SilaS: Trumpeter Turned Rapper Amazes | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

SilaS: Trumpeter Turned Rapper Amazes

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Courtesy SilaS

SilaS’ “Rap Revolt” melds the Jackson-based rapper’s lyrical and instrumental aptitude with stunning results.

Emcee SilaS explains his journey to penning "Rap Revolt," his first independent release, on the interlude track "To the Fans." Here, the Jackson native outlines the terms of an agreement he offers to all his fans. "I want y'all to grow with me. So I'ma start off by being completely, 100 percent honest with you now in all of my music," he says.

Wasting no time, SilaS tackles the theme of honesty head-on after "To the Fans." The next song is a two-part saga that chronicles the narrator's activities just before dusk and transitions into preparation for a long workday. From searching through YouTube to hunting for a shirt to wear to the office, "3AM/Late4Work" is a humble tale that fashions the mundane details of everyday life into heavy plot points.

The rapper and trumpeter uses the remainder of the album to make good on his verbal contract. With a skillful use of his voice, beats borrowed from popular artists new and old, and his trumpet, SilaS concocts a rap-music experience that delves into his personality and lifestyle and tastefully tiptoes on the border of "too much information."

The first half of the album reintroduces SilaS' urgent flow to fans who may remember him as Trey Parker, a YouTube comedian who garnered thousands of views with his popular series, "That's My Baby." Songs such as "SomewhereinJumerica" and "All God" are far from fun and games, however, as SilaS chains together figurative language in a compact, rapid manner.

While adding a hint of personality to every metaphor, the emcee takes his battle-rhyme style to another level. "OG David Ruffin" takes on Que's "OG Bobby Johnson" instrumental, while referencing Leon Robinson's show-stealing portrayal of everyone's favorite Motown frontman in NBC's 1998 miniseries, "The Temptations." Where Ruffin's proposed to Otis Williams in the film that he should be billed ahead of the band on marquees nationwide, SilaS concludes that his rhymes should position him as the golden child of Jackson rap.

He makes a good case in lines like, "Kill a rapper then tap his mom on the back and tell her that her baby whack and Junior will never come back because of a murder attack in back of a pizza shack; the story's too long to tell, so let's get back to the track; bring it back," all before taking another breath.

The strongest song of the beginning section of "Rap Revolt" is its intro, which makes the most masterful use of Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones, Part II" beat since B-Rabbit dismantled Papa Doc in the final battle of "8 Mile."

The tape keeps things personal with the silky smooth "All That Matters" and a reinterpretation of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Everyday Struggle," before enlisting the help of Jackson radio personality DJ Jonasty for a fun-filled medley of sounds for SilaS to rap old-school rhymes over. The five-minute "Warm-Up Mix" begs to be the soundtrack of Mississippi summer barbecues.

It also serves as the best backdrop for the most prominent guest star on the 15-song mixtape: SilaS' trumpet. SilaS, who dubs himself early on the album as "Louis Armstrong on a rap song," plays his horn over T-Pain's "Up Down (Do This All Day)." The DJ Mustard production transforms into a jazzy, jambalaya-flavored jam with a hint of New Orleans bounce.

High-register brass instruments aside, "Rap Revolt" offers a sonic anomaly sure to turn a few heads among rap fans. With brisk soundscapes and piercing lyricism, the most important feature of the record is how fun it is.

All the threats and braggadocio is balanced out by SilaS' enthusiasm for life, making hard-hitting lines land covertly in the listener's consciousness, so that it is hard to notice the magnitude of what was just said until the next line has already passed. It's those "Aha" moments that are most rewarding.

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