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Evrlove Blake – Triangles, Circles & Squares [Review]

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Edmonton, AB – It just happened. E-Town’s own Evrlove Blake finally dropped his debut Triangles, Circles & Squares mixtape. We’ve been waiting on the drop of this project for way too long. So here’s the down-low: circles, triangles, and squares are meant to represent how we live our lives. We have our squares, which represent limitations or people afraid to change. And then we have the triangles. These are the people who are “congruent” to us. They share similar beliefs and values. And when we link up with them, good things always happen. Lastly, there are the circles. These are the number-one people in our lives.

So that’s a lot of material to work with for a project. It makes for 17 solid tracks (more specifically; it makes for 15 tracks and two bonus songs). And through it all, we’re introduced to the range of emotions and experiences that make up one of Canada’s rising MCs – Evrlove Blake. We’re also introduced to the circle of homies that is the Evrlove crew. The tape is hosted by DJ Deceptacon and is available for free download via DatPiff.

Evrlove Blake – Triangles, Circles & Squares [Review] - HipHopCanada.com

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The first track on the project is an intro called “1/2 Dead.” This is the one track on the project I wasn’t entirely sure of. Okay, that’s putting it politely. If you listen to this joint as an intro, you’re not getting a proper introduction to the rest of the project. An introduction is intended to give a condensed representation of the project that’s to come. But what Evrlove Blake did on this joint was pure experimentation. He got his producer, Graham Smith (aka: Evrlove Ripshred), to get on the guitar. And then he jumped into the booth and spat some bars. He was trying to speak his mind and get some truth out there. But it comes across as an ambiguous interlude. Blake gets into some details, but leaves you grasping for more. But maybe that was the point of it all; a kicker to ensure that the next track gets a listen.

The second track on the project is titled “Krow.” “Krow” is “work” spelled backwards. Neat, right? Anyways, if you listen to it, you’ll notice it seems to poke fun at that ASAP Ferg joint called “Work.” But guess what? Evrlove Blake recorded this song several months prior to Ferg’s monstrous trapped-up “Work” anthem of a banger. But Blake rolls deep on this one. As his backwards wordplay implies, this track speaks to Blake’s ass-backwards work ethic. It’s all about perception. Musically, this track gives the most accurate portrayal of Evrlove Blake. He does a ton of turned up bangers. And he does some really hard-hitting emotional vibe-out tunes. This track lands somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

“Memorandum” is the third track on the tape. And it’s the best track on the entire project. Because it’s full of feelers. And honesty. If you’re only going to peep one track on the entire project, peep this one. Drake would likely cover this at some point in time. It’s just that kind of a track. There’s even a part where Blake is all like, “She say she want the old me” And I overheated. Because of that time when Drake was like, “They say they miss the old Drake/Girl don’t tempt me.” Giggle. Snort. Also of note: take a moment to appreciate the production on this joint. I hope this kind of beat becomes Blake’s M.O. It’s spacey. It’s tribal. It’s mellow. And it makes me pretty giddy.

So by the time “Memorandum” finishes up, you’ll be in an emotional place. But you won’t stay there for long. Because Blake turns up. And things go from sad-emotional to angry-emotional with “Bout It.” This track is 10 times better than any “Poundcake” freestyle I’ve ever heard. And just to provide context for that remark: Everyone and their grandmas have sent me “Poundcake” freestyles this year. And I got sick of hearing “Cash rules everything around me.” Didn’t even think that was possible. Anyways, getting back to why this track was so dope:  Blake’s not just referencing “C.R.E.A.M” because Wu-Tang tends to increase a track’s replay value. Nope. Evrlove Blake gives us his own interpretation of “C.R.E.A.M.” And that is that the “C.R.E.A.M.” mentality of rap cats is a fugly facade. This is real emotion. In fact, Blake penned this track right after getting into an emotional altercation. And you can hear it in his voice. He’s angry. Not the I’m-frontin’-angry-because-I-want-to-be-hard angry. It’s raw realness. E.R.E.A.M. Emotion rules everything around me. E.R.E.A.M. get the money. Dolla, dolls bills, y’all.

Then we get into “All Gold,” which is another great Blakeism. Because “gold” often refers to bank. Cash. C.R.E.A.M. Bejamins. Cha-ching. But not on this joint. Evrlove Blake’s “gold” is his kinfolk. That’s the currency he strives for. This the most all-encompasing “circle” track. Blake brings Evrlove Corey F in on the hook. And it’s gold. Pure gold. All gold.

But then things get sad again with “XXIV” (which is currently competing in Hot 107’s Hot Factor program, so go vote for it here). I don’t know if you copped a listen to Shad’s Flying Colours project. But he had this track called “He Say, She Say.” His hook is all like, “I wanted to write a verse about how they worked it out/ And I wanted to write a verse about how they worked it out.” And essentially, Shad couldn’t solve his relationship issues so he wrote a song about it. This track is kind of the same concept. Blake looks at his girl problems through the eyes of his boo and owns up to his mistakes. But it’s not enough. So thus, this song exists.

As the project progresses, you’ll notice that Blake starts to replace letters in song titles with the letter X. We have “Rxght Bxck” and “XNO.” And all sorts of shenanigans like that. It feels a bit A$AP to me. Like I should spell my name “$@R@H,” or something. Because apparently letters are now irrelevant. But it works. Because these songs are written in choose-your-own-adventure format. That is, they are to be interpreted by the listener. Like when Blake gets with Evrlove Corey F and H-Town (who’s an honorary Evrlove crew dude, by the way) on “Rxght Bxck” and they rap about “stacks” and “building from the bottom.” And you realize that the “stacks” are actually Blake’s homies. And then you wonder what your stacks are. And then we get into “XNO.” And you’ll notice Blake uses the phrases “I know” and “X and O.” So the title “XNO” has two meanings. It sounds like Blake is versing about being in love with a stripper. But I think the stripper is a metaphor for all of the “squares.” The people who are so concerned about getting something that they lose sight of why they’re doing it. Like rap cats who crank out meaningless songs for the listens. They be stripping for the music industry.

In the last half of the tape, Blake hits us with two back-to-back tracks: “Houdini,” followed by “Mxrvin Gxye.” The former is an ode to a person, while the latter is an ode to a person’s music. In “Houdini,” Blake straight-up tells us that he is Houdini. And then we get into the club banger, “Mxrvin Gxye.” Picture it now: everyone getting turned up in the club yelling, “I’m ‘a hit it to some Mxrvin Gxye.” Too good. And if you listen to the lyrics, you’ll notice that Blake references a bunch of Marvin Gaye songs. At least…. that’s what I heard through the grapevine (You see what I did there? That was a horrible pun. I sincerely apologize. Sort of).

And if you’ve made it to the end of the tape, you get to see some of Blake’s most introspective feelers. Like the “Deterrent” freeverse that throws serious shade at all of the “squares.” Or “London Bridge,” which is really catchy. But deep. Because bridges are big scary metaphors for the process of getting from Point A to Point B. And then we have “Empty Glass” (featuring Evrlove Corey F and Kryple) which talks about emptiness. Emotional emptiness. A life of emptiness, and living the life of a “square” (a sad empty “square”). And the tape finishes off with “Wxrlds” (featuring Evrlove Corey F). And there you have it: You’ve just been formerly introduced to Evrlove Blake. Great look for a rookie tape, am I right?


Twitter: @EvrloveBlake

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Sarah Sussman is HipHopCanada's Associate Editor in Chief. Sarah was born-and-raised in Calgary, AB. She is a freelance writer and photographer, as well as a 2013 graduate from SAIT Polytechnic's journalism program. She writes about hip-hop and fashion (and sometimes a combination of the two). She also manages a vintage clothing boutique on-the-side. Sarah has written for The Weal, Where Calgary, Essential Calgary, and Our Alberta. Sarah started working with HipHopCanada in Jan. 2013 as Canadian Prairies Editor. She has been fortunate enough to interview some pretty cool cats, including Action Bronson, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, Maseo (De La Soul), Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest), and more. Twitter: @IHeartTART

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