Slaine — One Day
For whatever reason, Slaine is one of a handful of artists who I have followed for a long, long time, but somehow manage to forget about for years at a time. After this most recent string of neglect, I revisited his back catatlog just in time for the release of One Day at the very tail end of the last decade. I first heard Slaine on his contributions to La Coka Nostra, and was really impressed with his work on the Black Metal and Masters Of The Dark Arts records. I immersed myself in his solo work, and found myself very impressed by A World With No Skies.
Back in 2014, I thoroughly enjoyed King Of Everything Else and his collaborative effort The Boston Project. I then went right back to forgetting Slaine existed until the YouTube algorithm started recommending his music to me, thanks to a deep dive into the Necro and Vinnie Paz discographies. I learned that Slaine had gone through benzodiazapene withdrawal and had been sobre for almost a half-decade by this time this new record dropped. His past albums always contained a heavy dose of personal experience in the narrative — you can trace his marital woes across each album — and One Day is certainly no exception.
Opening with the reflective "Redemption," the album doesn't waste any time as it delivers punchy, well written verses and hooks that range from infectious to merely decent. The list of featured artists is relatively short, and includes a lot of frequent collaborators such as Ill Bill, Vinnie Paz and the clean vocals of the aptly named Rite Hook on number of tracks. The album runs just 42 minutes, but makes the most of every second and nothing lingers too long.
Slaine's ability to write introspective tracks like "Night Will Fall" and The Day I Die" is impressive enough, but tracks like "Trick The Trap" — featuring a narrative centred on a sex worker falling into a life of escalating danger — and the premenatory warning of "The Feeling I Get" provide an appreciable diversity to the listener. Likewise, Slaine is able to change-up his flow sufficiently to keep tracks distinct from each other on multiple fronts. You can always recognise his rapsy, Boston accent but the delivery on each cut of the record is kept fresh.
The production is crisp and thick, with a throwback feel and a distinct lack of any trap influences — which have become all but mandatory these days. The Arcitype produced every track and gives the whole album an interconnected feeling. The instrumentals Slaine raps over and the minimal number of guest features makes One Day a modern record with an aesthetic and mentality from a different era. The development and maturation — as well as reflections on the stumbles and failures — of Slaine himself gives the whole record a very poignant tone.
If you're tired of sedated mumblers and auto-crooning over a backdrop of obnoxious bass and hi-hats that sound like a swarm of angry cicadas, One Day has you covered. While it dips into darkness for some of the narrative, overall One Day is a fairly positive and encouraging record — especially in the final few tracks, culminating in closer "Do What You Love." Slaine's pen game remains sharp as ever, and the material shows a lot of personal and professional growth. This is a solid rap record and absolutely worth a look.
Tenured underground rapper Slaine drops a solid new album, reflecting on a new, sober chapter in life and delivers a dozen well-crafted tracks that showcase a talented emcee who still has a lot to say. Strong flows, tight, banging instrumentals and a strong storyteller sensibility come together in a great rap record in One Day. In a trap-heavy world, it's nice to get a dose of poignant, technical lyricism on a bunch of traditional bangers. Another strong entry in a very consistent discography.
Release date: November 22nd, 2019
Record label: AR Classic Records
Slaine — vocals
The Arcitype — production, additional guitar (track 5)
9am — production (track 5)
Samuel Burke — production (track 5)
Dutch Rebelle — additional vocals (track 1)
Rite Hook — additional vocals (tracks 2, 3, 8)
Jonathan Ulman — additional drums (tracks 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
Ill Bill — additional vocals (track 3)
Vinnie Paz — additional vocals (track 3)
Rasheed Chappell — additional vocals (track 4)
Statik Selektah — turntables (track 4)
Nico Franc — additional vocals (track 5)
Apathy — additional vocals (track 6)
Locksmith — additional vocals (track 6)
Cyrus Deshield — additional vocals (track 12)
Marissa Licata — additional violin (track 12)
- Time Is Now
- Still Got My Gun
- Trick The Trap
- It Catches You
- Broken Toys
- Night Will Fall
- The Feeling I Get
- The Day Before I Die
- Con't Stay The Same
- One More Day
- Do What You Love
Published: March 11th, 2020.