From the U.K. to the U.S., Hidden Hobby Records has managed to link two hip-hop artists for a joint album. In one corner, we’ve got Scotland-based beatsmith STS and, in the other corner there’s ATL rapper Peter Sparker. Though Atlanta’s underground rap scene is often overlooked because of the city’s many famous hip-hop stars, Mr. Sparker is one of its veterans. Admittedly, I’ve never heard of STS either until this album. But hearing him here, I can attest that he’s got an eclectic mix of samples in his bag. With “Who We Are”, the two are in a mode of “show & prove” to listeners.

“Hi” starts off the album, with STS’s celebratory horn samples and Mr. Sparker declaring his arrival. From the onset, he makes it clear that he’s not a typical southern rapper, a reference to the oft-perpetuated stereotype that down south emcees can’t rhyme: “A lotta folks don’t believe I’m from the south / ‘cause I diss mumble rap  soundin’ all shit-mouthed.” With “Stop & Look”, the production includes live-sounding snares and hi-hats with Peter rapping about having appreciation without greed and entitlement. He lays down his inspiration for why he’s an emcee over the distorted bass and faucet dripping of “Speak to Me”, while on “Mister Winter”, which begins with a Gil Scott-Heron vocal sample, he utilizes a winter concept with chilling wordplay and metaphors:



Rapper HellzYeah makes the first guest feature of the album on “Sharks”, where both emcees spit braggadocious raps over some polished boom-bap. “Bars Over Bullshit” features DJ Tag, and Mr. Sparker waxes on the necessity of lyrical sharpness. The next two tracks are less than a minute each. “Bone Collector” is a jazzy, layered, Pete Rock-esque instrumental and the production on “Shrapnel” is a simple bass and drumbeat. But on both, Peter goes in on the newer rappers who lack respect for hip-hop’s architecture.

“Pathological Rhymer” is lyrically the best track and continues where “Hi” left off. Peter lampshades how, because of where he’s from, he’s not considered lyrical and that’s a big misconception. “Time Bandits” features PrevMarco and the production sounds orchestral, almost epic with its sci-fi synths. A sample of KRS-ONE explaining the difference between rap and hip-hop is used to build “Something We Do”, showing Mr. Sparker’s stripes as a hip-hop vet. “Backspin” is also a little over a minute. It’s a humorous depiction for how he’s an emcee and not a breaker while showing props to the latter as an oft-overlooked element in hip-hop.

Over a playful beat with “The Brakes”, Peter uses various pop culture references to describe his skills and flips the Kurtis Blow-coined term “The Breaks” as an anagram. “This Is The Way…” utilizes a sample of RUN-DMC’s “Rock the House” while “Revolution” is awfully short in length considering its title, and focuses on reviving the ‘90s-era lyricism. Closing the album is “Cotton Balls (remix)” featuring PrevMarco. STS’s production contains some moody bass and interesting drum programming, though PrevMarco has the better verse on the lyrical side. I don’t know if this is was a one-time collaboration, but Peter Sparker and STS do have chemistry together. They were both unknown to me before, but with this outing, they’ve shown me “Who We Are.”


Peter Sparker x STS :: Who We Are
7Overall Score