H: Herald A: Ark R: Returns “renaissance” Q: Quadrivium, better known, simply as Har-Q, is back with a brand new 17 track album entitled “SxY”. The Northampton-born creative, Jason Khalid Williams, inspired by the 4 elements of hip-hop, has opened for artists such as Ginuwine, Montell Jordan, Kos-One, Eric Sermon and Pete Rock, among others. He has collaborated with artists and producers across the globe, always striving to keep a balance between entertainment and education in his music. Things are no different on his latest release, which opens rather prophetically with the line: “Even a butterfly starts off in the dirt”, from the track “Butterflies”. From that moment on Har-Q never lets up lyrically, while the production sits neatly and tightly beneath his candid flow. It is an entertaining, insightful, and twisted introspective journey.
Despite the album’s length, Har-Q’s range and the handful of features sprinkled throughout the project prevent the work from getting redundant or stagnant. One of the best thing about this album is that it somehow simultaneously feels like a soul-searching nostalgia trip, as well as something from a foreseeable future yet to come.
The diversity of features helps to add to this feeling of timelessness. An overall a smart individual, Har-Q has accomplished what many of his peers have yet to achieve: crafting a sonically-rich, thematically-sound, and thoroughly enjoyable album.
The key pillars to creating an outstanding album are maintaining a balancing between cohesion and variation, bright guest spots, minimal filler, and a statement of intent by the artist. By the time you’ve run your ears over “Divine” and “Smoke” ft. Stanley Trice, it’s clear that “SxY” contains all of those elements, most importantly it’s an undeniable declaration of Har-Q as a serious player in the game.
He spits hungrily on “Cluster”, his flow is buttery and his delivery is crisp, especially on the 130_r assisted “666”. The outliers, “Lean”, with its ominous and powerful sound bed, sees Har-Q deliver a stop-n-go flow, while he goes into explicit sex mode on “Eyes Can See”.
Moving ahead, sticky verses and car rattling production pushes along tracks like “Warrior King” and “Highs”. The slower “C.O.C.” is cinematically atmospheric, with a resonant bassline and warm keys. On “Blur”, Har-Q has never sounded so natural, as he moves toward a bunch of tracks that have features.
What’s more is that he has created a raw and explicit concept that threads the entire project together; a narrative that encompasses the duration of the album in a loose enough way to allow both bangers and more mellow tracks to coexist in a uniform manner.
Lyrically, Har-Q asserts himself as a profound lyricist through an abundance of double entendres and metaphors, quotables, and streams of consciousness that threads throughout the recording. While always one to dabble in thought-provoking subjects – the good and the bad – Har-Q really takes on a new level of profundity on “SxY”.
When you hit on the superbly diverse flavors of “F.T.P” ft. Stranger Tha Great, “Slick Talk” ft. Stanley Trice and “Wasabi” ft. R.Dot and Nappz, you realize that the complexity of this album’s construction is practically mind-numbing; one listen could not unveil all of the master craft-work put into this record.
The closing songs “Get Down,” and “Yo” ft. Smiley, will entertain those looking for hard-hitting beats with memorable lines and flows. As well as for those looking for a provocative lyricist. This album transcends any preconceived notion of what independent hip-hop is, has been or will be. Har-Q is a phenomenal artist for good reason; his creativity soars light years beyond many of his contemporaries. His beats knock, and his lyrical prowess is supersonic.