(Photo By Band Camp)

Studio Gangsters (preview/purchase)

Readers have gotten a pretty good feel for Monk-bms and Rustik as solo artists via past reviews. Each brings something original and unconventional to the Hip-Hop game. Additionally, both artists have a lot of energy and personality in their music. But how does the duo stack up when they combine their one of a kind styles together? Let’s dig into their much awaited collaboration album Studio Gangsters and find out.

“2.4.7.”

The production here is sick. The heavy hitting elements and creeping pace result in a very dramatic vibe. The hook is winning too. The delivery is intense and the lyrics are modest. The verses are good. Monk is first up to bat. He has an alluring flow with creative wordplay, and solid rhymes. He does a compelling job of portraying an individual who is all about the paper. Rustik picks up the second half of the track. He too has an appealing flow.  His wordplay is on point and his rhymes are efficient. He also presents a serious hustler type of persona. Interesting lines include: “Ain’t no acting dog, I’m demented. If they swag is off I ain’t with it. They acting soft and pretending. I just jack it all and I spend it. Everybody in the Mil that’s real like damn-it boy that’s some grind. And they saying that dude so cold he never see the sun shine.” Rustik really flexed his skills in those lines. Overall, this song is a banger and a very wise way to kick off the album.

“I Be F–kin High” F/ $killz

This track is seemingly a fan favorite as the fellas always get an extremely favorable reaction when this track is performed live. The production here is of high quality. It contains a much lighter tone than the previous cut and a more upbeat tempo. The hook is great. The delivery has a nice rhythmic element to it and the lyrics are catchy. The verses are decent. All three rappers contribute free spirited flows and finely crafted rhymes. They pay respects to their favorite leisurely activity in a celebratory fashion. Rustik takes the lead, Monk follows up, and $killz takes it home. Peep Monk as he spits: “I, I, I’m so f–king high. Only got one thing on my mind. Yeah, I’m a spit some f–king lines. Cause these bad b—hes looking so fine. I’m a get it. I’m a get it in. The purp giving me that super man feeling. Aight. Let me hit that good again.” Fun and clever lines from the eccentric emcee. Overall, this song is a hit. Definitely well suited for clubs and parties.

“Fire Marshall” F/ Mad Static

The production here is an attention grabber. It includes a dominating bass, striking sounds effects like sirens, and an extremely serious vibe. The hook is fair. Both the delivery and the lyrics have a pretty aggressive tone to them but are still likeable. However, the lyrics could have been a little more imaginative. As is they are fine but could have been a bit more edgy, given the nature of the song as a whole. The verses are ill. They contain that over the top element that was missing from the hook. Monk-bms slays the first verse. Mad Static tears up the second. And Rustik rips up the third. All three artists bring fierce flows and lively rhymes. They make it known that nothing or no one is going to get in the way of their raging. Epic lines from Rustik include: “Rustik, yeah they say that dude’s a spitter. Got that fire marshall tied up in the woman’s s–tter. I mean that lavatory. More chemicals then Simon in a laboratory.  In my own category. Them dudes going faggot for me. No homo man but you can bob your heads for me. In fact that s–t. is mandatory. They running that bull. But I’m sorry I speak Spanish poorly.” Rustik went in no question. All in all, this song is a smash. Hook needs some work but the rest of the track is on ten.

“Out This World”

This is the final selection on the album. The production here is pleasant. It’s easy going while being driven by subtle instrumentation and gentle sound effects. The hook is adequate. The delivery has an interesting execution. Part of it is rapped and the other portion is done in a melodic manner. The lyrics are acceptable. The verses are satisfying but could have been stronger. Rustik is up first. He continues the rap/melody mix with respectable wordplay and proficient rhymes. Monk checks in during the second half of the track. He too works with the mixed flow. His wordplay is up to par and his rhymes are well put together. The duo get the point across that they are super star artists of a different breed. However, it feels like they held back a bit on this song. Since the theme here is about embracing their talents and individuality, they should have really went all in with their levels of creativity and intricacy. In the end, this song is worth checking out. Though lyrically not the duo’s best work, it’s still a choice song to put on and vibe out to.

**My Two Cents: I think Studio Gangsters is a welcome offering from Monk-bms and Rustik. The album has a fresh style and for sure stands out from anything else that is in circulation right now. Also, it does a proper job of reflecting Monk and Rustik’s characters. Additionally, the production is superb. They chose all of the beats wisely. The content is top notch on the more no-nonsense tracks.The more laid back cuts could have been just a tad more sharp. Final word? Monk and Rustik collaborate successfully together. Readers should not only preview the album but support the fellas and purchase it. But the link is provided for you to decide. So go rage already. Afterwards, hit up Monk-bms and Rustik via their artist pages on Facebook. -MinM