Today we will be revisiting an artist named ShawnWeTrust. Last time, my review of him was somewhat mixed. I felt like what he was doing, while polished and functional, was pandering a bit too much to what the modern market wanted. Why would the industry pull someone up out of the underground to do the exact same kind of track they already have three lils to do currently? But Shawn has gone back to basics, and his song, “On The Rise” is nothing short of amazing.
ShawnWeTrust has dropped the lil routine in this act, coming out full force and sounding a bit like Denzel Curry. His song is especially reminiscent of Denzel Curry’s song “Ultimate,” and the music video for the two songs are similar as well. The music video, by Irktypebeat, is actually really good and seems well beyond the budgetary constraints for an underground artist. Shawn is in good company with Curry, and the similarity in sound is doing wonders for his appeal. Shawn’s tonal inflections are perfectly executed in this track. There’s a half step change in the bass line that Shawn follows with his pitch, to a pleasing effect. This tonal change is infectious and exciting, adding suspense throughout. His flows are on point, and build with the beat, leaving me feeling that old school angst I haven’t felt since the 90’s. But this track is hardly a throwback. It sounds new and classic, all at once.
The beat that Shawn is rapping on is intense and incredible. The beat is, simply classic. Hard, menacing arpeggiation and banging drums make for exuberant energy and angst that fuels the track. The beat has been “finessed” by Beed Dollaz, and while I have seen “finessed” used to describe minimal production influence several times, I have come to find out that Beed Dollaz produced the track. He did a great job. From the production of the beat to the engineering, it’s all perfectly done, with excellent polish added in mixing and expert mastering.
Let’s talk about the lyrics. In the last song I reviewed by Shawn, I remarked that lyrics left a little to be desired, but I could tell by a few choice lines that he had real writing talent. I felt like he was just badly influenced by the current trend in the industry which has lately moved towards a more lyrically minimal pallet. But in this song, lyrics shine. This lyricism is on point, which is something I don’t get to say about artists often enough. In one line, he says, “niggas be moody and change like the weather, think that you heavy but light as a feather,” which is just about as dope as you can get, lyrically speaking. It reminds me a little of a heavier-hitting Big Sean line. A few more of my favorite lines are as follows: “Don’t be surprised, only up, we on the rise,” and “heard you were never outside in the summer, bust up, I had to come up from a runner,” speaking to the fact that his opponent seeks to avoid violence while he isn’t afraid to confront it, and in the latter part of the line, he speaks to the fact that he came up in the game by running in the trap, which is about as legitimizing as it gets. So, to discuss the downsides of this track, there is really only one to speak of. With no hook or chorus, this song stands on its one, very strong, verse. The hook isn’t an element I really missed, however, at only 1:47 long, the track is a bit too short, even by today’s standards. That’s really the only issue with it. And when the only problem with your song is that we want more of it, you know you’re doing something right. I don’t want to see hip hop go towards a trend that demands artists make even shorter songs, so it’s essential in the underground that we uphold the standard three-minute minimum. But, other than that one little downfall, this song is, for me, as close to perfect as they come.
ShawnWeTrust is an artist at a crossroads. On the one hand, he could bend to commercial demands and make nonsense lil tracks only to end up washing out in the sheer numbers of others in the underground and in the mainstream who are all doing the exact same thing. Or, he could stay true to himself and deliver more tracks like this one. The game needs more tracks like this one. There’s a line in his song where he says, “I’m the light in the trap,” and I really believe that’s true about him. He’s the light at the end of a very long tunnel of nonsense lyrics and bad adlibs for two minutes on a high-hat beat. He could be part of the same, or part of the movement that saves the game. What will he choose? Well, I guess, in Shawn, we’ll have to trust. A truly near perfect track from him, and I am very much hoping for more.