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  • Writer's pictureXlo

The Show You Can’t Tell - A\Villain

There's something to be said about the indie spirit when someone with vision and all the skills necessary creates a project with their own hands from top to bottom. Michigan has had a lot of success as of late but it would be wrong to not also highlight the avant-garde and deep underground works being made in this renaissance of Detroit creativity.

Heaven Studios/The Machine Shop extraordinaire, A\Villain dropped a tight 8-track album late 2022 with features from Alien-gang Nalij, the goat Royce 5’9, Solr and Ace Gabbana titled: The Show You Can’t Tell and it is an excellent place to start if you wanted dig deep and see what is being made outside of the Detroit sound you have likely become a accustomed to.

Mr. \Villain raps, sings, and adlibs his way through subject matter from women who are bad for you, Fahrenheit 451 references, weed smoke, media lies and the pessimisms of daily life in the modern era. Not only a lyricist but a producer and engineer, A\Villain creates a unique sonic bedrock to get out all his thoughts along with some supremely talented guests. Royce does an excellent “Renegade” call back at the top of his verse on “I Tell Em,”

“Since I'm in the position to talk to these chicks and they listen, I ain't got time for pimpin’ but I’ll kick it wit em a minute...”

He and Nalij both flex their melodic chops on this album to great effectiveness. Nalij lets people know he still has great command over his voice as an instrument over “Garden” as he effortlessly breaks into rapping again after 8 bars of flexing his ability to glide up and down the scale in his signature raspy baritone. Solr and Ace Gabbana come with nothing but bad intentions and heat on their verses on “Kok Boru,” the sinister album closer. A minor key piano anchors the beat opposite a pulsing arp and some of the best drums on the record. The hook alone encapsulates the overall theme of the album,

“Striking the match, lighting the gas, fighting my past, why did I last… I need advance, I need investors to hear me out once and then give me a chance, I need a bad, shorty with dreams and a dope energy that I really can match”

We’re one of the most lonely, hardest working generations in recent history, most can relate to the need for companionship and validation by the gatekeepers that are the difference between the toils and monotony of the daily experience, and something else where one can become a step closer to master of their own fate. The braggadocious confidence you can come to expect from Detroit rap records is all but absent on this album. Like the cover art, it's bleak, tongue-in-cheek but pointed with its messages and undercurrent of pessimism. If you like rock influenced and varied, experimental production… give it a spin or 2.


RELEASED: July 22, 2022 WORDS BY: Xlo

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Apr 02, 2023

Best Detroit album in a long time

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