Revival Season are here with a spectacularly fun and dense rock-based rap album that goes much further creatively that you’d expect from that subgenre label

Release date: February 23, 2024 | Heavenly Recordings | Instagram | Bandcamp

I wanna take a quick minute to shout out the people that send us rap albums ahead of release to review. One thing I’ve wanted Everything Is Noise to be taken more seriously with is our rap and hip-hop coverage, especially with a handful of us ready, willing, and excited to cover stuff from all around the genre. I myself have already covered three rap projects this year and I intend on doing waaaaaay more throughout the next 10 months and beyond. Those of you in the industry paying attention to us, send us your hip-hop and adjacent artists, please and thank you!

With that said, I’m happy to talk about today’s subject because they’re new (to me), cool, and emblematic of rap’s versatility and impetus. Revival Season is a duo from Atlanta made up of producer Jonah Swilley and rapper BEZ (pronounce each letter as in ‘be easy’). Together, they construct a new side of ATL’s rap scene, across the street from the JIDs and 21 Savages that get more of the immediate attention. Nothing against them – Atlanta is broad and verbose with its musical talent and I love them all – but Revival Season got something else for us.

Golden Age Of Self Snitching is a debut album and yet another one that’s remarkably strong for being a first full-length effort. Swilley and BEZ aren’t new to the game though, with the former producing for other projects like Mattiel, Moonwalks, and Night Beats; and the latter, well, clearly this isn’t his first time on the mic. Complete with live drumming by Jordan Manly (Mattiel) and Rupert Brown (Roy Ayres, Raf Rundell), some sampling, and the overall spirit of a rock band, it’s easy to see why (and how) Revival Season channel and cite classic albums like Beastie BoysPaul’s Boutique and Handsome Boy Modelling School‘s work as influences.

That’s one of the most versatile and, honestly, underutilized permutations of hip-hop I can think of. Me and Dan talked about it a bit in our Paris Texas review last year, but using rock instrumentation to lace your beats to fly over vocally is great. Revival Season do things ‘backwards’ too with BEZ rapping his ass off and sending the results to Swilley who then builds the beat around his voice like it’s another instrument to mix and produce with. Given rap’s rhythmic tendencies and dependencies, I imagine that’s a fun endeavor for an experienced and learned producer like Swilley. It results in Golden Age Of Self Snitching feeling fresh, real, and diverse as hell while still rooted in Atlanta’s deep history in Southern rap.

“Pump” was the first track I heard from the band, brought on by me seeing this album on our review list. It’s a punchy track with a prominent, tough vocal sample in the hook and brolic verses from BEZ and guest Shaheed Goodie. A strong beat makes it ones of the most danceable tracks on the album and, unless you’re in a neck brace or dead, nodding your head is a must. Track got me wiggling like that one dance otters do for some reason. “Everybody” is another great track with a more chill vibe production-wise which is great because it leaves BEZ’s message louder and clearer: stop fucking telling on yourself! True to the album’s title, we are in a golden age of self-snitching given that a lot of people can’t help but post incriminating-ass things on social media for clout, attention, or intimidation, not to mention how rap lyrics are being admissible in court to put rappers away for years and years, a practice I obviously don’t fucking agree with (this is for Dan – FREE YOUNG THUG). As BEZ raps, ‘might as well send it to the cops‘. At least get arrested for something cool like rioting or assassinating fascist government officials (for legal purposes, this is a joke). The song’s video is a fun time as well. “Chop” is a complementary track to “Everybody” so peep that if you like it.

“Propaganda” has a warm reggae affectation which I really like – another underutilized permutation of rap (we’re a long way away from Spice 1‘s “Smok’Em Like A Blunt“). No Jamaican patois from BEZ though, just a consistent double-time rap that I find a bit hard to follow, especially with no lyrics available, but it’s clear that the song has an empathetic soul to it, challenging status quos and systemic oppression. One thing that sticks out are lines about how we build new prisons when we could, and should, have built a new school (or two or three). The overpolicing of America hits much different in Atlanta nowadays with the threat of Cop City looming over the entire city and surrounding metropolitan area’s head, and stopping it is something I’m sure the duo is passionate about as it could spell absolute doom for their communities. Maximal solidarity to all of those working to stop it and Rest In Power to Manuel ‘Tortuguita’ Terán, a peaceful protestor of Cop City murdered in the coldest blood by cops in January 2023.

“Eyes Open” is a similarly seated track with a neat groove and reality rap lyrics about the drug game and criminal justice system. There’s a few bars here that really speak not only the truth, but from the heart of where BEZ sits as well (forgive me for misquoting any of these):

‘And the fight for legalizin’ the flower is still a slow one
But I still make a jam for the smokers, answer to no one
Wanna lock us and gun us down then COINTELPRO us
So every time I choose Black Panthers over the poets
We ain’t talkin’ ’bout the mission of bidness, the meetin’ over
You can’t have no sit-down with yes men and janky promoters
Cube said ‘fuck tha police‘, that shit ain’t over
‘Cause they still pull you over when they tryna hit the quota’

I’m talking a lot about themes, but I also wanna talk about vibes and feelings too. What I love about Golden Age Of Self Snitching is while there’s a variety of sounds on here, that do indeed harken back to something like Paul’s Boutique, the general vibe is an upbeat one. The type of sauce you get just depends on where in the tracklist you’re at. “Look Out Below” has the energy of a driving indie rock song you’d hear on the radio in the 2000s and it acts as a launch pad for the LP with thick, fuzzy bass and synthetic touches – it’s almost like a Le Tigre track now that I think about it. It’s classical for me as a millennial, and yet wholly their own sound in the realm and context of hip-hop. “The Path” is a more anxious take on things with a dependency on bass and snappy drums – it’s a darker track than most, but still vigorous, not downtrodden. There’s a great rhythm to it that makes it catchy along with BEZ’s vocal cadence especially on the hook.

Real shit: the combination of white producer/Black rapper(s) is undefeated and it’s a pantheon I could see Revival Season joining. Killer Mike and El-P, Marco Polo and Masta Ace, Injury ReserveChiddy Bang? All of those groups do their own thing just like Revival Season. Golden Age Of Self Snitching is a profoundly promising sonic missive of experimentation that doesn’t lose the plot, it’s something that retains plenty of digestibility and a message to be openly gleaned from it. And the best part is you can tell Swilley and BEZ are having a blast with it which makes it exciting to showcase and write about in the first place. Rap fans, don’t miss out on this duo – this could be your new favorite album.

David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez

"I came up and so could you, and fuck the boys in blue" - RMR

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