Grieves – The Confessions Of Mr. Modest

4 out of 5

Label: Rhymesayers

Produced by: (?)

Ridiculously slick, chameleonic hip-hop from poet and party man Grieves.

The Confessions of Mr. Modest is only about a half-step removed from a radio-ready album for a Rhymesayers release. Grieves can’t help himself to an extent, favoring light, breezy hooks with an electronic edge that lend themselves to perky singalongs like Out of My Mind and I Ate Your Soul, which like their autotune and bad boy lyrics about being unable to help oneself from being their naughty selves. The production is slick as heck, and the tracks are undeniably catchy; but the line is fine, and when Grieves can pursue his darker impulses more sincerely, that slickness is married to deep beats and soul and poetry in exciting, engaging ways. The line is so fine it can be hard to discern, to the EP’s benefit: it’s a seamless ride from front to back – despite being extras of sorts from the Together/Apart sessions – moving from fantastic visual metaphors like Ghost Ship to more contemplative pieces like Heartstroke; darker thoughts on Smile For the Blade; the street-level Windchill; but then also those aforementioned poppier bits. Grieves flits back and forth, rhyming and singing, and as a lyricist, he’s on point: he’s consistent with his metaphors, and doesn’t waste lines on garbage rhymes.

On the surface, The Confessions of Mr. Modest is great, but after a while it starts to feel a little unnecessarily flashy. It’s part of that radioplay shine, which undermines some of the darker emotions running through the EP, and makes one wish Grieves leaned more toward simplicity at points.