BeOND is one-third of SoCal rap group Acid Reign, rapping alongside Olmeca and Gajah. Acid Reign have a new full length dropping soon, and both Gajah and BeOND have solo projects coming out in the meantime. â€œEverythingz Backwardzâ€ features 15 tracks of underground SoCal hip-hop.
Production is handled by Knox Stedy, Broken Finguz, Kush For Real, and Remy, and it is solid throughout. The beats range from funky boom bap on â€œBorn Bad,â€ Lex Luger-stye synths on â€œChangeâ€ and â€œMo’ Money,â€ and sampled loops on â€œMoment of Truthâ€ and â€œSilence Is Golden.â€
BeOND honed his craft at Project Blowed open mics,the same scene that gave birth to old school revivalists Jurassic 5. His flow has some of that freestyle battle rap style, as well as the sing-songy approach of Chali 2na and crew. At his best, like on â€œProps,â€ BeOND has a deliberate, verbose flow similar to Del Tha Funky Homosapien.
BeOND doesn’t have Del’s lyrical skills, however. For most of the album he goes for a smart-ass persona that he doesn’t pull off. His rhymes aren’t clever enough and he doesn’t sound like enough of a charismatic jerk to sell lines like â€œIt feels good to be bad/Yeah that’s right I’m bad to the bone/My skin is tough as leather and my heart’s made of stone.â€ He is backed up on the mic by Olmeca, Dye, Lucky I Am, Express, Self Jupiter, D. Rea, Re4m, and Destruct. Express gets the best lines off on â€œPunchliners,â€ one of the best tracks on the record.
I liked Acid Reign’s last album, and I thought I’d like â€œEverythingz Backwardzâ€ as well. I don’t know if it is a matter of my mood or BeOND not being able to carry an album on his own, but his solo record didn’t do much for me. It sat unlistened in my MP3 player for a month before I finally gave it a listen, and even after several listens I still am not feeling it. Maybe it sounds too much like too many other underground hip-hop album I’ve heard. Whatever the reason, while â€œEverythingz Backwardzâ€ is a competently done album, it didn’t work for me.