Trails, Shyheim and Ill by Instinct are Revitalizing True Grit in Hip Hop with “Bang Harder”

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You don’t know what it feels like…” I don't know why but when I heard those words I felt inclined to tune in and listen because I wanted to know what it felt like. From the get go, these lyrics hit you like a ton of bricks in the mouth. The MC known as Shyheim kicks off the verse and isn’t using those words to gain your sympathy, he’s explaining the challenges he faces and overcomes on the regular. Shyheim puts a serious edge into his words that cut deep. You can sense there is a source of pain that drives his mind and wisdom.

It’s quite invigorating to get insight into a lifestyle not many people will grasp in their entire lifetime. No doubt the life of an MC has it's ups and downs. Shyheim brings a different kind of fire with a massive chip on his shoulder. I can’t quantify exactly what it is about his verse but it hits hard cause you want to understand the pain and the fire inside. The next verse is laid down eloquently by Ill by Instinct and has a similar tone, but he spins in some ambitious and reflective lyrics that give you a view of where a man was and where he is now. I like that these words make you think and reflect for a moment because you’ve connected with the profoundness of context matched with personality being delivered. Trails goes right for the jugular on the 3rd verse. These words resonate if you believe in hard work ethic and the grit it takes to perform and record. Not a lot of folks outside of the music industry will understand that at first but I think anyone with a blue collar lifestyle will understand hard work ethic and sacrifice needed to be successful. In a sense he is giving a lesson to the listener as it pertains to the time, hustle, and heart and soul that goes into the rap game.

It’s refreshing to hear this style of rap coming back because it triggers something in you to be thoughtful and mindful of your surroundings. Perspective is everything in music, but it’s also reflective of how you’re living today. It’s great to feel this again for the first time in ages because I now I want to go out and write a song with this kind of angst and fire. This sound reminds me of my teenhood, but I’ll admit the lyricism is supreme. There is nothing cheap, dishonest or half ass about it. You have true grit and genuine storytellers that can quickly put your mind in the heat of the moment. I truly appreciate that I can hear and feel this music, it’s not just another flipped for radio run of the mill studio production either. I like the balance of edginess and contemplation in this track and it's clear these are experienced MCs who bring a strong approach to the rap game.

The production on this track is excellent, I love the reverbed out piano roll and the beats and transitional chops to match. I felt like I was about to hear Ghostface and Redman throw down on a WuTang track, but I was surprised to hear Shyheim unload a refreshing tone of veracity on that opening verse. Now, for the first time in ages, I heard scratching on a track that was hotter than a Carolina reaper. I love DJ skills and that was rejuvenating to hear in the mix.

Self Preservation is the first law of nature. It means you must take care of your self first. Real Hood Music’s main goal is "unity" from coast to coast and that message hits right on the money on this compilation.

Look for an announcement on TwitterInstagram and their website for the upcoming Self Preservation release.


I’ve had the honor to hear this entire Self Preservation compilation and I have to say it has been outstanding and quite easily the best thing I’ve listened to in decades. Usually a mix compilation has a few songs that are fire, but every song made me stop and think for a minute. I can't recall exactly how many times I had to hit rewind so I could replay a verse I liked or a transition I loved. There is truly a little something for everyone as the styles of hip hop are all quite unique, you even have a few beats that are perfect for the juiced out car stereo system. 

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