Curtis Williams is a member of Atlanta's Two-9 crew, a group that has, of late, found a unique path with tasteful, well-produced beats. They avoid self-conscious attempts at "artful"-ness that comes with, say, distortion. They also don't fetishize the dusty limitations of old technology. The medium is clarity. We first wrote about this song in August's #DeepCuts:
Capturing this tape's sound in words is something of a challenge, because it isn't doing anything radically new. Nor does it sound like a particular era or style. It fits in with some pretty consistent themes in recent hip-hop, especially the stoner-friendly variety. It's not quite as g-funk friendly as Curren$y, nor as lo-fi, intoxicated, or self-consciously "artful" as the post-Clams Casino #based production...But there's also a spacey quality to it, where cultivating a reflective ambiance has premiere importance, rather than filling club floors or hammering with hooks.
"Face It," despite its confrontational concept, feels like the most relaxed possible confrontation, so "face it" sounds more like "accept it." It's not the kind of production sound that lends itself to easy branding, because it's about refinement, not revolution. It's not a shock to the system.
But it's also not a regression. This stuff feels, to put it another way, new. Refreshing.
Curtis Williams can rap, although there's an anonymity to his style that is especially noticeable when Vic Mensa jumps in an steals the show on "Phillmore Slim." But much as his crew's music has taken its time to find a lane, he has plenty of room to grow.