I have written a good bit on the importance of the relationship between emcee and producer. When the right two artists come together, it is like a gift from musical paradise. Think of your favorite duos whether that’s Leon Knight III and Ariana Grande, Dre and Snoop or Missy and Timbaland- when it works, it works! These two Richmond-based musicians, Alfred and Yung Pocket$, creatively completed the task of making and putting out an album, so of course, I listened:
Alfred tackles several songs with a unique flow: in some places he is speaking to the listener, some places he is singing with his friends and of course, he is rapping his dark gospel. The single Playaz Numbuh One ft. ALFCAT gives us that “Hyperion rap flow for days,” from ALFCAT which is AFROCAT and Alfred together. In this format, Alfred flows diligently, softly and pointed. The enunciation of each word makes each bar hit- and the whisper in his voice doesn’t detract from the production set up by Yung Pocket$. Other songs are dissimilar from his quick and snappy flow; on some tracks you can hear Alfred sing out his vocals with passionate cries or confidently wail out his raps quickly. The diversity of Alfred’s flow is to be appreciated. On the first listen through a listener will be thoroughly surprised at all the style changes.
The production of the album is just as diverse as Alfred’s flows. The instrumentals set up by Yung Pocket$ are versatile enough to support venom-like rap flows as well as choir-like R&B vocals. Seasoned ears can hear the heavy appreciation of R&B songstresses from the samples and direction chosen throughout So $ensitive. For the most part Yung Pocket$ engages in each song with a different vibe or feeling from the last. In this way, the album acts as a sample pack of this producer’s work. You get some smoother joints like pls ft. GOGO LECHE where the beat rolls along in a minimalistic manner and you get some upbeat joints like you too ft. Marissa Moody & Yogamuffin. The sound quality is up to par, thanks to Alfred’s family of engineers in B.ckwards Haus Ops. While the production of each song doesn’t match any other in terms of concept- it is the lyrics via Alfred that links all of the songs in a creative way.
What is not new is Alfred’s reputation for calling out white supremacy. The album doesn’t act as a conscious rap album, however, and acts as more of an inside look into Alfred and Yung Pocket$ playhouse of friends. Themes of Richmond living, inside jokes with friends, and Easter eggs of prior songs are some highlights. The downside to this loose concept is that this alienates newer listeners who are unfamiliar with Alfred’s content prior. Much like many other artists, Alfred has seemingly used his sophomore full-length project as a diary. His content is much more personal, much more in depth and moves at its own pace. You can hear the emcee comment on his skin, job, social position and even feelings about religion. The authenticity lends a classic feel to the album, but again, this level of introspection may prove too slow/deep for newer listeners looking for that summer bop.
So $ensitive is one-of-a-kind. One won’t find many albums like this one, what with all of its honesty, rawness and features. I love the album’s direction, being a long-time Alf fan. I can also confidently say that this album put Yung Pocket$ on my radar as an adept RVA producer to watch (closely!). This project is not without its drawbacks though. While it works positively as a sample-pack for Yung Pocket$ artistry, it works neutrally as a diary for Alfred. More critical ears would even say that the emcee was too experimental on a full-length platform. With this many flows, voices, characters, sketches, etc- maybe a mixtape could have served the concept’s purpose. All in all, I like the album, love the artwork and bump all the singles. Both artists are clearly multifaceted and going full-speed ahead. #WESEEIT