Golden Child - Hatesonny Review
Throughout my years in highschool, I was a champion of finding underground artists. I remember a month span when I would spend more time on Soundcloud than any other social media. Hours and hours melted away as I explored the Soundcloud abyss, searching for the gold nugget of rappers who were going to blow in the coming years. Although my time was mostly wasted sifting through poorly mixed and damn near inaudible songs, I would occasionally find a diamond which somehow made my endless research worthwhile. But over the past few years, I have been drifting farther and farther away from the Soundcloud scene. It has just taken so much of a toll on audio experience. After listening to bad song after bad song, my passion and love for music would drain. It felt like my exploration was a waste of time and that I simply wasn’t good at finding new artists. Until a few days ago.
A few days ago, I was informed about a new album from the rising artist Hatesonny. I'm familiar with him, but only dove into his EP in 2019, Do Not Disturb. Even though it was a very good listen and Burbs even wrote an article on it, I haven’t really given him a fair chance. So when it debuted earlier last week, I decided to give it a listen. And as you can probably tell by now, I was very impressed.
The first impression I had on the project was the versatility that Sonny provided on the album. While listening to Golden Child, I noticed that Sonny had improved and evolved on all fronts. The production value had improved drastically and Sonny was experimenting more both vocally and instrumentally. There are a lot of the good nuanced instrumental changes and repetitions that you usually don’t see often and a lot of artist features that fit Sonny’s style of music perfectly. Whether it was the juxtaposition of Serena Isioma’s graceful voice with Sonny’s deep vocal performances or fluid collaboration of Vince Ash, his features were refreshing. Sonny also had a plethora of great instrumentals. The choir chant samples on “ST. MARK'' seem to dominate and generate the direction of the track while Sonny provides spiritual verbiage to correlate with the sample. Each line and verse that Sonny recites simultaneously matches aspects of the instrumental. Even on heavily bass-boosted songs like “GO WHERE I GO”, Vince Ash’s deep and vigorous voice projects his tone extremely vividly and Hatesonny’s chorus and opening verse establishes the exact potent and robust tone you would please. Each track goes in the exact direction you would want it to go to. Long winding intros or beat changes that would usually disorient you are replaced with passionate and genuine lyrics.
The deeper I went into the album, the more I was surprised. The fact that Sonny killed every single instrumental he was given was impressive on its own. Throughout the album, there are jazzy R&B, smooth psychedelic, and classic hip-hop instrumentals. Sonny knew exactly which flow to use everytime. His constant change in dialect and subtle nuances of his delivery keeps each song fresh and organic while still maintaining its core. Even though Hatesonny has created a distinct voice from himself, since he is a Chi Town hero, I assume he listens to G Herbo because I can hear some of that influence in his music. Some people may use this as a critique, but I enjoy it on almost all of the tracks. It displays homage toward Lil Herb and really exemplifies Sonny’s Chicago Roots.
Many consider G Herbo the Golden Child of the Chicago rap scene, but I think Sonny may be on the throne with some of his creative, introspective aspects on the album. Many rappers are afraid to talk about mental health or insecurities. In American culture and in many cultures across the globe, masculinity is held at a standard that relies on men to be practically emotionless while maintaining absence to sensitivity or vulnerability. In the track “MANIC” or “PIECE OF ME”, Sonny opens up about his mental health and the sporadic thoughts he has while living a street life. I think it is super powerful that a deep, roaring voice opens up about these issues because of the greater impact it has on our society.
Another amazing thing that Hatesonny did that I hope will become a trend is the clear chemistry he has with Serena Isioma in “MOVE 2”. “MOVE 2” is a blessing to everyone’s ears. The wavy and transient instrumental created by MyFriendNate mixed with the glorious vocals from Serena instantly perked my ears as the song started. I just want to move every time I listen to the track. The seamless transition from Serena’s hook and chorus to Hatesonny’s marvelous verse is incredible. It's my favorite track on the album and the chemistry between the both of them is something resemblant of a deep friendship.
If you have 30 minutes to kill, Golden Child only gets better as it goes on and is worth every second. Each song is as different and valuable as the next. You never know; this could be the next gem that blows up and you could be the first to listen.