Caskey - Speak of the Devil (Review)

Martin_Canine
CASKEY
Speak of the Devil
★★★1/2☆

Future invented the perfect recipe for atmosphere in modern trap music. As his name suggests, the slurry, deep, autotune drenched voice has a futuristic tone, and the beats he raps on are a blast made of 808 bass and distant, echoing synth lines. It’s him who has to take credit for this sound, but of course, as it is always the case with recipes, others can bake the cake too and it can taste just as delicious. And now the Cash Money signed Caskey tried out the formula and, as expected, it worked out very well.

Purple Reign and DS2 are Future’s best works, being his absolute darkest, most sinister records, which makes for a really chilling listening experience. And at its peaks, Speak of the Devil is reminiscent of this very sound. It already starts with the title, which is as accurate as can be: these are sounds from the deepest pit of hell, with ridiculously distorted basses and bleak melodies. Much of this is owed to the production, most of which is done by Taysty, but it also takes a good MC to flow along with it, and Caskey delivers his verses with ease. For trap like this, it is essential to feel the music, to let the bass and the rhythm enter your body.

For a good trap rapper, it’s not as important whether they spit a clever punchline or are ad libbing, much of the magic lies in the performance. Trap is a much more musical and visceral, and a much less lyrical subgenre of hip hop. Caskey sticks to the familiar topics, although upping the level of gloom, but his delivery is messed up, and that’s a good thing. In the mixtape’s strongest moments, he sounds like completely drowned in codeine. You can almost hear his eyes twitch and turn. If you decide to imitate one of the biggest and most iconic rappers of the moment, at least do it well. Caskey does.

Individual highlights of the record are Best of Luck, Dead Man and Reasons, which are not only outstandingly atmospheric, but surprisingly catchy. If Caskey was better known and marketed, they had the potential to become hit singles. On the downside of the tape is a string of four songs that last shorter than two minutes, which is ultimately the reason of the tape’s short length of barely 26 minutes despite 11 songs. That’s nothing bad in and of itself, and like the rest of the record, the tracks have been produced and performed in the best possible way, but they seem to end before they could fully evolve, coming out as only half developed. In the end, it doesn’t harm the experience. What you get to hear is ultimately some really nice and really dark trap.

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