Chewi Gives Listeners More Tracks to Digest
If you haven’t heard Penn State student/rapper Chewi spit some lines yet, then allow me to make some much needed introductions.
The PSU junior, along side his collaborator/producer Oren Spiegel, dropped a new mixtape on November 24. The mixtape, a followup to the April release “Chew On It,” is not only impressive in terms of production, but also an enjoyable listen (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t rep the hip-hop genre very much).
“Rapper’s Digest” begins with a creative intro as the title track: a rhyming statement with no musical accompaniment. While it doesn’t necessarily kick off the mixtape in a strong way, Chewi’s lyrics and delivery on “The Digest” intrigue the listener to stick around for more.
“How Far”, the second track, goes the opposite end of the spectrum with layers of effects, a heavy downbeat and a chorus featuring Arielle Kroser. The mix of Chewi, Spiegel and Kroser fuse well for a successful collaboration.
The mixtape experiences its first burst of energy with track 4, “Party Hard.” Chewi shows some love for his Alma Mater’s status as a party school with lyrics about drinking and having a good time (he even uses the “We are Penn State” line in the chorus). It’s definitely a suitable weekend anthem worthy of any PSU party-playlist.
Whenever the mixtape feels like it’s hitting stride, Chewi backs off with a spoken-word track. Track 5, “The Corporate Caldera,” is a politically driven poem delivered by the rapper. Track 11, “Anticipation,” is an a capella freestyle while track 12, “The Journey,” is an instrumental that displays Spiegel’s talents. Although the varying pace may seem like it would hurt the mixtape as a whole, it actually adds another dimension to the product.
I am a firm advocate for listening to an artist’s work as a whole, but I realize that the average listener’s habits don’t favor that approach. With that in mind, the best tracks on “Rapper’s Digest” are “Steez On ‘Em” (track 7), “King of the Stage” (track 10) and, my personal favorite, “Still Stand Alone” (track 9). “Steez On ‘Em” highlights Chewi’s quick delivery while “King of the Stage” and “Still Stand Alone” show why Chewi and Spiegel have such a complimentary partnership.
The only flaw I found in “Rapper’s Digest” was that some of the tracks are somewhat bloated. I would have loved to hear some more stripped down tracks with more concentration on Chewi and his flow.
“Rapper’s Digest” is a very tight and focused mixtape (the longest track, “Still Stand Alone,” only clocks in at 4:13). It is also evident that Chewi and Spiegel have a firm grasp of the chorus-verse-chorus song structure. Hopefully come springtime, we’ll all have some new tunes from this very promising duo.
Free download of “Rapper’s Digest.”