[ALBUM REVIEW] “A Holla” Taps Into The Gift and Curse of “The 27 Club”
Always looking to be ahead of the curve with content I took a trip up to the North Bronx for a sit down with talented upstart A Holla who happens to represent my hometown of Dyckman NYC. Currently working on new material, A Holla called me into the studio to go over the tracks that will be featured on his first release of the New Year, The 27 Club. Inspired by the ominous 27 club which features the likes of legendary (Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Curt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse) individuals all who met their untimely deaths at 27 years of age. With that being the tone, I immediately had to get an elaboration on A Holla’s part about the connection of this group and his music.
“The 27 Club is famous, of course for misfortune but when I recorded this masterpiece I felt the only way to present the music was to capture the state of mind I was in when hitting the booth. I am 27 years old now and given the things I have seen and survived there are times when I think the end is near.”
Deep….. So deep that I was intrigued (which I am sure was the purpose) to see if the content of the music matched the concept. Much to my surprise, the track selection was crafted correctly. The opener, Rockstar substantiates A Holla’s state of mind as he breaks down a daring lifestyle of fast pace, and what some would call bad decisions all encompassed in what is known as “street life.” From detailing the hustle to the partying that comes along with it A Holla gives us the D 12 vibe from a dope boy’s perspective. Guitar heavy and loud the intro places you squarely on your toes leaving you anticipating what is next. The subsequent Don’t Judge Me track pleads to the empathetic side of music where the intent is not to glamorize but to ask for understanding for some of the transgression that may come along with trying to make a way in an environment dominated by criminality. Divulging his deepest sentiments A Holla bares his soul, touching on tragedy and the struggle as evident in lines like:
“My uncle OD with the same product he sold”
Super relate-able and organic, the track goes on to mention routes that would be familiar to any trapper which adds an authenticity to the music that is not easily found today. Leaving listeners with this request, “Please don’t judge I’m just tryna get this money.” On the interlude, A Holla paints the picture of a Washington Heights hustler. The nuances, the reality, the ups and the downs. ‘I am a fan of 90s Hip Hop but I am young enough to understand today’s sound. My goal in the music is to bridge the two which allows me to treat fans on both sides,” he says.
A Segue I come to learn…..
“This is the part of the project where the tempo changes, and I take the audience to the next part of me as an artist and as a person. I am very energetic and I had to have music on the project that represents my character in its entirety.”
On Payphone A Holla gets back to bars and mixing a galvanizing cadence which is representative of an imperative element in music today. Opening up with Welcome to Dyckman, the scenery is set as he refers to having “… Homies on that corner where the pay phone used to be……” Featuring Trilla who adds his flavor sticking to the script dispensing tales from the trap. The project continues to build towards more party and commercial records leading up to the grand finale with the street single, Wavy, where A Holla jumps into his bag describing himself as the guy you need to know on both sides of the coin.
A Holla has led on that this project is the first in a trifecta of works to come in this calendar year. Judging by the content on the 27th club he has momentum, to capitalize off of.