Has-Lo – In Case I Don’t Make It (2011)

‘In Case I Don’t Make It’ is the debut full-length album from Philadelphia MC/Producer – Has-Lo. He signed to the label Mello Music Group back in late-2010, which is home to artists, such as Apollo Brown, The Left and Finale, among others. He first made his name back in ’07, finishing in the top 5 on MTVU’s Best Music on Campus contest. Following that, he released a couple of EPs, ‘F*ck Has’ Day’ and ‘Small Metal Objects’, which gathered a small amount of buzz in the underground community.

All 15 tracks on the album are self-produced by Has-Lo, whose production style is very Rza/Stoupe-esque. Having 1 producer on the album creates a  very cohesive listen and a fantastic overall vibe to the album. The dark, atmospheric production provides the perfect backdrop for Has-Lo’s vocals. ‘Conversation B’, which is the remix version of the album, features a different producer on each track. Although most of the beats are good, from the likes of Apollo Brown, Exile, J-Zone and many more, ‘Conversation B’ lacks the cohesiveness that brings ‘In Case I Don’t Make It’ to the next level.

The title of the album could mean two things. In case Has-Lo’s rap career doesn’t ‘make it’, or in case he dies. He says “Is this an unfunny joke, or a suicide note?” on the title-track. The lyrics on the album are very introspective, like looking inside the mind of a man on the edge. Is Has-Lo really depressed, or just saying the things most people try not to think about?

The album has a smooth and cohesive sound that pulls the listener into a web of psychoanalytical and melancholy musings, lyrical exercises, and storytelling. Has-Lo’s flow is very laid-back, almost to the point where he sounds like he’s just talking. His delivery could use a little work, but he’s definetely an artist you should keep an eye on.

Overall this album was definetely one of the high points of 2011 hip-hop. If you haven’t listened to it, I highly reccomend you give it a couple spins.

Standouts: Fiber Optics, Kinetic Energy, Sub-Ether and In Case I Don’t Make It

Overall: 86/100


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