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The album is first full-length collaborative effort from the sharp NY lyricist AWAR and heavyweight producer Vanderslice. With each individual’s success on previous projects, Vanderslice “Everything’s Awesome” (where AWAR appears on the title track with Evidence), AWAR “The Laws Of Nature” (Vanderslice produced two tracks and is credited as co-executive producer), both artists have proven to be a formidable force in the new era of cinematic East Coast hip-hop. AWAR & Vanderslice each have a strong catalogue of releases and a history of working with industry heavyweights, and “The Winning Team” is another collectors item to add to your arsenal. Live Stream / Purchase: http://www.djbooth.net/index/albums/review/awar-x-vanderslice-the-winning-team
An obvious creative chemistry can be found on the project, as War and Slice whip up an end-to-end burner that includes lead-singles such as futuristic trunk rattler “Cadillac Grills” featuring Troy Ave, the ominous “Broad Daylight” featuring Roc Marciano, gospel-infused soul banger “Reincarnation”, and the aggressive 4 alarm blaze “Wake Up Call” featuring Freddie Gibbs.
Instead of feeling like a throwback, “The Winning Team” is a more modernized version of a classic rap album. Drawing inspiration from both predecessors and their contemporaries, this album bridges the gap in some regards, both as a salute to those that came before them, and as a testament to where the independent hip-hop genre could be headed as an alternative to the major label funded plants being forced down your ears. The album title serves as a theme of an underdog team fighting to become champions.
With a strong delivery, flow and a gift for putting words together, AWAR continues to stake his claim for one of the best rappers to come out of NY in the last decade. With an affinity for conceptual songs, and lyrics that makes you feel something, it is crystal clear that The Winning Team’s agenda is to make quality music with replay value. Though frequently labeled as underground artists, AWAR and Vanderslice’s abilities and impact are primed for a much larger audience, with music that is both accessible enough for a casual listener, yet raw enough for a purist.
Instrumentally this project is a standout. Vanderslice and Green Steez have a knack for smooth transitions between songs, orchestration, and samples; the project establishes a vibe from the gate and never loses momentum. It is clear when listening that Vanderslice has some of the deepest crates in the game with a signature sound that has the depth and power to give AWAR and his guests a canvas to paint a picture on each audiovisual. The instrumental moments and choice of samples is a unique approach and adds incredibly to the cohesiveness of the entire album.
Other notable tracks include “Hustler’s Spirit” where AWAR’s personality shines over one of Vanderslice’s more up-tempo selections with slick and humorous lines about his ambitions, NYC anthems “Rotten Apple” and “We Belong To The City”, as well as the no-drums heartfelt “Ready For The World” featuring BJ The Chicago Kid.
“The Winning Team” album begins with a hard-as-nails aggression that gradually moves to a more soulful, thought-provoking sound towards the end. The smoked out celebration of “High Grade” featuring King Los transitions into one of the groups more poignant moments on “Nothin’ Left To Say,” ending with the title track, featuring Has-Lo, who trades verses and bars with AWAR for another great moment of collaborative work.
On July 22nd, AWAR & Vanderslice’s new album, “The Winning Team” will be available digitally and on CD worldwide via iTUNES, Amazon, Bandcamp, Awarstories.com and more, you can preorder the album right now and bang it in your system, this might be one of the most major sounding independent albums you’ll ever hear.
Bandcamp (on CD and digitally) http://awar.bandcamp.com/
DJBooth (Live Stream/ Purchase) http://www.djbooth.net/index/albums/review/awar-x-vanderslice-the-winning-team