What makes an album a classic? No filler tracks. The melody and beats need to get you lost in the performance, and the lyricist needs to ride the beat. It also helps to know what the artist is saying, so you get the message. Once all of these elements are on a phenomenal level, you will never be tempted to hit the skip button. The artist Box Bennström, better known as Box!, may just have got this formula right, on his latest project, the 15 track album “Within The Algorithm”. Simply at face value, the album is good just for existing, as Box! never disappoints. Then after a couple of listens, you’ll realize how rich and dense the content of this recording is.
It all suddenly locks into place: the beats, the lyrics, and the overall vibe. “Within The Algorithm” possesses a wave of creativity that connected with me on a profound level, and just like that, the album went from a peripheral on my attention span to something I could absorb and feel a part of. I’m now hooked.
Box! has been dishing out hip hop grooves for a while now, and whether or not you are familiar with his previous work, you will not fail to grasp that this latest record possesses a refined sense of wisdom, born from experience both in the rap game and life in general. Box! talks about universal themes and personal issues as if they are one, painting a three-dimensional picture of life with all the ups and downs that come with it.
Right at the record’s start, you get that intensive swill of dark atmosphere, from “Icky” (prod. Marley Ray), through to the hard and heavy follow-up “Gang BE” (feat. Young Tax X Kid Cleveland) with its breathtaking deliveries. From that point onward, the album delivers consistent bouts of substantial twisting sounds and lyrical food for thought.
You can mentally drift during the booming low-end grooves of “Coop – Decap” (prod. Marley Ray) and the eerie futuristic licks of “Freed” (prod. Hunnid Billi). You can get fully lost in the reflective, bass-driven sounds of the psychedelic “Floating” (prod. Hunnid Billi). “Holla” (feat. Dre Eason) (prod. Dre Eason) acts as an album checkpoint, where the piano and vocal intensity ramps up that little bit more.
At this point onward Box! increases the depth of his lyrics, and the instrumental elements take on a heightened level of substance. As “Special” (Prod. Hunnid Billi) and “UtugNoLove” (prod. Hunnid Billi) sound off with some wealthy emotional intent, you will no doubt receive the connection you felt like you needed, and by the time the ominous “Back Of The Woods” (feat. Gene Green X Brent Zakie X Dre Eason) (prod. Dre Eason) kicks in, your cerebral engagement is well and truly maxed.
The patented smooth and heavily nuanced rhyming ensures that Box!’s intended feelings are always portrayed in an accessible manner. There is no question that he is pro in the field atmospheric soundscapes, with forward thinking production and rhyme schemes. This is evident on both “Stranger” (feat. Marley Ray) (prod. Marley Ray X BOX!) and “Crawlin” (Feat. EON X SWEATT) (prod. Marley Ray).
Moving forward, “Shoot My Brans” (prod. Marley Ray) and “SomeSaveit” (prod. Marley Ray), are about as focused, hard-hitting, and full-bodied as you can get. It might take a few plays for this album to click with you, but when it does, you will most likely be held at its mercy, right up until the expansive lo-fi sonics of “Expecting Nothing” (prod.AsapceG) and the hazy, soulful chill of “Admire The Fronts” (prod. AEBeats).
In a world of chaos, Box! succeeds in providing yet another emotionally digestible and largely progressive rap music product that will offer you a different view of the genre. If you’re looking for thoughtfully crafted lyricism and eclectic, creative beats. If you want to indulge in, unusually layered soundscapes with tons of dark atmosphere, then “Within The Algorithm” is for you. The willingness to immerse yourself within the soundscapes created, is triggered by the captivating weight, feel and tone Box! infuses into this record.