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Heartbreak Hutch & Bluflame James – LIVE FROM THE WOODS (Album Review)

Heartbreak Hutch and Bluflame James are easily becoming one of my favorite rap/production tandems in the underground Carolina scene. It started with their chemistry on the song “Energy” from Bluflame James’ album Digital Danger. The similarity in their style aids the beat selection which seems to be tailored to their cohesion. Their latest full length collaborative project LIVE FROM THE WOODS shows just how sanctified that connection truly is. 

One strong similarity with these two artists  is their use of arrangement. Every song has layers. They incorporate symphonic vocal arrangements, multi-tonal harmonies,  and structure to their songs and projects. They even corporate classic skit based interludes that each add their own ‘transitional flavor’ to the album.

The mostly in-house produced LIVE FROM THE WOODS features a 10 song tracklist that doesn’t disappoint. A few qualities in the album that standout in certain songs, but exist throughout are: their storytelling, wisdom, wordplay, and once again, the arrangement of each song. A reoccurring theme in the album is using retrospection to elevate in the present day. 

Bluflame and Heartbreak bring those messages home through the power of storytelling and painting vivid pictures of what influences them. “Plays” and “Sirens” represent that quality in their own unique rite. “Plays” lies more on the strength of betting on yourself and keeping faith in the process. However “Sirens” paints the grim picture of the dark thoughts and possibilities that occur when you are down and out. 

Just as much as each song holds specific life situations that the guys flip into lyrical imagery, they also provide lessons and words to live by. Tracks like “C.A.B”and “Cell Jr.” harbor concepts that revolve around self acceptance and the security of staying true to yourself amidst adversity and circumstances. Fast forward, and we have “Either Way” which hits on the fact that we have many paths and parallels in life, but either way, you must make the most of it. #GxldApproved lessons to live by.

Lyrically, both artists possess effortless, suede-smooth rhyme styles, filled with cadence switches, vocal changes, and a fluent pen game.

One of my MANY favorite verses on this project from each artist is:

Blueflame James

Soon I figured out the best f**g way
to not do half, but the rest of the way
and keep my passion and neck above payment
but still get sick if the green go missin
niggas tryna take, til their teeth go missin
even in a suit, they’ll steal your image
so I gotta show em what’s up
every 16 gotta hood my nuts

Bluflame James on “Cell Jr.”

Heartbreak Hutch

If I got caught up, with two policemen on the deep end
with my head to a shotgun, leave me in cold blood on the weekend
that’s sad right? Happens often
and you a target
unless your skins white as the moon, or you above it
and here’s your coffin, cuz you too focused on goals
I can be the nigga in the mask right at your door
with a Glock 4-5 aiming right at your dorm
I’m screamin (get it on the flo’ get get it on the flo’)

Heartbreak Hutch on “Eitherway”

Overall, LIVE FROM THE WOODS is an exemplary #GxldApproved release of cohesive collaboration, well balanced presence, and a fusion of their individual influences in execution and soundscape. Each song with its own wave, message, delivery with the anchor of Heartbreak Hutch and Bluflame James’ almost synchronized styles.

New Music Radar song: “C.A.B”

Heartbreak Hutch & Bluflame James – LIVE FROM THE WOODS