Sese – Age of Aquarius [Review]
St. Catharines, ON – Sese (pronounced say-z) has hit a new level in this contributor’s humble opinion. Earlier today he released his EP, Age of Aquarius, which features 8 songs and signals a significant upgrade in areas like production, flow and song structure. If you’ve never heard Sese’s previous projects, imagine a playful, slick talking rapper’s rapper who deftly intertwines commercially familiar playboy boasts and aspirational promises with underground lyrical sensibilities.
He’s best known for his YFRWN (Your Favourite Rappers Worst Nightmare) series of mixtapes, however he’s released seven projects over the last five years (including AOA). Despite the admirable consistency, Sese has never presented a project with this kind of focused track listing. Age of Aquarius is a tight, 8-song EP backed by a strong wall of production from names like 2oolman, Beat Merchant, Vokab, Superville and Jazz Feezy. He keeps the features to a minimum, employing only Harvey Stripes (“Main Ingredient”) and Syph (“Pull It Up”). The rest is all Sese, in a way we’ve never heard before.
While YFRWN 1 & 2 were all out lyrical assaults meant to demonstrate his ability to go toe-to-toe with anyone out, they never felt this coherent or complete. On Age of Aquarius, Sese focuses less on haunting your favourite rappers and more on delivering complete songs with higher replay value.
Another impressive aspect of AOA is the way Sese plays with different flows (“Faded”, “Water Kill Fire”, “Red Cups”). This creativity creates a dynamic listening experience. On past projects, Sese fell victim to the Eminem-style “rev up” flow that found him starting a verse with a reasonable pace and quickly increasing his words per bar until he was full out sprinting through verses. While that isn’t a skill to scoff at, it tends to produce songs that can be a bit intense for the average listener to digest: it becomes an exercise in keeping up instead of following along. Consciously or otherwise, Sese avoids this on AOA. His pacing is stylish and cool, leaving enough room for his punch lines to connect instead of going over listeners’ heads.
I paid $10 for Age of Aquarius and I’m glad I did. Donate whatever you deem worthy via Bandcamp.
Written by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown