Ovey is back with a new record from Vallejo Music Group that hits hard from the beginning. His poignant intro is a serious poem penned to his haters. "I'm still serious for anybody hearin this/I'm never vacatin my spot, that means period." This South Austin veteran has been rapping for Austin since the '90s and this album makes it clear he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. The a cappella intro leads right into the energetic "Make 'Em Do." The production is handled by longtime collaborator DJ Crash. Much of the album, such as "Make 'Em Do," "Talkin' Shit," "Bars," "You Ain't Know?" "Take the World," and "Smash" are unified through the production, which is mainly a great mix of '80s and '90s boom bap/soul/funk influences. The older feel fits nicely with Ovey's bars as he's influenced by older rap from the '80s and '90s. He rhymes the last two or three syllables in each line on the fourth beat with ease and precision, like clockwork. There's nothing boring about his vocals - the aforementioned songs are true headbangers to get rap fans pumped up.
There are a couple of slower ballads on the record, both of which are great. "Bully" is by far the most powerful and probably the most striking track of the album. It was produced by Jelly Ellington (who also plays guitar on it) and is the lone track produced by him. The guest vocalist, Candi Sanders, really shines here with her soulful vocals on the bluesy rap track. Overlord raps about his young life of being bullied and unpopular and comes up with an anthem that most anyone can related to: "Life's a bully, but mom said that we push back/it ain't about where you start it's where you end up at." It's a song about change and survival. As good as the rest of the record is, this song is the standout track for its honesty, soul, and execution. The other ballad is "She Not Like Me," which details a relationship with a woman he felt was way out of his league. "Grad school kinda girl, she was into books/I'm a South side poet, I was into looks/Classic with her style, she spoke with ease/clearly I was deep way out of my league." He learned a lot from her unique outlook on life.
Producers DJ Crash, Omar Vallejo, Kenneth Thompson made sure to make an album with MC Overlord that feels like true hip-hop. The beats, scratches, and rhymes all invoke an earlier age that focused on just those things, the signature pieces of the hip-hop album. There are a couple of skits featuring Lessly Fisher Jr. that involve obnoxious phone calls from Ovey. These are funny, and were noticeably funnier when I was listening to the album with other people in the car. They aren't truly skippable skits since they're funny, but they do interrupt the flow and energy of the record a bit.
Overall, MC Overlord has made a short album that represents his skillset and production ears very well. His rhyming is sharp, not flashy, and to the point. The album is accented with talented guest artists HADES, Candi Sanders, and Doc Deuce - the last three songs on the album feature these guests. A record release party is going down at Grizzly Hall on May 6. You can get tickets here.
You can stream the record here: