May 28, 2024

The single “For Real” taken from the “The Beginning” Artist Compilation EP, is a track to send your demons packing and put your worst fears about the hip-hop genre’s artistic decline to bed. A sonic bag of treats for those who vibe to the celestial exploration of experimental rap and melodic stylings, as demonstrated here by Terrell “Rell” Buchanan and Smoove Money.  The sign of a great collaboration is one where each component knows how to get the best out of the other. Together they craft a dreamy sonic soundboard made up of glistening keys, falsetto melodies and rustling hi-hats. Artist, composer, instrumentalist and engineer, Terrell Buchanan, studied music in multiple fields (theory, engineering, performance, etc.) for over 14 years. Originally he found his love for music playing and mastering string instruments (guitar, viola, etc.), but with gained experience, picked up writing compositions in music notation in all clefs and also taught himself how to play the drums and piano. Currently he is developing his craft as an engineer, producing his own music in his home studio and for multiple local artist/bands in Atlanta, GA.

“For Real” clocks 4 minutes and 10 seconds, giving Rell and Smoove Money little room to misstep and plenty to fuel the tracks immaculate feel. Rell’s production throughout the record is nothing short of mind-bending. It’s a truly new wave production that’s consumed with an ethereal world music atmosphere.

Rell’s crowning achievement, and his real genius on “For Real” is the way the project facilitates and creates a space for Smoove Money and himself to lay down lines like: “Y’all niggas don’t want this bread for real. Mine stack up while yours sit still. All this money niggas trying to get, Ima run it up and not break a sweat. Y’all don’t know the hustle, but the hustle spent. Whatever you got Ima triple it.”

They land their punches with absolute conviction, in an almost joyous manner. The track is pitched to the vocals’ emotional range, the delivery always blurring the line between singing and rapping, and there’s an intuitive grace to the way the high pitched voices trip across the confrontational verses.

The vocal flows have an effortless lightness, and it’s there even when they’re dealing with the heaviest of subjects – money. As its title suggests, “For Real” serves as a clear-eyed mission statement, and lays it on the line openly: “I’m different, so content. Watching you niggas posting pictures of that high school shit. I wish the best for you my nigga but I can’t resist. To tell you there’s more to life than that hustling and that scamming shit.”

It feels like Rell has poured so much more love and attention into “For Real” on every level. The result is a track instilled with defiant hope: an alternative light in the commercial rap darkness; like the moon in the night sky. The track is a well-focused triumph, channeling Rell’s fondness for experimental and alternative into something trendy and accessible.

Terrell “Rell” Buchanan is open to collab with any artist in Atlanta.


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