[Album Review] Skeme - Pistols And Palm Trees
There is no dearth of rappers hailing from Inglewood now nor has there ever been in the past. Mack 10 surely comes to mind, as do newer indie artists such as El Prez and Overdoz, who have quickly captured small fan bases and industry buzz through sheer grind. It’s rare, however, in today’s hip-hop climate, for a young artist to emerge from the Los Angeles community, and, as a relative unknown, to be able to have the lyrics and the music to show potential of being able to appeal to both indie and mainstream. In the scheme of things, so to speak, that artist is 20-year-old Skeme (Lonnie Kimble).
On the free mixtape album, Pistols and Palm Trees, Skeme showcases a refined sound that separates him from his peers. It doesn’t hurt that the emcee, who possesses a slight Southern drawl and ad libs that recall of Weezy, delivers his verses over some of the most cohesive production from a slew of talented beatmakers, most notable among them Toronto’s Boi-1da, Drake‘s in-house producer who was also behind “Not Afraid,” the ubiquitous lead single from the bestselling album this year in Eminem’s Recovery.
On the Boi-1da-produced “Chuck Taylors,” Skeme’s verses about the everyday hustle and grind are perfectly accompanied by a memorable hook: “See I got money I got paper/ I hustles hard in the new Chuck Taylors/ don’t want no handouts don’t want no favors, cause I’m gonna grind in the new Chuck Taylors/ see I’m gonna grind.” The DJ Buttah-produced “Never Change” is a song that Young Jeezy would probably approve of as far as anthems go. It’s nothing short of inspirational music, much needed for the hip-hop-inclined youth in today’s tough economic times.
In addition to varied production from no less than eight producers, Skeme gets guest appearances from Young Money‘s Tyga and a who’s who of L.A.’s rap world. Dom Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar and Kent Jamz of Overdoz all have solid contributions but don’t outshine or compromise Skeme’s project in the process. Even on the TY$L-assisted and Roosevelt-produced “She Bad,” Skeme manages to avoid the cliché trap. The song, like many others on the project, will inevitably find its way onto radio.
Although today’s rap game is crowded, and the fertile ground that is Inglewood is no exception, the powerful music found on Pistols and Palm Trees could prove to be Skeme’s equivalent of So Far Gone in terms of setting up his career.
Rating: 4 out of 5