Louisville, Kentucky's EST Gee has shared a vital, raw new album called Bigger Than Life Or Death. Over top of 15 bristling tracks, the fast-rising rapper shares unfiltered stories of street life, accompanied by a set of grandiose instrumentals.
From the get-go, EST Gee's sharply focused songwriting and raw vocal power are evident, as he kicks off the album with the ambitious "Riata Dada". Here, we are introduced to Gee's rugged sense of realism both sonically and lyrically, with a haunting instrumental and imposing, tireless vocals. He follows this up with "Make It Even", a song strident in sound yet simultaneously catchy. This track features icy, whirling synths and rumbling bass that makes this instrumental feel deeply cathartic. Next, album highlight "5500 Degrees", with Lil Baby, 42 Dugg, and Rylo Rodriguez comes in hot with a bouncy, bass-heavy instrumental that hits like a freight train. This track combines glitchy samples with buttery 808s to induce a truly intoxicating effect, blasting the listener with euphoria. Another album highlight follows in the title track, which contains menacing keys and heavy percussion that blends to create a strong foundation for his vital flow.
The album's most widely-known cut "Lick Back" ups the energy to electrifying levels with an atmospheric, intense instrumental that is centred around spacey synths and subtle, chilly keys. The urgency in Gee's vocals on this track makes it enthralling, drawing one even further into the album's feverish atmosphere. Moreover, "Capitol 1" is a bone-chilling joint that combines abrasive synths, insidious keys, and head-banging drums to create a thrilling sound. He follows this up with "All I Know" featuring Pooh Shiesty, which is centred around epic strings and stirring keys. Finally, he closes the album out with "No Friends", which takes on a more sentimental tone with nostalgic pianos and bittersweet vocal samples. This mood change is an appropriate way to end the record, giving it a more wistful send off while maintaining the grandiose sound of the rest of the album.
Overall, Bigger Than Life Or Death is a vast, robust release from EST Gee, proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in the current hip-hop landscape. Sonically, it bristles with energy and shows much ambition, making for an enthralling listening experience. It is quite evident that Gee is on his way to becoming an even more widely-known voice in hip-hop soon, as he encapsulates a truly immersive and engaging sound on this release.