I’m still new to this scene. This is to say I still have to fine tune how acutely I keep my ear to the “streets” and sift through various @ names, threads and playlists. I’m extremely blessed to be on a platform that allows me both the challenge and opportunity of enveloping myself into this world that only expands further the more I peel the layers back.

That being said, I have a surface level understanding of the scene around my own community and the buzz it has, if any at all. Among the $onoma’s, Terra gangs, CROWLIFEs, Multiplexes’ etc. that have made waves both in the scene and beyond thanks to social media, is another stand out artist I’ve luckily discovered through a mutual photographer friend of mine. Slator Blacc, a Phoenix based artist, has recently dropped his project Black Foot Ronin, an album that leans toward the likes of a smooth, wavy aesthetic comparable to Goldlink, Joey Badass, Mick Jenkins, even early Kendrick if you were to be so bold.

It’s a deviation from the grimy 808 heavy trap instrumentals or somber guitar sample lead productions that have a prevalent occurrence in the underground scene. This album is a palate cleansing fusion of what seems like vast and time tested influences. There’s an insurmountable amount of depth that Black Foot Ronin wields. There is indeed an old soul in Slator, and it shines clearly and transparently on the project.

I’m hesitant to draw comparisons, because while sonically familiar in sound, Slator is an act all himself. Despite this, not to detract from Slator, there is an evident amalgamation to his sound that can be perceived as dripping with the influence of the Underachievers, TDE, Noname, Vince Staples and many more rappers’ rappers. And I’d be quick to say, Slator Blacc is a rappers’ rapper.

The 13 track (12 on Soundcloud) project comes with a very alluring intro Noir, a slow tempoed wavy instrumental track with quick spitting by Slator, a feat of lyrical and flowful acrobatics that persists completely throughout the project. Proceeding this is the first big highlight off the album, Done Told Y’all: a catchy, pseudo jazzy, densely produced (thanks to Dylan Turrner & Melikxyz) track whose spirited drum pattern and piano chords dominate the beat amidst Slator’s soulful vocal delivery. Another highlight comes with Innocence, a bar heavy, aggressively spit, chaotic string instrument dominated track that has Slator starting at 100 with no sign of weaning. The last highlight off this project comes with Seigel Sweets: a track sent from the past with a dulcet guitar sample and a rhythmic boom bap-esque drum pattern. This track also has a seductive beat switch that makes all the more versatile.

As I’ve said before, Slator Blacc has an old soul. Black Foot Ronin hits your ears and you can immediately recognize that this man is a student of the game first. Not to mention, despite the few highlights I’ve mentioned, each track is paced well, produced well, and isn’t forgettable. Black Foot Ronin leaves a lasting impression, due in part to it’s familiar nature that

Slator exhibits, but also in part to the dense production on the pproduction. The instrumentals are layered and complex, and Slator as a vocalist has a silver tongue and precision flow, with a ton to say. I’ve combed through Black Foot Ronin several times now, and there’s still much more to digest. Run it up.

Stream the project below.