ИF – “Hope” review

This is the 5th full-length album from Gladwin, Michigan recording artist ИF. Coming up in 2010 off his debut mixtape Moments, he signed to Capitol Records about 4 years later & made his full-length debut the following year with Mansion. This was followed up in 2016 with Therapy Session, but it wouldn’t be until 2017 where ИF would finally achieve mainstream success with Perception. But coming off The Search which celebrate it’s 4-year anniversary this summer, ИF’s returning to in an attempt to give people Hope.

The title track is a mediocre cinematic classical opener to the attempting to give the people something different by introducing a new side to him & that’s exactly the opposite of what the fuck he does with some far too dramatic conscious raps whereas “Motto” a cringey pop rap ballad reminding that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Cordae outshines ИF on “Careful” as they discuss the importance of taking risks to get where they are today over a trap beat with some choir vocals, but then “Mama” is a more profound moment on the album with it’s pianos, hi-hats & lyrics about hoping his mother found peace before she passed.

“Happy” is a hideously overproduced pop rock jam whining that he just can’t imagine who I’d be if I was happy leading into “Pandemonium” returns to trap turf calling his pen cutting edge when there are far more lyricists that would murder him like Griselda even though their style is obviously more different than ИF’s. “Suffice” is a weak trap infused 2-parter despite the topic of mediocre not being enough & trying to make an impact on hip hop while the Julia Michaels duet “Gone” is a melodramatic breakup ballad.

Moving on from there, “Bullet” opens up the final leg of the album with an epic cinematic trap crossover paying tribute to his wife Bridgette even though the Kevin Abstract-inspired vocal pitch-changes are distracting while “Turn My Back” is a corny Christian rap with an energetic instrumental insultingly comparing himself to Kanye West, Drake, Eminem who has clearly been a blatantly huge inspiration to him throughout his career, Dr. Dre, J. Cole & Kendrick Lamar when they’re all in a different league than him.

The song “Mistake” blends some pianos & strings to deliver some subpar singing performances although the topic at hand addressing those who think he’s a mistake relatable yet we’re all here for a destined purpose with our mistakes helping us learn to become better people while the penultimate track “Let ‘Em Pray” fuses trailer music with trap calling out those who pray on his downfall when really his music is mediocre at beat & below average at worse. “Running” ends the album with a garishly sung conversation with himself over some acoustics.

I really wasn’t expecting much going into this album & sure enough, it’s just the same shit you’d come to think would happen on an ИF album. The production pulls from pop rap, trap, alt-pop & even epic music as heard on his last mixtape Cloud although they don’t really do those sounds much justice with some sappy Christian & “conscious” if you can call it that lyrics. He really does sounds like he wants to improve his discography & unfortunately misses the mark.

Score: 1.5/5

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