Rapper Sleepy is an up-and-coming Alabama-based rapper, and his debut track of “2 Hot” is self-described as a first single off of an upcoming EP. Sleepy has a sly, precise flow that calls to mind a slowed-down Andre 3000, expansive production a la Kanye West, and a penchant for metaphor that calls to mind underground contemporaries El-P and Immortal Technique. The sheer density of his lyricism suggests he has something to say, and Sleepy seems eager to re-enforce this image. “Follow me on twitter,” a recent Facebook post on Sleepy’s page , advises, “but be warned — I’ll make you think.”
[ Influences: The Pharcyde, 2 Pac, Outkast, T.I., Kanye West. ]
“2 Hot,” as the launching point for his career, does a decent job of establishing a musical identity for Sleepy. Talent and ambition both glimmer through consistently, though they never take center stage. Sleepy pens strong lines but his verses often feel crowded—a byproduct trying to cram too much into too little space. Lines like “I’m what happens when you smoke too close to gas tanks/my words and my verbs are octane” are great, but they’re hard to fully appreciate sandwiched between humdrum rhymes that almost feel like filler. The production is a bit more restrained; it’s loud without being overbearing, heavy without being obnoxious, and serious while never approaching melodrama. Drones and thundering percussion creates a vague sense of importance—the overall effect is one that reinforces your sense that this is a Rapper With Something Important to say. In a scene full of vapid, materialistic lyrics, this is certainly commendable, but as respectable as Sleepy’s ambitions are, his technique is a bit questionable. There’s not enough empty space, and as a result, the track feels almost claustrophobic. If you can look past this and spend some time parsing the lyrics, though, you’re rewarded with a strong, fairly unique voice. This isn’t an instant classic, but it’s easily good enough to make you wonder what else Sleepy is capable of.
While at first glance “2 Hot” sounded a bit generic, spending some time with it made me realize that Sleepy is a rapper worth listening to. He’s trying hard to say something meaningful and important; even he’s not completely clear on what that something is, or how to best say it. It’s an enjoyable enough listen that I kept returning to and digging out new meanings from the lyrics. Overall, you’re left with a sense of an artist who’s just crawling out of his cocoon, who’s finally kicked off the training wheels, and is now doing his best not to swerve all over the road. Sleepy doesn’t always succeed, but he manages to make even his shortcomings sound promising.
Creative Writer @TheMusicFeed – Luke attends Green Mountain College, where he is in the process of completing a Degree in Writing, focus in Communications. In his spare time he likes to work on his fiction, search for up-and-coming music, and visit new places.
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