Milwaukee artist Ricky Phontaine‘s sophomore offering The Itis has been in rotation for a little while now and is getting positive feedback. The Illixer decided to join those who are listening and give it an ear for review as well. Continue reading to discover a couple of tracks that stand out from within the collective and for some overall thoughts on the LP.
“Everybody Ain’t Gangsta”
The production here is dope. The solid base, sleek background elements, middling tempo, and old school hood vibe match up favorably together. The hook is on point. The delivery is expressive and the lyrics are daring. The verses are engaging. Ricky Phontaine serves up his distinct flow with high quality wordplay and assertive rhymes. He paints an excellent verbal picture of what being a true gangster is all about. For example he spits: “These n—as ain’t bout that. Triple OG killa til I show up where yo house at. Burner where yo mouth at. Tell me how my dick taste. Give me 50 feet. N—a, tell yo b–ch I need space. Don’t make me nervous, beneath the surface I ain’t right. I ain’t like them f–k boys that can’t fight. I ain’t the type to bring knives to gun fights.” One can not deny the raw explicit nature of those bars right there. All in all, this is a great street anthem.
The production here is enjoyable. The trendy foundation, flavorful secondary ingredients, upbeat rhythm, and club style vibe result in an effortless blend. The hook is catchy. The delivery is fresh and the lyrics are entertaining. The verses are official. Ricky Phontaine laces the beat with his one of kind flow, quick wordplay, and festive rhymes. He demonstrates to the listener that he’s not all hood life all of the time, he actually knows how to relax and have a good time too. A brief highlight from his tales of turning up include: “So drunk I hit the Kanye shrug on ’em. I hit my Doug on ’em. I mean mug on ’em. I hit the club on ’em. I hit the L store. Hit a party, hit a b–ch with a elbow. See a n—a two stepping in his shell toes while these hoes sticking to me like Velcro.” There is no question that Mr. Phontaine can get lit with the best of ’em. Overall, this is a banger and the perfect joint to add to any party playlist.
The production here is pleasing to the ears. The light weight infrastructure, complimentary supporting details, casual pace, and feel good vibe make for a charming fusion. The hook is satisfactory. The vocals are soulful and the lyrics are inspirational. The verses are decent. Ricky Phontaine employs a laid back flow, first-rate wordplay, and telling rhymes. He shows love for life and passion for success in a way that is sure to impact anyone that hears the track. A snippet from his ambitious musings is as follows: “I just touched down in a town I don’t recognize. Waiting on my time. I be feeling like I’m next in line. I get up and grind. I’m addicted to the fast life. Team no sleep, so tomorrow feel like last night. I’m at the lights with the same old click. Still the same n—a. Got the same old b–ch. Young Callaway, boy I wanna be rich. I been dreaming about success since I was six.” Gotta love the finesse and hunger contained within those bars right there. As a whole, this is a noble selection.
**My Two Cents: The Itis definitely deserves the acclaim that it’s been receiving. It is a legitimately put together project. I feel like it can be broken down into three different parts: the hood, the turn up, and the purposeful. Thus the reason I chose the three songs that I did for the review. I feel like they represent the nature of the album perfectly. And I feel like all three parts create a seamless versatile listening experience. No sophomore jinx worries here. If Ricky Phontaine continues to level up with the producers he links with and works to further elevate his pen game, he’s going to be a staple in the Hip-Hop world for quite some time. Readers need to allow their ears to succumb to The Itis asap. -MinM