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Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin
FlySiifu’s James Butterworth , November 16th, 2020 08:58

The first collaboration from rising underground hip hop stars Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin proves a curate's egg speckled with moments of woozy brilliance, finds James Butterworth

Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin, hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, and Richmond, Virginia, respectively, both released a vast quantity of music over the past decade, becoming respected figures in the South’s underground hip hop scene. Now they team up together on FlySiifu’s, their debut collaborative project. It’s a mixed affair, with moments of excellence interspersed with filler over a sprawling twenty-two tracks.

The production is a strongpoint on FlySiifu’s, with fourteen different producers making a contribution across the project. Most of the beats are dreamy and relaxed, almost merging into one another such that the album frequently feels like one long, continuous melody.

‘Mind Right’ and ‘Clean’ feature melancholy piano chords courtesy of Jay Versace and Lastnamedavid respectively. The latter also produces ‘Runthafade’, which features haunting xylophone chimes reminiscent of the Mbira thumb piano sample on Nas’ 1994 classic ‘One Love’.

Critically acclaimed producer Madlib makes an appearance on ‘Time Up’, with another languid contribution in keeping with the general sound of the project. There’s little sense of urgency on this release. Instead, the atmospheric, weed-infused sounds on this album provide a suitable backdrop to the cold, empty winter nights ahead.

At times, the rapping plays second fiddle to the production. The combination of hazy distortion on the vocals, for example on opener ‘Kin’Tro’, and Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin’s tongue-twister delivery means it can be hard to hear what they’re saying under the jazz tones.

But there are stronger vocal moments. ‘Clean’ has a dulcet hook, “Shawty said do your thing, keep shit clean” blending nicely into the melody underneath. ‘Creme’s Interlude’ sees singer Jay Versace and Lastnamedavid deliver silky vocals over a jangling guitar riff.

FlySiifu’s also has too many skits. When used well, such as on Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, or Eminem’s earlier albums, skits provide context to the songs around them and act as a relief from the relentless momentum. But here they don’t really add anything, and since the album is chilled out most of the way through the skits don’t signify a change of pace.

All things considered, FlySiifu’s would have benefitted from being shorter and a little more polished in places. That said, the stronger tracks make the album worth listening to. PinkSiifu and Fly Anakin are clearly raw talents; expect them to reach new heights in their future solo work and any further collaborative projects.