Written by @ArchbishopEddy

Edited by @DrakoBills

It’s an observable phenomenon that there is an over-saturation of artists that under-utilize auto tune. This vocal instrumentation is a divisive one, and one I will admit that sees me leering on the side of “not a fan”, solely due to the grand record it has in being under utilized by artists that abuse it thus being overall not interesting. Auto tune is an ingredient that should be handled with finesse and progression, to be used as a supplement and not a crutch nor a gimmick. If not blatantly apparent by now I’m a rather specific type of rap fan, with a preference that lends itself to that of “classical” rap elements such as lyrical depth, flow and delivery. That being said, if you are similar to me in any way, don’t be a purist. Rather, concede that there is an ever evolving sound and expansive collection of quality projects that stem from this coveted genre, and that low common denominations of music is an anomaly, not a norm.

All this said, I want to share to that I have since discovered a project completely left field to my comfort zone and was drawn into an incredibly upbeat, melodic and so sweetly produced and vocalized piece of art. Dropped on the 15th of February, Coop’s Runaway is an incredible palate cleansing, succinct, dulcet 8 track (10 on Spotify and Apple Music) project comprised of heartfelt moments and awe inspiring, passionate vocals. Coop’s Runaway presents tracks of both lyrics of somber vulnerability interlaced between deceptively seductive backed tunes. It’s a dreamy experience that doesn’t overstay its welcome and doesn’t burn itself out.

The intro track “HIGH SCHOOL” is an idyllic, romantic, and introspective ballad that sets up a good precedent for what will proceed the rest of the album. The production of this track is simple but very cleverly layered with intricate build ups, with an opening and repeating slow guitar chord that will lead the tempo of the track, followed by quick drum patterns and glittery high guitar notes highlighting the sound of Coop’s vocals at certain points. Coop lyrically hits on romantic longing, not just as far as companionship but seemingly with art as well. “Hollywood Dreams ain’t what I imagined Years went by I watched in passin I just wanna girl who has some fashion I just wanna love that’s good at lasting…” “Knew we moved far a part, but I still feel you in my heart” are pivotal lines in the track that speaks to both love, and artistic expression.

The first highlight off this album for me is the track immediately following the intro. “TOXIC” is a piercing yet gripping and vocally compelling track that has been ran up by me to no end in the process of writing this review. In this track, Coop manages to really convey passion and pop-y exuberance in a very catchy way, with certain auto-tuned highs really hitting a pleasant nerve in your ear within the first 30 seconds of the track, with the chorus resounding, “Razor blading through my life, I was so high shawty tell me goodbye like it’s your time I don’t really wanna die in the night time I had to sell my soul for the right price” Proceeding the catchy inflection of Coop’s voice is his snappy upbeat delivery of otherwise somber lyrics, something that is done very well throughout the duration of the album: “Look at the sky fall apart and I know, better off alone knew I had to let go”. It just hits you the right way.

A second highlight off this album is “Crash” featuring PrettyBoy Kelsey, a track that serves as an absolute pinnacle to both impassioned vulnerability and heartbreak in both tone and vocals. It’s nostalgic in it’s own way, reminiscent of what I can only place as pop punk (which in retrospect, I probably wouldn’t consider on par with this project, but that is a crevasse
of my early adolescent memory I’m not ready to share nor explore), and it exudes this warmth as a result, that tugs at the emotions of the listener as they succumb to equal vulnerability along with both artists. There is almost a pathetic strain to the impassioned vocals of both Kelsey and Coop as they belt out their lyrics, an element of this track that is both gripping and oddly
uplifting, especially once it transitions from the hook into verses, notably Kelsey’s as he compliments Coop’s vocal delivery with a quicker delivery of his lines: “I been doing my own thing, been moving my own weight, been ridin my own waves, been makin my own way. One of the most notable and captivating lyrics is that of Coop’s verse, “Addiction’s not what I need, I
need you tonight”.

The final highlight off this album is the tonally more heavy hitting, excessive, yet still introspective track “Mink Floor” featuring Javi. It’s a perfect compliment to the more downtrodden and somber vibe to that of “Crash” considering that this track immediately follows. The most notable elements of this track are both the much more gut punching, quickly and
harshly delivered flow and vocals of Coop that he flawlessly rides out through his verse, and Javi’s silk smooth, almost seductive and wavy auto-tuned vocals on the chorus. The tempo seems to be the quickest on the tape, and if not, the sheer ferocity of Coop’s rapping prowess disillusions me into believing so. Despite the upbeat fervor of each artists lines, there are still tense personal lines Coop delivers that are an ode to what it means to be an artist: “I been reaching for my dreams since the high chair…I aint even scared of pain but I still fear, all the people that I love seem to disappear, all the people that I love turn to enemies”.

Coop’s Runaway is a project that I, in this rap purist bubble I’ve seemed to envelope myself in, is not one I would think would catch on so easily. There are sonically beautiful and catchy elements sprawled all across this album, and it’s not hard to see the sheer spirit and openness that are inscribed in the personal, often times broken lyrics. I will say though, with the territory that this type of project exists in, it’s easy to tune out and allow it to wash over you as “generic”, or even monotonous as a myriad of auto-tuned tracks of the past can be, as there are certain points where I found myself able to tune out and let the tracks nebulously flow from one to the other. All that said, I do find this is more than an “auto-tuned” project, as mentioned by my highlights, there are gripping sounds and emotions behind every track, and it’s worth tuning into, rather than being washed over by it. Succumb to this album, do not merely skate the surface and weather it’s quirks. Run it up.