OGTHAGAWD + Josephfiend Link for Unexpected Summer Tape, ‘LIFE OF A GHOST 2’
Evan Dale // July 6, 2021
From its opening keystrokes, crafted and delivered by the steady hand of producer and all-around creative, Josephfiend – who also produces the rest of the project – OGTHAGAWD’s LIFE OF A GHOST 2 breathes of a rangy newness steeped in tradition that defines the entirety of a burgeoning Nashville hip-hop underground. Jazzy influence, Southern roots, lyrical depth, and experimental nuance in its production and in the deliveries of its fronting artists grant the scene an emerging signature that leaves its listeners from the old-school and the new, and from any corner of the hip-hop multiverse, eternally entertained and intrigued. A creative renaissance spread beyond simply the music that Nashville is and perhaps isn’t yet widely known for, and into all of the creative spheres that effortlessly intertwine in a city where seemingly everyone is making at least something expressly artistic, the city is pumping out more must-listen and must-see works than anywhere else unexpected. And of them, LIFE OF A GHOST 2 isn’t just the newest, but also expressly unexpected itself.
For those that have heard OGTHAGAWD’s hard-hitting, bass-heavy, dark-matter hip-hop before, the five-track tape may at first seem a little uncharacteristically sunshiny. And that notion in and of itself may be a little bit of a preconception furnished upon his musical character by a natural sound. A deep, gravelly, and understated delivery grants the Nashville lyricist an unavoidably hard-nosed, oft-dark auditory aesthetic, while an affinity for booming bass and moody synths reinforce an adherence to a particularly hard-hitting corner of the hip-hop anthem. For reference: find some quality subs, play 2020 single, On My Block, turn it the hell up, and understand what it is that we’re talking about.
Now, it’s not that the same experiment can’t be successfully conducted with LIFE OF A GHOST 2, especially moodier tracks from the project like The One and fiend's own Bands On Me – both of which are now also accompanied by visuals – but a wavy influence across the project is shining OGTHAWGAWD in a more wide-ranging, lighthearted light. And some travel seems to thank for that. References to beachier places than Nashville are obvious enough in LA Hills and Chubby in Miami, while fiend’s production – those opening keystrokes we began dissecting with the opening remarks of this writeup – pull the project’s opening track into a more mellow, beachy rap space. And OG’s own opening line on the next track, LA Hills, solidifies the juxtapositional balance that he and fiend find in collaboration; that OG seems to also be finding within his own dynamic lyricism.
‘High as hell thinking ‘bout the times we’re living in,
I’m in LA right now tryna get it in,’
effortlessly breathes OGTHAWGAWD overtop a bright, sunshiny chord progression from JosephFiend, at first exploring his more expectedly morose signature, and then spitting some positive, ultimately removed reprieve into a summertime EP that asks for exactly that. From start to finish, that line and all of the thematic and sonic range it brings in tow, defines the project at large as the rangy kind of exploration we’re coming to expect more and more from the explosive cloth of Nashville hip-hop. In particular, because of OG’s own internal creative duality which finds its zenith to this point in this project, and the accompanying balance that he finds with Josephfiend, LIFE OF A GHOST 2 emerges uniquely defining of Nashville’s renaissance to this point, where a five-track EP feels fit for not only the bass-ridden basement rap shows of the underground, but also, the rooftops on Broadway and the soundwaves beyond Nashville’s own reach.
Keep tapped in.