Home Is Where the Art Is
Probably best known for his 2008 album Sacrifice, as well as his jazzed-out side project Bop Alloy (with Marcus D), Maryland emcee Substantial returns with a new, largely autobiographical project overseen by the much-loved producer Oddisee. Uninterested in high-end flossing or glamorizing thuggish buffoonery, he prefers to rhyme about family situations ("Make Up Sex" and "Umoja"), as well as the triumphs and tragedies of city living ("See Hear," "Neighborhood Watch"). Down with both QN5 and Mello Music Group, he enlists a gang of quality collaborators, including Steph the Sapphic Songstress, Deacon the Villain (from CunninLynguists), DJ G.I. Joe, and Kenn Starr. The beats are consistently chill, mid-tempo, and sample-heavy, the ideal backdrop for Sub's highly relatable everyman vibe. While not likely to fill up the dance floor anytime soon, this is simply good, straightforward hip-hop from an underrated dude who's been steadily making music for more than a decade.