'Inspired By True Events' — Crook Brown: Closing Statements



THROUGHLINE


Carter: Crook Brown keeps it airtight on Inspired By True Events — very little runtime is compromised, leaving the listener with thirty minutes of raw, unfiltered storytelling.


Marty: Crook Brown’s Inspired by True Events is one of the most honest and emotional renditions of living in a tough area. He simultaneously displays the extreme prowess and intellect of his songwriting.



PRODUCTION


Carter: Each instrumental selection on this record feels meticulously hand-picked. The title track, which comes after an opening “transcript,” is an incredible triumph — gleaming, video-gamey synths bounce alongside a heavy-hitting 808-line (it’s by far the project's hardest track). From then on, there’s a number of pace changes: “88 Cutlass” is dreamy and soothing, “Goin’ Up” is soulful and grand, and “BMW” uses the chipmunk sample and highly popular, piano-driven keys as its backbone. Brown’s diverse use of speed, tempo and instrumentation keeps the listener on their toes from start to finish — simply put, the beats never blur together. That, in itself, is means for celebration in a congested genre.


Marty: Crook does a really good job at finding instrumentals that fit and fuse together masterfully with his flow and rhyming techniques. So, when Crook uses instrumentals from critically acclaimed producer SamTRax, this chemistry is as well-bonded as peanut butter and jelly. SamTRax’s otherworldly, extra-terrestrial beats are definitely a highlight of the album and match Crook’s dense and viscous flow.



WRITING/DELIVERY


Carter: Crook Brown has a way with words, and he has a voice that commands comfort and attention. “88 Cutlass” finds the MC reminiscing on family stories of days past through the lens of a cult-classic car — he raps, “and when it finally hits/I’d rather remember and cry/than to somehow forget.” It’s precious moments like these that tie Brown’s personal experiences directly to the listener. He opens a window into the soul, one that we can look into as he pours his heart into his lines with a passive intensity.


Marty: His pen game is what Crook is known for and his songwriting is definitely a bright spot on the album. His writing can take form in two equally impressive directions: a brief, heart-wrenching anecdote with no instrumental about a theft in a mall when Crook was on probation like in “Transcript 2” is just as emotionally charged as Crook rapping about his mentality while living in College Park on a sparkling and spacy beat like in “88 Cutlass.” Each song is as jam-packed with power and emotion as the next; Crook does this in splendid fashion.


FEATURES


Carter: SuperChillly is this album’s shining feature guest. On three different tracks — “Goin’ Up,” “Run My Own Race” and “All We Know” — the vocalist compliments Brown on, perhaps, the album’s strongest run of songs. My favorite is “Run My Own Race,” particularly due to his ability to layer muted notes with a wildly catchy chorus. It’s clear these two have a notable chemistry and should continue to collaborate on future endeavors.


Marty: Throughout the album, Crook delivers monologues and anecdotes about his personal encounters while living in the south side of Atlanta. With that being said, this is Crook’s key strength throughout the album. Even though features like Bibi Bourelly and SuperChillly do add a layer of polish to the song, I feel that the features derail the focal points of the album.


MESSAGE/CONCEPT


Carter: Inspired By True Events is a musical icebreaker, a lengthy introduction, and a mechanism for telling personal happenings all rolled into one. “Transcript 1” provides the listener with a short bio — this is a bold, in-your-face attempt at prefacing himself as an artist, but it works beautifully. After four tracks, we’re presented with “Transcript 2” — easily one of the album’s high points — as Crook Brown tells the story of his incarceration with the same clarity as every song before or after. These are the project's backbones — Brown is as good of a narrator to his own life stories as he is a rapper. In essence, they’re one and the same, which is exactly what makes this album such a promising sign of things to come for the College Park native.



FAVORITE MOMENT


Carter: The transcripts are so simple, yet so polarizing, and two tracks, “Run My Own Race” and the title record, are perfect — the beats, features and delivery are flawless.


Marty: Even though I highlighted this before, the “Transcripts” of the album really showed the persistence in his temperament and showed how this album isn’t just about great tracks, but about the experience and beauty of human growth.