Highway – “Monochrome” review

This is the full-length, major label debut from Seattle up-&-comer Highway. Emerging during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns, he would go on to drop 4 EPs & a couple of mixtapes until Brooklyn Haitian-American record executive/manager Steven Victor jointly signed him to his Victor Victor Worldwide imprint with exclusive distribution from Geffen Records last year. So given that, it was only a matter of time until Highway properly introduced himself to a wider audience by dropping Monochrome.

“B & W (Black & White)” starts the album with an atmospheric JetsonMade instrumental saying he don’t got no type of bad bitch & likes them all whereas “Don’t Lie” tells his girl not to front because she does a lot to drive him crazy with the beat having a more roomy feel to it. “Show Goes On” keeps things in cloudier territory saying all he does is rock, but then “All U Needed” featuring Ty$ takes a more moodier route as they talk about needing passengers like their significant others.

Meanwhile, “My Shit” makes it known that nobody built like him over a more calmer instrumental just before “Let Up” is a piano trap ballad talking about not feeling any pressure whatsoever even after the fact that he’s signed now. “Wake Up Early” featuring Seddy Hendrinx aims to blow his money without any worries over some hi-hats & claps leading into “Jet” returns to a cloudier vibe talking about hopping off his flight & knowing his people straight.

“Fuck-a-Rubberband” dives into spacious turf boasting that he does a lot while “on dat shit” returns to a more synth-based sound asking if you can depend on someone you call your brother. The song “Sin City“ happens to keep the synthesizers in tact making it clear he’s focused on his own path while the penultimate track “Gotta Kno” tells his girl not to worry about anyone other than him with a chilled out beat. “And Go” ties things up with a cavernous trap closer feeling’ like a heavyweight champion in his mind.

Compared to his earlier work, you can definitely hear the growth in Highway’s artistry on Monochrome & it makes me excited to see what the future holds for him from this point on. He delves deeper into the murky, R&B-tinged hip hop style that he’s been sporting ever since he came up by refining it to & stepping up his knack for catchy songwriting even though Ty$ had the stronger feature performance than Seddy personally.

Score: 3.5/5

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