In the midst of Black History Month, as well as surrounded by the racial tensions in America, Shyne On Me brings The Mountaintop EP. This is my first time hearing of him when offered the opportunity to review his project, so it provided something new for me.

It starts off with “The Climb,” produced by one of my top five favorite producers, Tone Jonez! With this in mind, I had high expectations for Shyne when listening to whatever beats by Jonez was used. For me, it was a hit and miss though. For this particular song, he got his point across, especially considering the play on the album title by naming it “The Climb.” I felt like some of the metaphors were forced or lacked at times (e.g. Pastors don’t preach at synagogues, lol!), but, like I said, he set an adequate tone for his intro track.

The other Tone Jonez track he used on “American’t” was the ultimate miss for me. When I saw the theme of this album, I KNEW this track would be used, and was excited knowing that it’s one of my favorite tracks he produced. It started to play, then the vocals came in. The mix was very poor, so much so that his vocals sounded like he recorded it in a big hallway. One of the drawbacks for this EP was the mixing, which was surprising since it was mixed and mastered. I think in 2015, there’s no way this should’ve been allowed.

Going into the title track of the EP, I felt this was a strong hit to come with here. BDunn Music gave Shyne a beat that really fit him, his flow, and his voice. Only thing I wished were done differently was how he sang on the chorus. You can hear his heart for change in people’s lives socially and ultimately in Christ in his rhymes though, which is always great.

One song that has quickly become a favorite of mine is “Broken Home” featuring Husky Hazel. When I mentioned his singing on the title track being done differently, this is a track that showed singing done well on the chorus. I personally have grown with my father in the home, yet my own father didn’t grow up with his own father. Seeing its effect on him and seeing it among many men around me is such a grievous thing to me. Whenever Father’s Day comes around, we are all reminded of the huge absence of fathers in son’s AND daughter’s lives.

The EP closes out with what I see as a glimpse of the heights Shyne is capable of climbing. “Freedom Fighter” featured an incredible beat, full of chord progression that instantly drew me in. It had me saying, “Ooo, this is what I’m talkin’ about!” The mix was good, and this beat truly fit him and even the theme of the project.

After hearing Shyne On Me for the first time, it was an ok introduction, with a few bad hiccups in mixing, and missed opportunities on some tracks, but please believe he has something to say, and within him contains the quality needed to say it. I look forward to seeing the new art that he will create as he rises higher and higher in his creativity, and I hope you all stay tuned as well.

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