This August Alsina article was written by John Gittins, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall.
August Alsina, originally from New Orleans, has remained under the radar in terms of his career; overshadowed by the mainstream artists in the hip-hop industry. A dark past of family neglect, death and inner demons, forced August to devote himself to his music, and his debuting album ‘This Thing Called Life’ (TTCL) hints from the opening at the dark subjects to be tackled.
It seems as though Def Jam still have doubts over the rappers talent, as the first single on the album is fronted by Anthony Hamilton and Jadakiss, and August loses his message on a strangely dense track. ‘Why I Do It’ is fronted by Lil Wayne, which covers the laughable three-cliché hip-hop lines in the first ten seconds – “get off my dick/let me do me/that’s a million bucks every two weeks”, following fake tokes on a spliff, that really convey how out of touch the artists are. This new album speaks volumes against the leading single ‘Dreamer’, which hinted at a Frank Ocean intimate and meaningful vibe. August isn’t trying to prove ‘TTCL’ against the same tired, repetitive rap that infects our airwaves.
‘Hollywood’ hardly fares any better; “started out from the bottom” makes August sound like an annoying Drake rip, as the BET Award winner runs the rite of passage of shit overhyped rap messages that really aren’t relevant anymore.
‘Hip Hop’ attempts the stylistic efforts of club music – ironically coming across as an effortless track, but not in an impressive way, whilst ‘Change’ contradicts the rappers previous statements about money not being anything and ‘reflection being the real focus.’ Faker than Lil Wayne’s teeth rack, August’s overused egotistical ‘deep’ statements at the end of his tracks take on a Tom Hardy Charlie Bronson theme, as it becomes obvious how amazing and deep the rapper really is.
‘Dreamer’ is clearly the leading track, followed by arguably the most hyped track ‘Been Around the World’, featuring Chris Brown. What August falls victim to is the sporadic and overuse of texture, leaving no space in his mixes, as the music overpowers any coherence in what he’s saying, on top of a lack of originality.
Finally after ten useless tracks, August goes into a decent flow with ‘Would You Know’, with an effective build up of texture, where the listener can actually understand what he’s saying. His downfall is that this is the longest track and if anyone has actually managed to stay patient through his album, they will have already grown tired of the replicated formulas. The acapella section throws the track into over produced mayhem, as once again August loses whatever momentum he had.
August tackles ‘interesting’ gender issues with ‘Song Cry’ (yes, that was sarcasm), but we all know this faux emotional song is a farce, another cliché rap subject, trying to convey that the rapper actually has genuine emotions, underneath his auto-tuned notions.
The rest of the album is nothing more than time wasted, using the same recipe that hasn’t shown off any of August’s talents for the last 40 minutes. The whole attitude of the album is fake, and even brings into suspicion as to whether his label Def Jam actually meant to re-release the album early; or whether that to was fake hype to create excitement for an inevitably poor album.
August’s style of gargling maltesers, with just outright bad autotune and content subjects, will grate on you, and if you haven’t hated him by ‘Hip-Hop’ (if you get that far), you’ll enjoy a less than mediocre album that fails to separate itself from the majority of limelight artists with bad diction, hooks and themes. August Alsina lacks the audacity to be able to produce content that actually proves his flows, and when so many other artists are emerging from the woodwork (Futuristic, Action Bronson, Devon Terrell etc), he will need to really adjust his style to something much more likeable if he actually wants to succeed.
‘This Thing Called Life’ is out now via Def Jam Records.