Mishka heads back to the capital of the Midwest for the fourth compilation mixtape dedicated to Chicago. Unlike the previous three iterations of the Windchill series, Tokens is not solely a beat tape. For the first time ever, some Windy City's talented producers are paired up with equally amazing vocalists. If you are a fan of the typically chill vibe of the Windchill beat tapes and are nervous about the prospect of loudmouth rappers ruining your session, fret not. Although Tokens introduces this new dimension of musicianship, the majority of the tracks are still smooth beats, with just a nice helping of beautiful singing.
Tokens runs roughly twenty-five minutes long and is comprised of eight tracks, three of which are pure instrumentals. Sage Nebulous' "Wave Goddess" is a definite high point on the compilation. His kicks are vibrant, yet soft at the same time and just hug the low end tight enough to keep the whole track together. Navi, from the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, can be heard screaming "hey" in the background. Sage is not the first to sample this iconic sound, but he tucks it in, choosing to mesh it together with the breathtaking synths driving the melody. "Wave Goddess" is reminiscent of cloud rap, but mixed with a few dashes of r&b and vaporwave.
BoatHouse, another relatively unknown—therefore underrated—producer, put together a great instrumental in "Water Girl." This track is a little more straightforward than the previous beat, but it does more than enough right to be worth the listen. It is an airy synthesizer paradise, a world filled with happy thoughts and joyful high-hats. "Water Girl' feels like it is actually floating its way towards some unknown destination, but it is loving the journey the entire way. BoatHouse does not try to get to fancy or complex, which makes the song lovely and enjoyable to consume.
Out of all the vocalists, Walkingshoe appears the most. Even though "God Sailed" and "Deal With You" bring the compilation to a lovely conclusion, his collaboration with lasko, "Lost In Your Head," is probably his best moment. lasko's production employs Walkingshoe's chopped vocals to create this panoramic sound, which sit on top of beautiful key chords and hyperactive percussion. The wind flute is a welcomed, albeit surprising sound. Walkingshoe's actual verse adds a great pop-influenced layer to the track, which somehow does not detract from the ambient atmosphere.
Elis Abid and Aura kick off Tokens with a bang on "Falling Seas." It is quite the tranquil introduction. Aura's vocal are strong, yet vulnerable; as he croons about having to leave his partner in search of something more, whether it be fame, success, or passion. Chando and Cae Jones add some more fun and liveliness to the project on Jaro's "Tangerine." The two bounce through a three minute dance track, which is a great listen, but a little out of place for the project. However, it is still a decent song, just a little jarring.
Tokens is a solid compilation of some up-and-coming Chicago talent. It is a short project, so you can just put it on and vibe out real quick, you don't have to worry about dedicating an entire day to the listen. If you are into hearing great production, this is right up your alley. Check it out below.