October 07, 2016

Matt Narks- Black & White [Full Album Review]



 Matt Narks released his free album Black & White a few weeks ago.  The project speaks on a lot of current race issues in America as well as Narks' perspective as a black and white man.  John Wagenknecht wrote a full track by track review on the album, check it out below!

Fools Lullaby:  Narks hits the ground running on this first track.  I wasn’t expecting the beat to drop that hard after that soul sample on the intro, Ryan Pryme did a good job flipping that sample, and this is a tight first track, definitely a tone-setter.  “They like Rasheed with the Techs.” Pretty sure he holds the record for Tech’s in a career, so that’s a lot of guns man.  I like that line a lot, Narks definitely got my attention with that first track.  Let’s see if he can keep the momentum going. 


White Noise: A minute long intro track. This seems like it’s going to be a politically charged record.  Narks is setting the tone with some important samples on this one.


Black & White:  Damn this is a nice instrumental.  This reminds me of Wu-Tang Forever if Drake had something important to say, especially when those drums drop.  I like that auto-tune in a different key than the beat too.  Matt Narks has a good flow on this one too. He’s got something important to say.  Those were some honest, deep bars man.  It’s time to get it right.


Kings & Queens:  This one’s a lot more upbeat.  More of a club record, or house party record. It was nice to lighten the mood a little bit after those first couple tracks, just keeping things fresh.  This track has a nice bounce to it too, and Narks does a good job on the beat.  He’s singing his own hooks too, that’s cold. And the ad-libs too.  


Security:  This one seems like it’s going to be deep.  This beat doesn’t grab my attention as much as the one others on this album so far, but that’s because what Narks is saying is more important than just vibing to this one.  Yeah, I don’t want to say too much about this one, but it’s worth a listen.  I like the concept and the way he plays with the theme, definitely didn’t expect it to take the twist it took. Pretty dark track.


Gold Noose:  This ones got a boom bap vibe about it.  Definitely more of a throwback type track than most of the album has been so far.  “Got stripes like McGrady kicks.”  Narks has thrown a lot of good ball metaphors on here.  He’s definitely showing that fundamentals go farther, he’s had a lot of solid bars on this project so far.  Who needs a deal?  Dope outro too, reminds me of Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.  


Barry Talk 1:  Everybody’s a hater until you start getting some money and shine. Real talk.


Dive Up:  This is another club/turn-up type of record.  Definitely feel like it would sound dope in the car with the bass turned up.  It doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album up to this point, but that’s kind of nice.  It’s definitely a fresh sound on this album.  I wasn’t expecting to hear a record like this on here, but Narks has been dealing with some pretty heavy themes so far, so this track lightens the mood for sure.


Bucks:  “I’m a young Ray Allen, yeah I play with the Bucks” Are you serious? Who raps about Ray Allen, especially Ray Allen on the Bucks?  This is one of the flyest basketball references I’ve ever heard in a rap song.  Count that shit up man.  “That’s word to Jesus Shuttlesworth.”  I’m done man.  This song is too fly.  I wish more people understood that reference because that’s pretty old school but that’s amazing. This was not what I expected out of a song called “Bucks.”  Without listening to the rest of the album yet, I’m pretty sure this will be my favorite track.  That hook is genius man, I love it.  Great beat too, LX has done a good job on his tracks so far.


Opportunity:  Probably the best instrumental on the album.  This one is easy listening.  Makes me think of a summer day, cruising by the ocean or something.  Got kind of an old-school J. Cole vibe to it.  Narks has done a great job with all these hooks too, using just the right amount of auto-tune, layering his vocal tracks. I wonder if he did all his own background vocals on the end of this track, because this outro is fresh, they did a great job producing this. This whole album has been well produced in general. This is a solid track, defiantly got my head nodding.


Barry Talk 2:  Show love.  


Daddy Dearest:  This track got a lot more serious after the last couple of tracks.  Narks has done a good job with that one his album, there’s been a good balance of heavy themes and then just some simply rap metaphors about stacking money.  This is another track that I can’t really say too much about because I wouldn’t do it justice.  LX gets out from behind the boards and into the booth for this hook too.  That’s a dope biggie sample on the chorus too.  


BlackBoy/WhiteBoy:  Narks produced this one himself and this is actually my favorite beat on this album over Opportunity.  Actually, let me rephrase; this is my favorite track on this album.  “Like tie-dye, high-five, nice guy, got the wi-fi too.”  That’s a deep bar, but that’s so goofy too, that’s definitely one of my favorite bars on the project.  “I had the Fubu Jersey, I’m from that New New Jersey.”  He came hard on this track.  A lot of great lines on this track.  This one is a must-listen. If you only listen to one track on this project, make sure it’s this one.   


Patience:  Good instrumental to close the album out on.  I was just thinking that the last track should have been the outro song, but Narks is proving me wrong.  This beat reminds me of the So Far Gone/Thank Me Later-era Drake.  Great ending to the album, went out the same way he started it off, just spitting some bars over an ambient beat.  “I just wanna love the person that’s in my reflection, and when I die, hope I’m headed in the right direction.” That’s a great bar to end the project on.

Overall, I thought this was a good project.  After listening to the last two tracks, I was left wishing Narks had produced more of the album himself just to hear what he could have done if he produced it all himself.  He did a great job on the two tracks he worked on, and it felt like he was just really beginning to craft a really unique towards the end there.  The album definitely finished stronger than it started in my opinion, but it was solid all the way through.  I think if I had to pick my favorite songs I would probably say “Bucks,” “Opportunity,” and “Blackboy/Whiteboy” in no particular order. Front to back though, Narks definitely brought some bars to this album.  In a world where Hip-Hop radio is currently ruled by Lil Yachty and Young Thug, Matt Narks definitely proved he was cut from a different cloth.


Written by: 
John Wagenknecht