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Da Kreek- Clock In (Flight Shift)

June 29, 2011

Youngstown, Ohio-based rappers and producers, Da Kreek dropped its  latest mixtape June 28. Even with the many advantages of the internet and the world of social networking, it is still challenging for new artists to attract fans sometimes. Da Kreek may be on the verge of up-and-coming and have a tremendous amount of potential, but it is not free of errors.

Clock In (Flight Shift) grows stronger track after track; the production becomes more sophisticated the closer it gets to the end. However, Da Kreek’s biggest strength also highlights its weaknesses. Members, DTown and Mello Dee, are talented and skillful producers, but less impressive as rappers. Their flow and delivery is on point, at times even slightly reminiscent of the  rapping style of many MCs in the ‘90s. The content of their lyrics is the biggest issue. While Da Kreek wishes to distance itself from gangsta rap clichés, it doesn’t make much of an effort to distance itself from other rap clichés (materialism and womanizing). At times, Da Kreek comes off as an imitation of all that is cheapening hip-hop on the mainstream stage, instead of a better alternative to it.

“Material Thangs” is a criticism of people’s wasteful spending, yet the duo contradicts itself by bragging about being rich and getting money throughout the mixtape. The weak wordplay and lack of substance in Da Kreek’s lyrics lower the quality of its music. What makes a rapper most powerful is his or her’s message. What does the MC have to say? It doesn’t seem as if Da Kreek have much to say. “Somewhere,” “Eagle Eye,” “Dizzy” are Clock In’s strongest songs lyrically, (although the repetition of lyrics in the chorus of “Dizzy” is unnecessary). Tracks such as “Wings & Propellers (Fly Fly Fly)” and “DumbFlyStupidFresh” are impeccably produced. DTown and Mello Dee are stronger beatmakers than they are lyricists. Also notably impressive are the smooth transitions, as each track slides into the next. The duo’s production skills could take them to the very top in hip-hop, but if it wishes to comfortably earn a place as respected MCs, they’ll need to strengthen their songwriting and lyrics.

Clock In would work much better as an instrumental project. The originality and catchiness of Da Kreek’s beats are its most powerful assets as an artist. It’s very easy to imagine ’96-era Nas rhyming over the “Eagle Eye” beat, while “Material Thangs” sounds like a College Dropout-era Kanye b-side. Despite negative criticism, there is potential in their rhyming, and once they are more seasoned, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the world of hip-hop.

(Click image below to download the mixtape)

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