Ché Noir has started 2024 off right by dropping a teaser EP prior to whatever full-length album she may have planned for release later in the year. I’m likening the Buffalo native to a Dave Chappelle stand-up routine: Though some of the specials are better than others, none of them disappoint. Even with four tracks, Ché Butta Queen demonstrates her sharpness in just a few strokes. With all of the adaptations of “The Color Purple”, including the most recent one, Ché gives her own spin on the concept wrapped in a candy overlay as “The Color Chocolate, Vol. 1”. Promoted since early December and released just last Friday, the melted chocolate on the cover reflects Ché’s intention with her raps: For them to melt in your brain.
welcome2dlolife laces a soulful beat for the EP’s opener “Peaches & Herb”, where Ché’s faculty for wordplay and multis instantly shines through. She raps “Embraced loses cause it’s shit that you gotta learn / The top ain’t for everyone only a few got a turn / You gotta show ‘em by your actions, gotta prove by your words / Got my foot in the door by knocking down the do not disturb” alongside guest rapper Ransom. The Jersey City emcee holds his own, name-checking urban crime dramas as imagery for his experience: “Pop dukes, he used to make me cower / It made me sour / Always came home at a crazy hour / Or maybe our, life was normal and I wasn’t Cold as Saint, I was haunted by Ghosts that gave me Power”.
Playa Haze takes half of the production credits on this EP, starting with the piano-sampling “Junior High”. With assists from both Evidence and Your Old Droog, all three emcees spit verses consisting of narrations about their own youthful awkwardness and struggles. Ché drops her verse to start things off; the Weatherman delivers with his trademark monotone slow-flow; but it’s Y.O.D.’s verse which tops them and shows why he’s one of the best kept secrets in New York City’s underground hip-hop scene:
West coast emcee ICECOLDBISHOP lends a hand on “Greek Scholar”, also produced by Playa Haze. This track contains a keyboard sample with dusty boom bap drums, and it’s ICECOLDBISHOP’s verse that stands out because of his nasal-pitched cadence and Cali drawl. The EP closer is “Vanilla Skies”, produced by Graymatter. Ché raps some autobiographical rhymes over melancholic piano keys and a “Dream Weaver” backdrop. “The Color Chocolate, Vol. 1” is a good listen, however it’s promotion as a pre-game is misleading: It’s supposed to be the appetizer, but only if you get dessert as a starter. Which is to say, “it’s good, and won’t spoil the main course for you”.