Grey Sinatra & HoTT

"Opening Gem" is the first track on the Grey Sinatra/HoTT collaboration Diamonds and Beats, and the song lives up to its title. Producer Sinatra shows restraint in the beat, letting a somber piano carry the weight until drums begin to trickle in almost a minute later, adding extra weight to the first crack of the snare. It's a wake-up: The sun is rising on some fresh hip-hop. HoTT rips it effortlessly from there, blending clever wordplay, artistic analogies and socio-political undertones. That combination of creative patience and deft MC abilities is evident on all of the record's best tunes. HoTT's smooth delivery recalls a more lyrical Stalley, and Grey Sinatra's beats on "Real-Time" and "My 1st Sony" have a complementary pace, with blunted, dusty-sample-driven grooves. "Wins & Losses" and "The (Grey) Notation" are jewels, while "Let It Go" and "Droppin' in the Rain" sound less polished than the rest, more for the recording quality than the material itself. Otherwise, if you're down with good boom bap, you'll want to have this in your rotation.


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