back to the greatest socially conscious R&B singers of the seventies. It then segues into a rap of redemption, illustrating the various ways a young man in pain might seek to alleviate that pain, all of them dead ends, until finally finding his salvation through the microphone.
Another homage to the artistry of the genre, it seems as though Solo is making it his mission to bring a whole new level of legitimacy to a genre that, having been pillaged by corporate interests into a lowest common denominator of carefully branded “street life,” has the potential to be as culturally complex as any ballet or opera.
“Candy Apple Paint” is full of gorgeous organ sounds and sentimentality while “Hallelujah”, still a rap tune, nonetheless has a healthy dose of rock and roll. “Hit ‘Em With The Bounce” takes a shot at the wannabe tough guys, though it’s likely the kind of people the song takes aim at would be too clueless to realize the groove is about them. (In their defense, it is a slick track.)
As much as I’d like to do a song-by-song breakdown of the rest of the album, there simply isn’t space. It may be that we can revisit the second half of the album at a later date, but suffice it to say that the remaining tunes are just as well produced, just as lyrically poignant and just as chock full of raw rapping talent as the opening tracks.
The truth is that Matt Solo is easily the equal of some of the leading names in the industry today and, frankly, superior to more than a few. I don’t know what it will take exactly—major sponsorship, the right agent, or a little luck to go with the tremendous skill already present—but Matt Solo is ready for the big time and the album Prodigy is proof enough of that.
Contact Solo via his Facebook page (facebook.com/therealmattsolo) for info on how to add this “must have” album to your hip-hop collection. Well written, slickly produced, socially conscious and masterfully performed, Prodigy has all the makings of one young man’s ticket to fame.