FAV TRACKS: 16 Hours, Open It Up, One Punch Man (feat. Ski Mask the Slump God & Denzel Curry), Sunshine, Won’t Believe (feat. ScHoolboy Q), Diamond, No More (feat. NIKI)
The posse from the 88rising collective/label drops their sophomore effort, which is jam-packed with features from across the Pacific, ranging from Denzel Curry to Soulja Boy. Fellow 88rising members Rich Brian and NIKI also lend their vocals on two of the last songs on the album. Higher Brothers is composed of four members, DZ, Melo, MaSiWei, and Psy.P.
Although the Ski Mask verse isn’t much to write home about, the Denzel feature on the same song, ‘One Punch Man’, is absolutely mind-boggling. Curry has recently made waves with his cover of ‘Bulls On Parade’ by Rage Against The Machine on Like A Version, a weekly segment on an Australian radio station. The ScHoolboy Q verse is also a standout feature on the project. Many people write off the Higher Brothers for simply being famous due to their ethnicity and demographic, however, they have some serious skill. They may not be able to go bar for bar with the likes of J.I.D. or Denzel Curry, they can certainly hold their own with their blend of Chinese and English.
The album opens up with a triumphant beat with horns dispersed throughout, with the groups’ charismatic flows riding over the soulful pianos. The project is filled with heavy bass and cues from trap music, complete with the ad-libs and aggressive delivery. Most of the project’s stronger tracks come from the cuts with features, however songs like ‘16 Hours’ (the opener) and ‘Sunshine’ prove that the quartet can hold their own just fine. ‘Sunshine’ features a simple guitar loop with a boom bap beat. The catchy hook, “Mali, mali, mali, malibu / Love me, love me, love me, love me too” is almost reminiscent of the iconic Beatles’ hook on ‘Love Me Do’.
All in all, the newest Higher Brothers project is an enjoyable listen, with catchy bars and sticky hooks. One of the main downsides of this album is the language barrier, which is more of a personal bias than an objective flaw. Higher Brothers are pushing the hip-hop culture in China forward, and their co-signs from American counterparts are proof that hip-hop as a global phenomenon is here to stay.
LISTEN/STREAM FIVE STARS HERE: