New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
In just seven months after releasing "The Night Shift", Oakland Hip-Hop artist John Brooks follows up with "O.T.". Unlike its predecessor, a blend of soul and Hip-Hop, the new seven track EP is riddled with unapologetic aggression.
"Consistency is the key", a phrase from his previous release seems to be the driving force behind the artists' methodology. Over the same duration between his most recent projects, the Steadfaster Media recording artist has delivered 22 videos, a documentary and has been featured on several collaborations on songs with, Bishop Lamont, Uptown Swuite including the most recent collaboration "Flip On Me", a soulful anthem produced by Digital
Martyrs that featured fellow Oakland recording artists Mikial and Kalasol. This album roadmap is a glimpse into the anatomy of "O.T." by John Brooks.
1. "Intro (N'geke Ngengeru)" : Staying true to his theme of consistency, the album begins with Mr. N'geke Ngengeru, the manager who fires John Brooks on his last album, "The Night Shift". Brooks is cautiously welcomed to the overtime (O.T.) shift and advised to "not get fired, again." The intro uniquely captures the world between hilarity and seriousness. Steadfaster Media founder and executive creative director, Michael Tembu Ndah is credited with vocals.
2. "O.T." : The title track appropriately sets the theme of the album, starting off with a cinematic melodic synth. Elements that contrast "The Night Shift" are apparent by the when the double timed drum pattern is introduced and remain relentless throughout the song. The rapper's straight forward approach on "O.T." embodies the persona of the average working American; frustrated and possibly at end's wit in pursuit of a more profitable venture. Steadfaster Media and John Brooks tapped the skill of the Khemist, an LA. based producer currently assigned Interscope's roster to produce the track.
3. "Back Home
" featuring Mani Draper: The DJ Flow produced track is emphatically Hip-Hop with sweltering drums married to simplistic yet complex piano chord progressions. John Brooks delivers a scathing notice to "trend chasers"; "Negro please/we OG's/ You got Lil' Yacthy/We got J to the Z/ Nas, Cole, Mr. Fab, 40, Kendrick and Me". Mani Draper is compliments the song with profound wordplay and a heightened sense of Hip-Hop excellence. "Back Home
" lends a tip of the hat to Hip-Hop purist, a highlighted theme throughout the album.
4. "Fair Warning": With erie, droning choir chords spearheading the track, "Fair Warning" sets a tone of "on notice. Here, Brooks appears in a virtual combat mode reminiscent of great emcees in their most memorable cipher battles. Frequently outspoken about the apparent lax in crafting one's skill for the art of Hip-Hop, Brooks muses, "All you boys got the same thing in common,your sound/ Too many new editions, only one Bobby
Brown". At time of the recording of the J. Daws produced track, there where thoughts of including the song on another untitled upcoming album. However at the final listening session of the album "Fair Warning" won a unanimous vote to be green-lighted for "O.T.".
5. "Forgot To Love" featuring Jayne Rio and Dru of ANAK: With Sultry vocals by songstress Jayne Rio accompanied by Dru of the group ANAK, John Brooks enters an arena of heartbreak. "Sometimes, the weight of the world can be too much to handle. When chasing success, tandems often fall astray. Everyday, so busy in life that a person falls back. You can do everything right but lose sight of what's most important in life and eventually...", Brooks laments over the intro of the song. This precursor in the narrative is materialized quickly in the first verse and proceeds to a robust and detailed account of the story. "Forgot To Love" is produced by DownTownMusic.
6. "They Shoot Us, We Shoot Us": Here, John Brooks again taps L.A. based producer The Khemist to orchestrate his thesis on today's most notorious social issue, police brutality. Brooks weaves through the duality of perspective and introspective, delivering elaborate life-like lyrics painting the story from positions of a man and a man behind the badge. Gated hi-hats rattle alongside a rich piano chord before a seamless bass line and kick drum are introduced.
7. "Crooked Police" featuring Uptown Swuite and Poetik: Brooks' attack on injustices and corruption within the fabric of America
spill over on to this Digital
Martyrs produced track, this time appointing the aid of fellow collaborators Uptown Swuite, the famed Vacaville emcee and Poetik, a key founder of the Samoan Hip-Hop scene. The combined intellect of the three emcees culminates into an abyss of the sobering reality regarding police brutality. Imaginary scenarios of role reversal are sculpted with charged rebuttals of power and resistance. Despite recanting events such as that of the slain of Oscar Grant and the suspicion behind 9/11, the album ends on a powerful and uplifting note.