The first immediate thing about, Milwaukee representer, Rock La Flow, that grabs your attention is his unique voice and then, true to the name, his impeccable flow that is dripping with confidence. The beats are handled by Tory Tee, the man behind the production of the last Dope Folks Release, Stranj Child. The beats are packed with break beats and jazzy samples, perfectly in time with the mid 90s when this was initially created.
I don’t if it’s more unbelievable or tragic that this EP didn’t drop in ’95. It is ridiculously good. There’s no doubt in my mind that this would have been one of my favorite records back then. Instead, it’s one of my favorite records right now, I’m going to be rocking this non-stop all year long and for years to come.
Rock La Flow is a great lyricist, but a lot of the appeal is in his approach, subtlety, and of course the “flow”. He doesn’t use big words, complicated punchlines, or unorthodox styles. Instead he has mastered the basics, added his own twist, and as a result is able to make even simple lines and rhyme schemes have a greater impact…it’s all in the technique.
RWD is the opening track and it comes out swinging. The beat is bonkers with that type of energy that makes you want to mash faces…ha. Rock La Flow drops in with his aggressive, but relaxed signature flow, then almost as quickly as it started, it’s done, clocking in just under a minute and leaving you hungry for more.
Appropriately, immediately following is Wreckamic, which is a great combination of Bo Diddley “Hit Or Miss” & Bob James “Nautilus”, while Snoop Dogg & Beastie Boys hold down the vocal sampled hook. The second verse is when Rock La Flow really gets loose, “When I flex/Other rappers are vexed/Nervous wrecks/watching me catch wreck/Knowing they go in effect next/I’m a tuff act to follow/My Amateur nights are over so I won’t get booed at the Apollo/You know my reputation, I blow spots/People line up to get a ticket when Flow rocks”…
“The Heat Is On” is in competition with “Wreckamic” for best joint on the EP. He takes his most aggressive approach here when he drops, “The ripper, the big dipper, the skipper that was never stranded/I Like to write but not because I’m right-handed/and I demand it be all that/You call that fat black /When the fact is that is all wack.” Or this other great moment from the first verse, "Get attention like a boomin' system/sweated for the way I set it off, on stage, consuming ism/I'm Representing on behalf of rappers who are nice with the craft/Giving suckers more problems than any math/I be that microphone psychopath/Blowing up like Kaboom!, back draft...The Heat Is On!"
“Flowmotion” has a beat that has a slightly menacing undertone, but could also be the Snuffaluffagus entrance/exit theme music...whatever that means…ha. That is just the image I got hearing the beat for some odd reason. In any event, it is a great beat. However, Rock La Flow drops some good battle rhymes, but he seems to come off better over the more hard-hitting beats that add contrast to his flow.
“Party Time” is probably the biggest candidate for the single, based on the sing-song hook and bouncy beat. While Rock La Flow does gear his lyrics more to the loose party theme, he doesn’t hold back on the flow, it is in top form, yet allows him to better show his sense of humor.
While the rest of the EP has a more battle rhyme and braggadocio vibe, “Out There Bad” is the one track that takes a more topical approach. Rock La Flow takes the form of a character that is struggling in the streets and describes the lengths he has to go in order to survive and beyond.
The Flowgram PT 1 EP is six songs deep and in that you get six tracks ranging from really good to great. I'm definitely looking forward for Pt 2 of "The Flowgram" as well as any other treats from Dope Folks!
-The Heat Is On:
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/06-The-Heat-is-On-2.mp3|titles=06 The Heat is On 2]
[audio:http://fifthelementonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/04-Party-Time-2.mp3|titles=04 Party Time 2]