If you’re part of the Vancouver Hip Hop scene, this is a group you know and an album you’ve probably heard, and if you’re not part of said scene, this is your chance to get a taste of an easy to enjoy hip hop sound (even if you’re not a big fan) – but don’t expect to be left breathless. This is a perfect showcase album for this group… but it’s not a hits album.
From start to finish, we are given different sounds, beats and rap styles which show the amazing amount of talent and production involved in making an album such as Panther & The Supafly’s Blood & Joy. It’s a great listen but it will leave you wanting more and, if you’re like me, expecting more. There’s just not enough here to fill a hungry listener but there is enough to pique interest from both longtime fans and new listeners.
With the first track “Blood and Joy”, we get flawless production, awesome beats and a lot of good riffs. What you may find disappointing is the enunciation of the verses and the sloppy toss-in of cliché phrases mixed in with well-planned lyrics. This track is easily a perfect start to the album – it draws you in with its flawless music and beat, it sets the proper tone and theme for the album, but if you like good rap done right, you appreciate hearing all the lyrics no matter what the pace of the music, and on this point alone this track does not deliver.
Following this with “Endgame”, we get almost the opposite effect where the lyrics (if listened to carefully) are what hold this song together. It bleeds well from the previous track but the music is repetitive and might be a deal-breaker for new listeners. To truly appreciate this track, you have to listen to the album a few times and bother to commit. This song is no #1 hit but it is one of the more lyrically versatile songs on the album and it demands a devoted listener instead of a quick glance.
The next two tracks simply offer us (as previously stated) the production and musical talent of this group. The music, the beats (mainly the beats) and the production are all top-notch. They each offer a unique sound, drawing you in with either some slight jazz or blues influences pointing to more of a West Coast (surprise, they’re from Vancouver) rap style, as well as a few modern influences. These are great tasters and they lead well into what, in my mind, is the hit – “Unstoppable”.
This is where we get a full meal in an album full of appetizers. Whereas the lyrics don’t come through in “Blood and Joy” and the music production is a little light in “Endgame”, this track offers the listener everything you expect this group to produce. This track brings back music similarities from the first part of the album, with a constant movement to the sound and an easy, driving chorus. This is one of those tracks that could easily be twenty minutes long and you’d still listen to the whole track…
But all things must come to an end and like any good album, this one ends well. “Real Men” brings us home with a flawless beat and fun vocals that make this probably the most mass marketable songs on the album (not the best though). If you want an easy listen that will please most audiences, this is the track. It offers a steady beat with constantly changing vocals, a great chorus, and a steady flow.
The key thing to take from this album is this is “Panther” and Dave P’s solo debut album; it’s meant to be a taster. This is them showing us what they can do and it is a great listen but – to new fans and old – you will be left wanting more.
There are great tracks, and great moments in tracks, in this album but this is no “full meal deal”. We get an idea of the sounds and talent this group has to offer but it may be an album or two until you get exactly what you’re looking for. Is Blood & Joy worth a listen? Without a doubt! Is this a group that’s going to produce the quality a listener of this album might hope they deliver? Only time will tell.
You can pick up Blood & Joy right here.