OHPENMIIND PROVES He BELONGS WITH "DECADE IN THE SHADOWS"
Glendale, Arizona native Ohpenmiind is every bit of the the gritty desert influence that he grew up with but his knack for storytelling has developed alongside his confidence on the microphone, creating a dynamic and constantly evolving artist. His latest release, distributed by Clout Culture Records and recorded at Cosmic Soup Records, is titled "Decade in the Shadows". We listened to the project and decided it was worth breaking down. Let's start by saying that Ohpenmiind is living up to his namesake.
The first track "Rollero Rooftop" introduces you to Ohpenmiind in a way that old fans will be familiar with, utilizing his gruff and streamlined delivery that ebbs and flows with heavy enunciations to drive home his punchlines. "Olive Grove" feels like the standout track on the project. The bars are delivered with conviction. The lyrics feel too personal to identify with yet they speak universal truths that you cannot ignore. The beat is smooth and allows Ohpenmiind to do his best combination of lyrical proficiency and dramatic storytelling to date. The project catches a perfect balance in the middle with "Shadow Ridge". Ohpenmiind tells a story of trials and triumphs of his family struggles with a soft jazz inspired musical backdrop that enhances the appreciation and understanding that pervades the song. The next instrumental on "Ball At Bally's" uses subtle chimes to lull you in and put you at ease. This works to great effect as Corey S. uses that sense of security to demonstrate how he can easily shift from hopping onto the beat like a smooth game of jump rope to going in and out with word play like it switched to a game of double dutch, and you never saw it coming. Ohpenmiind chops up his flow more than he typically does, and it works well. The highlight of his bars have to be the hook that sticks with you, not only due to its rhythm but its deep tonality that oddly fits in a way that french fries work with ice cream, out of nowhere but you can't go without it after you try it.
The instrumental of the next track "Independent" is slightly twisted and Ohpenmiind uses it to give some crucial advice and scathing critiques. Ohpenmiind brings an old friend back to help him on "Bethany Home Rd". This song reintroduces fans to Erico and as well as giving a personal story that hits close to home for those that spent any significant amount of time in the Phoenix area. The line "grew up on the west side, construction's never done" is all that you need to look at to know that Ohpenmiind knows his neighborhood very well. The soft vocals that permeate the instrumental give a levity to the song that allows the weight of the true to life words to level out perfectly. "Open Discussion" closes out the project with a haunting sound. This is the kind of track that sticks with you. The ominous feeling created by the instrumental makes you examine the previous 6 songs and rethink they way they landed. There is brutal honesty in throughout and lines like "loading green tips, slicing through your arteries" highlight just how brutal they can be.
The stellar production by Arza Beats, brandon, and Temper Beats needs a huge shout out, the job that they all did was on point. The clean and polished sound achieved by Jeremy Daniels deserves some recognition. From start to finish, you ears will be impressed. This project is full of personal stories that connect on philosophical grounds. Ohpenmiind doubled down on his story and it worked wonders. This approach gave him the ability to bring you in and make you understand his journey in a way that you feel like he understands yours too.
by: Steven Sandage