B-Side – “The Essence” review

This is the long-awaited debut EP from Detroit emcee B-Side. Most notable for being 1/2 of the duo Sidenotes, the man wouldn’t branch off until the release of his debut mixtape The Vertigo 1.5 in the summer of 2013. This was followed up the next year with A Side Called B & then B-Side Wins Again at the tail end of 2018. However, it’s been all leading up to The Essence right here.

“20 Million” kicks things off with a dusty boom bap instrumental from Foul Mouth & the amount B-Side wants until he retires whereas “Mission Statement” takes things into soul/electro turf with the help of Black Bethoven telling you to consider this as such. “Supply & Demand” is a bluesy Sidenotes reunion as if they never left leading into the almost jazzy & vivid story of the “Invisible Man”.

Meanwhile on “Listen Up”, we have Mr. Wrong & Tone Plummer coming into the fold to turn the track into torture porn with an almost funky instrumental just before he takes you on some “A.P.A. (Action Packed Adventures)” with a booming beat from Konnie Ross. The title track has a bit of a spacious feel with the help of Pig Pen reminiscing on his come up as an artist, but then “The One & Only!!” closes things out with a rock-influenced instrumental from DJ Los & lyrics about his uniqueness.

Been a long time coming, but I’m glad this day has finally come because you’re hearing B-Side at his best throughout The Essence. Dude’s pen-game is witty & I dig how he sticks to that vintage hip hop sound.

Score: 4/5

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