Rapper and producer The Quiett is back with his first release of 2017, and he came armed with an arsenal of slickly produced jams and focused bars. His latest album, 'Millionaire Poetry,' is a lengthy but lush collection of songs that show how compatible hip-hop styles from across different decades can be.
Album opener "Prime Time" starts by dabbling in the abstract but quickly turns to boom-bap. The Quiett is using playful flows, at one point referencing 2Pac's "Hail Mary." The song makes for a solid introduction to the world of the album, even if it may be a bit monotonous. Follow up "Still Got Luv" has production that immediately recalls the golden era of gangster rap with a turn-of-the-century Dr. Dre sound. Tracks like this prove that the Quiett definitely offers something for hip-hop heads to appreciate. The closing verse really goes off, and it's cool to hear this style done so well during a time when trap and electronic hip-hop production dominates.
Collaboration track "the 1llest" packs a Jessi feature that's obviously going to draw people in. Her sung hook recalls recent era Rihanna in a good way, though it doesn't match up with the rest of the song. There is an eerie ambiance to the instrumental during the verses, and this darkness helps offer a compelling background for the Quiett.
To contrast this, the next track "Girlfriend" has a slick jazzy, lounge influenced sound. Despite the enjoyable switch-up, this is where it starts to show that the Quiett's flow is a little bit predictable. Comparatively, the Kim Hyo Eun verse has more variety. The production is easily carrying the album at this point, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - to refrain to the earlier comparison, that technique worked for Dr. Dre. That said, clunker lines like "be my girlfriend and shit, I can't wait no more" show that the Quiett might just need a creative director or editor.
By the time you hear "Money Over Bullshit," you are probably searching for something more compelling and original. Instead, you're hit with undeniable proof that big-name Korean rappers and producers have heard American sensation Future. This song keeps the questionable lines coming, with "I spend my f*cking money on eBay" sounding more like a goofy admission than a true brag.
"M On It" is a sonic highlight of the album, and it has an exciting guest lineup with Dok2 and Beenzino trading verses. The song does "dark" better than previous efforts, and the gloomy instrumentation works as an effective contrast for the MCs' cutting verses. Another standout comes immediately next, with Baek Yerin featuring "Light" immediately recalling Epik High at their best. These two songs back to back showcase the Quiett's lush production and his good ear for sound design. It proves that he succeeds when he conveys melancholy. Yerin lends soul to the song, even with vocals in a near whisper.
The album starts to lag as it progresses. "My Last Song" and "U Everything" are both pretty forgettable and make one wonder if we're listening to an okay album that could have been a fantastic mini-album. Album closer "Money on the Floor" is redeeming, and showcases that playful lyrical delivery again. Guest star Don Mills stole the show and made a relatively long song feel seamless.
'Millionaire Poetry' proves once again that The Quiett is an extraordinarily talented individual, although good albums aren't necessarily all about just raw talent. The album lags at parts, and it's often clear that his lyrics and flow take a back seat to his production, with some verses coming off as cut and dry (Millionaire Production, Thousandaire Lyrics). The guest stars shine for the most part, though it's not clear what purpose Hash Swan was supposed to serve with his messy approximation of Western sing-song rappers.
ALBUM SCORE: 6.7
After careful consideration, this album receives a 6.7/10. While the production is sharp at all times, the bigger picture is hurt by a lack of focus and drive as an emcee. The Quiett can stand next to his contemporaries as an artist, and his sound can reach new heights with some fine-tuning.