California rapper Sahtyre seems to be affiliated with a lot of different crews, though it’s not clear from surfing the cyberspace waves if he’s 100% tied to any one. I’ll count it as a happy coincidence though that after I unpacked and uploaded “The Buddha 2.0” to iTunes, I noticed one of his friends and comrades is the same Open Mike Eagle that Jeep Ward featured on a show last week. He waits his fair share of the album to jump on and collaborate with Saht, but if you get all the way to the eleventh track, Eagle is there on the song “Holdin On.”
For Sahtyre who he rolls with isn’t nearly as important as what he rolls up. In repeated interviews, reviews and guest appearances throughout the rap world, Sahtyre professes his love for ganja. I suspect the man has a serious case of glaucoma and rolls around with a medical marijuana card in his pocket. Now if I can offer a side note before we get back to business, I both approve of the fact California offers some measure of legalization (even if the federales don’t) and find it absurd that they try to justify it by making only for those with a medical need. I don’t have the statistics to prove it, but I’m going to guess only 1% of the people who smoke weed in California with or without a prescription have a MEDICAL NEED – they just like how getting high feels. If they’d just go all the way instead of being half-assed, people with a true medical need would have free and clear access, the same as all blunt rollers would.
Now before this review turns into an editorial about how much state and federal tax revenue everybody could make off dropping 100 years of misguided prejudice (just look at how much they make off taxing other far more harmful products like tobacco and liquor) let’s get back to Sahtyre. His flow places him in the Strong Arm Steady realm, and he reminds one of a higher pitched and slightly less monotone Krondon. He’s a decent to average storyteller, but the topic matter never deviates too far from pursuing life’s pleasures and/or the obstacles that get in the way. The most clever thing about “Miss Communication” is its title, but that’s not all bad, because 8 Bit Bandit can still carry the song along musically. 3:45 after the first second is gone you conclude the reason he forgot to call his girl is that he was too high. Coincidentally the next song featuring Jasmine Golan is CALLED “High.”
“Two puffs and I’m zonin
Fools cain’t match, throw the whole fuckin zone in
So roll up what you holdin
Take bong rips all day, that’s bowlin
So they knowin where we goin
Once we get the tip of the zig-zag glowin
Big fat bags of the herb and the hash
God damn neighbors think I’m takin out the traaaash
Hah! Puff puff pass”
Sahtyre’s motto is “never low,” and if you think about that carefully then you’ve got his steelo down perfectly. It’s really not a surprise given that he called this album “The Buddha,” and there’s no doubt that buddha blessed it, but with so many California stoners in hip-hop it takes more to impress the listener. His nonchalant attitude often seems to imply his rhymes are only to amuse himself and not necessarily the listener, as witnessed on the title track when he “decapitates (a slut)” because he “wants head.” Ha, ha, ha. When he tries to get philosophical and immediately follows it up with the sentiment “When I die, I’ll be sippin a mai tai/screamin fuck everything in a tye dye t-shirt” the whole point of how cancer is a metaphor for humanity gets wasted. Some rappers can pull off the “blunted philosopher” quite well, but Sahtyre is trying so hard to be cute he’d be better off sticking to the straight up smoked out topics.
Production does raise Sahtyre higher up than he might otherwise go on his own. The heavy bass of “Antifreeze” makes it a good car cruising anthem. “Rock ‘n Roll” sounds more like Commodore 64 music than guitar riffs, but in this case that’s a good thing. “Turnt” would be a good song for a screwed and chopped treatment, and the previously mentioned “Holdin On” has a beat that walks the borderline of acoustic distortion without falling off the edge. To bottom line the review, I don’t find Sahtyre’s “The Buddha 2.0” an unpleasant listen, it’s just that I find myself waiting to be impressed by something other than his weed skills then realizing that’s not really his style. The good news is when he sticks to that style, he’s a tolerable Cali emcee. Maybe with some more development he could break out and be unique, but for now he’ll settle for the “Enlightenment” that a spliff brings.