The challenge to this piece is that I am wary to draw any comparisons or assume there is any sort of specific inspiration behind the BLVC SVND sound because it is one that is so unique and memorable. On the contrary, it is not challenging in the slightest to note that SVND’s latest installation of “grain music” on CITY BOY is still ever presently high octane and feels comfortingly homegrown. Released on January 3rd, CITY BOY is an easily digestible (and repeatable) 10 track project that features a varied collection of tracks that range in raw aggression, tonally-light catchy melodies and at some points comedic bars. In conjunction with the compelling assortment of songwriting, the self production by SVND on the tape is also an indelible and gripping element of the tape. Diving into the tape with all these factors in mind, one could see there is an entertaining and refreshing misdirection of sound and tone that exists on CITY BOY as the tracks progress.

The intro track ​FINNA GET RICH is a pleasant glimpse into the tape as a whole thematically, as it exudes this egocentric confidence that isn’t lost on a bounty of other tracks on the album. Utilizing a sample from 8Ball & MJG’s ​Forever, with these rhythmic and almost nostalgic psychedelic guitar riffs, and sustained keyboard synths, the sampled bar “A nigga like me gonna get money ‘til I get rich, riding with a couple hundred g’s and a biscuit” emboldens the rest of the song as SVND spits over drum heavy loops. The production gets slightly scaled back compared to first several seconds of the track, which fits as the flow, joined with the boisterous voice of SVND, dominates the drums implemented.

Following this strong intro comes the first highlight off ​CITY BOY, a memorable style of SVND’s raw aggression on the mic is ​BLOODBATH PARADE. Rather minimalistic on production, but where instrumentals are light, SVND’s primary focus is the energy and lyrics which essentially act as a veritable war-cry to faux rappers that fail to threaten SVND. Sonically, the vocal delivery atop the drums is rather filtered and not as crisp on as the other tracks, but it adds to the grittiness of SVND’s emotion. The second half of the song is a steady incline of fury and ardor as SVND leads into the verse with “Imma pull up, Imma pull up…” culminating in the titular line “It’s a bloodbath parade!”.

The second highlight off ​CITY BOY is on the calmer side, with the track more production heavy as it utilizes catchy repetitive hooks and a West Coast style slide synth. ​I DONT TRICC is a bouncy, vibrant song where SVND makes clear his priorities, bluntly and rather comedically. Lines like “I will go the army before I pay for any mo’fuckin’ pussy…” and “I don’t have any time for these little dumb hoes I’m focused on making my dough…” for example, especially stand out. Simply, it’s incredibly amusing.

The third and final highlight immediately proceeds ​I DONT TRICC, and continues to evolve the sound of the project. We see this progression of gritty, loud vocals, to calmer, intricate, productions but still abrasive flows and deliveries, reaching a third phase with WHY U THINK DAT. WHY U THINK DAT ​presents this stunning catchy and melodic rhythm that dominates the majority of the track. It’s deceptive as it is entertaining and gripping to listen to. SVND essentially sings about his abhorrence to sharing his weed (namely joints), and has no qualms about it; “I roll this shit to face it… don’t you get the point?”. The autotuned harmonizing is alluring and overall uplifting to send through your eardrums, especially as it is accompanied with pleasant piano chords, synths similar to that of ​I DONT TRICC, and sound effects like sirens.

Overall, ​CITY BOY acts as this versatile revolving door for BLVC SVND, putting to use different sounds and energy to provide this platter of goods to experience. The three highlights aren’t to say there aren’t a myriad of slick elements within the project though, such as the memorable tag SVND uses; essentially a string of high pitched roasts, interesting vocal inflections like on MURDA ON ME MENTAL, and overall light and charming songs like ​BAY AREA GIRL and ​WHEN I WAKE UP. CITY BOY doesn’t ever feel like it declines or loses steam. Run it up.