Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Cortez EP by Art Cortez (As I Listen, I Review)

     Recently, I have been wanting to add a new segment to the wonderful site that is The Under-Cover Album Review. Being a full-time college student, I knew I had to find something that would maximize efficiency, and still make for an interesting read. As I was on the phone with my brother, Mike Ramsey, he suggested that I write a review of an album, as I listen to it for the very first time. The idea sat in my head for a bit, but I decided...what the hell. So without further ado, I present the very first edition of the brand new segment, As I Listen, I Review. I urge everyone reading to listen to the album, as you read the review, and comment your experience or thoughts on the segment. Thanks!

     The lucky album that was chosen to be the test dummy for this new series is The Cortez EP by California native Art Cortez. This album was chosen simply because it was the most recent submission, and because I found the album cover simple, yet interesting because the Nike Cortez is a sick shoe! This release is Art's first official release, and I, Vinny Sciascia, have never heard any material from this album, so here goes nothing!

     The intro track "King Arthur" is a smooth and dark feel to it. Cortez has a pretty decent flow and voice to him, and my initial thoughts are that this album could be pretty sick. Cortez seems to have some pretty educated lyrics, and the beat on this track is great! That being said it is under two minutes in length, so the ending did catch me by surprise.

     Next up is the track "$$$ Make The World Go Round" and the vibe is a tad bit different than the previous track, and I feel as if Art has a similar voice to underground artist Chris Faust, which isn't a bad things by any means. The chorus on this track isn't anything too great, kind of cliche' in the sense that it is just talking about money. That being said, Cortez doesn't have the persona of a rapper who focuses on cliche' topics, and I'm sure those listening with me will understand what I mean by that. Another quick track, and we're on our way to track three!

     The third track on this album is titled "4U" and again the beat is pretty solid! Lofti handled all production on this album, and he's done an admirable job so far. Cortez has a very underground vocal style, he isn't overly energetic on his tracks, but the mood in his voice fits the production style fairly well. That being said, he's back to the cliche' lyrics, and the lyrics don't fit this beat or his tempo at all.

     Three short tracks in a row, and we're onto number four. This one is titled "I Need That" which features MC Young. I'm personally not familiar with MC Young, so this could go either way, though I do believe that this track will need to be a bit better than the previous two in order to keep me, or many other listeners interested. On that note, another smooth, and serene beat by Lofti! MC Young is the first verse on the album, and he's not too bad by any standards. Young has a soft and raspy voice that fits the mold of the beat. The hook to this track is a little simple, and even talks about "being on a grind." Cortez had the second verse and it was pretty fair. Nothing that has really stood out thus far other than the intro track.

     Now I'm on track five of twelve, and this track features Finite (another artist I'm not familiar with) and it's titled "Life Changes." An odd rhyme scheme to start the track off which I believe is from Finite. Yet another smooth indie-styled beat by Lofti. What worries me is that there has yet to be a beat that really blew my mind, just a bunch of solid beats thus far. Cortez has a flow that has been growing on me as the album progresses, and on this track, his cliche' lyrics seem to be at a minimal, as he speaks on life as a subject rather than the indulgences (money, women, weed, etc.) it offers. Definitely a solid track as we hit the midway point of the album.

     "Find My Own Way" features Aseven, making it three tracks in a row that have a feature artist. The previous two were solid, now i'm just looking for a track that will pick this album up. This particular track has a pretty decent sound. Still doesn't quite pick up the tempo of the album, which doesn't help it's case, but it is a decent song so it doesn't hurt it either.

     Track number seven, "We Winnin" as it's dubbed, does not feature an artist, but it's "urban" spelling in the title leads me to believe that Cortez could be falling back into that cliche' category. Cortez's flow really is good, he has showed me that he is a very talented emcee, and on this track especially he shows that to be true. The hooks on the album have been fairly simple, and I'm getting more and more disappointed every time Cortez refers back to "hoes" because he really is a talented rhymer, he just needs to speak on more meaningful topics in my opinion.

     Eighth track in, thanks for sticking it out! This one is titled "4 In the Morning" and the slow and calm beat by Lofti is present once more on The Cortez EP. Yet, I can't help but appraise Art Cortez on his flow, his first verse was pretty solid. The second verse, however, is very deep. This is one of the first times I've been affected by his lyrics, and he dropped a very powerful message on this track which is really awesome to hear! Now I know the guy can be lyrical as well, so all this album needs in order to be taken to the next level is a track that really pops. C'mon lucky number nine!

     "We On" featuring Solreezy. No idea who Solreezy is, but I'm surely going to learn! A pretty cool build up of energy in the first verse, which I'm assuming was by Solreezy. Then, like many of the past songs, a decent verse overshadowed by a very bland chorus. The second verse isn't too bad, but the repetitive chants of "we on" leaves a sour taste in my mouth. This is far from being one of the better tracks of the album.

     We've now hit the double-digits. If you're still listening with me, then you are awesome! This track is called "Hustle" and this beat is the head-nod creating beat I've been waiting for! Cortez's flow is still holding strong, but the cuts on this track are pretty sweet. The drum kicks make this beat, and I've noticed that Cortez's second verses tend to hold his best lyrical work. I'm not sure why this is so, but definitely a trend I've been picking up on.

     Ten down, two to go! This next track is "Like That" and the beat has a very odd into to it. Oh no, that flow I spoke so highly of previously is gone on this track. This isn't his best lyrical work by any means, and this album has been such a roller coaster of emotions. 

     Okay, last track! Lets finish strong Cortez. Well, I see Finite is featured on this track, and the last one he was on didn't resonate with me that well. The track starts with a weird voice effect, then one of Lofti's poorest beats featured on the album. Though, Lofti has had one hell of a showing with the versatile range of beats he's produced, so this doesn't take away anything from him. The lyrics and flows aren't that special on this track. Not bad, not great, just okay. That seems to have been the theme of this album.

     Wow, that was very interesting! The writing that is. The album wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything great, and I feel that artists would rather have an album that's either really good, or really bad rather than have an album that is just okay. This was the first official release by Art Cortez, so hopefully he can improve on certain aspects of his craft, and sharpen those that are above par. Please let me know what you thought of the album, and of the review. I'd love to hear some feedback! Thanks for reading!



  1. Great review...I like the concise breakdown of the album and how you pointed out what you liked and what you disliked. Good writing.

  2. Thank you P, I think these may become more common on the site



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-Vinny Sciascia, Creator & Operator