If you’ve heard of Hassan, Astro Blunt, or the record label Rap Is Fun, you’ve been exposed to a Phil A. production already.
I had ran into his brand of hip hop and events almost 5 years ago in 2014. At the time Hassan was his right hand man, and vice versa. Phil A. helped with numerous singles and some albums for him as well, helping cement Hassan’s status as “Best Hip Hop MC”, as stated by the Las Vegas Weekly in 2014.
Since then Hassan has opened up for acts like Ghostface Killah at Brooklyn Bowl, as well as many other well known acts, while still putting out the occasional single when he can.
It seems like Phil A literally hasn’t quit hyper focusing on production and creating new projects.
Astro Blunt, in my eyes, was a local classic with it’s laid back atmosphere, often referencing marijuana in ways that aren’t even found to be annoying, which is more than a relief in recent times.
I met with Phil A. at his home off Maryland Parkway, leading me to believe his new album title, “Maryland Hark Way” may have been influenced directly by his immediate surroundings in what is essentially a very cultural part of Las Vegas, being close to the local college. Upon meeting him, we said our hello’s and got down to it.
Phil A. rolled a backwoods for him and I to partake in while having a conversation about what it is exactly he does and how it is he does it. Phil A. let me sing his praises of how unique the new release that’s soon to drop, is, and how appreciative I was that I had an advanced copy to listen to at home. The one constant I kept coming back to was it’s laid back kinda old school NY style beat aesthetic found throughout, though also his use of subtleties that create, as well as alter, moods and almost sinister vibes. Not every song is straight out creepy, though songs like “Dirty Laundry”, lead single “Grey Daze”, and even album closer, “People Don’t Care” definitely have an ominous feeling that is perfectly placed to creep into one’s subconscious.
While Phil A. produces the overall essence of the album via his production, partner Omino Jakku contributes a much welcomed alernative perspective in terms of lyrical delivery and overall range of cadence. It honestly took me a few listens to realize how diverse his delivery is, almost always identifiable by witty one liners and an acute sense of carefully constructing his verses by way of recurring themes, overall endearing sarcasm and an ability to add facets to each song that I’m not so sure just anyone else could seemingly conjure up and make it seem so easy.
The two combined have made an essential Hip Hop album in more ways than one, because it’s not often you can hear an album with such a diverse palette of forward thinking attributes. “Smokers” containing a vague wilhelm scream at the beginning of each verse in the song is maybe the best thing I’ve heard in years, one of many hidden gems found throughout the release.
I interviewed Phil A. but I mostly just smoked a lot and got super clean shots of our chill session via Tiffany Salerno. We talked about what he’s been doing and it’s basically what you should expect from someone that makes so much solid material on a consistent basis. He’s just making music, selling beats, and focusing on the preorder. He plans to start work on another new release when that comes to pass, and I for one can’t wait.
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Listen to Slump Lords new album Maryland Hark Way on slumplords.bandcamp.com and look up Rap Is Fun. Support local artists.
– Brian Gibson