Harry Fraud - Adrift
Release Date - March 8, 2013
Record Label: Self-Released
It would be hard to dispute that by the end of 2012, Harry Fraud had become one of the most sought-after producers in hip-hop. Throughout the last year he has chalked up production credits for the likes of Main Attrakionz, Action Bronson, and French Montana, and his breakthrough with Montana, “Shot Caller,” can be pinpointed as the turning point for the young producer. After that song blew up, so did he. Fresh off of the heals of his breakthrough year, Fraud has given us Adrift, a collection of songs he's done for other artists, a number of which we've never heard before. While the guest spots here may leave a lot to be desired, the mixtape contains some of Fraud's strongest beats to date.
One look at the track listing may have you rolling your eyes, but I promise you, listening to the mixtape is an enjoyable and rewarding experience, especially if you're a fan of Fraud's production style. At the very least, one listen all the way through is necessary to decide which songs are worth revisiting, and that number is likely higher than you may have expected. For an immediate standout that you'll be playing well into next year, look no further than the first track. On “Morey Boogie Boards,” Action Bronson boasts about himself and his life over a masterfully crafted beat that shows why Harry Fraud is one of the best out there right now, and hearing these two collaborate while they're both on top of their respective games is an absolute thrill. Elsewhere, Harry Fraud and Smoke DZA team up once again following 2012's excellent Rugby Thompson on “Aura,” and their chemistry hasn't wavered yet; even a lackluster A$AP Twelvy verse can't take away from the magic these two have together.
There are a number of tracks here that will likely get played once and then never played again by most people downloading this mixtape. “Open Your Eyes” teams up Mac Miller and Chiddy of Chiddy Bang for one of the most boring combinations in hip-hop of this decade. There's another Mac Miller track later in the tape where he's alone, and the results are just as underwhelming as you would expect from a Mac Miller track. Two songs here have Wiz Khalifa at the forefront of the beat, and like any Wiz Khalifa track you'll likely find yourself wishing it was over a minute or two in. But don't worry; on “Blindfolds,” Juicy J shows up halfway through the song to keep your interest with an over the top and ridiculous verse that is true to the Juicy J style. Still, it isn't enough to completely save the track from Wiz's unbearable hook. Regardless, throughout all of the mediocre features on the album, Fraud is able to carry the tape with beats that serve as the perfect backdrop for most of these drug-induced rhymes.
Most of Harry Fraud's productions have a sound that can be distinctly pin pointed as a Harry Fraud beat. His synth choices are very airy and atmospheric while his hi-hats are mechanical and meticulously patterned, laying above a pounding rhythm section with the occasional old-school sample tossed in. Despite his readily identifiable style, the beats here offer quite a bit in the way of variation. The Rick Ross track “Cassette Deck” acts as an Ode to Pimp C, and it's fitting that C's old partner in crime Bun B appears on the track as well. Fraud gives Ross and Bun B, along with Slim Thug, a very laid back setting that calls back to the kind of Southern hip-hop Pimp C would have loved. On “Hottest MC” Fraud lays down a menacing beat for the eclectic Danny Brown to take shots at MTV's Hottest MC List, showing once again that Danny Brown is an absolute force to be reckoned with in today's hip-hop scene and that Fraud's beats are essentially perfect for anyone that knows how to use them.
Sifting through the 23 tracks here for the ones you'll want to keep seems daunting at first, and some the artists featured on the tape don't do much to change that. The surprising thing is, though, that you'll be walking away with more keepable tracks than you probably anticipated, because while songs with Action Bronson, Pusha T, Danny Brown, etc. are obvious keepers, the amount of songs that are saved from the beat alone is more than just a few. Adrift is meant to showcase Fraud's talents, and it does just that. If 2012 was any indication, we can expect bigger and better things from the New York producer in 2013 and beyond.
Well-written and fair review, great job. Saw this mixtape release a few days ago and kind of overlooked it, but you've convinced me to give it a spin. So far I definitely see what you're saying. I enjoy some tracks a lot but others I'd only come back to for the sake of Fraud's production, if I come back to them at all. I've got some sifting through to do haha.
mac miller (twice), chiddy bang, french montanna, wiz khalifa....there's plenty here that makes me roll my eyes.
I guess you're right... I think Mac Miller has a handful of good tracks, but he certainly has (more than) his fair share of bad ones too... same thing with Wiz... Chiddy and French I could do without...
I'm just saying that there's enough good (IMO) to outweigh the bad... idk