By Conor Hooley
OK, Yeah is nine tracks of underground hip-hop that pairs Colorado rapper Ape9’s gravelly flow with producer Dirtybird’s futuristic take on boom bap. The combination proves to be inspired, as Ape’s low-register, calculated rhyming perfectly compliments Dirtybird’s moody, occasionally haunting beats.
“Get it Started” opens with a chilling piano loop, knocking bass line and an unnerving, off-key hook from guest vocalist Devon Parker (who appears on nearly half the album’s tracks). Ape9’s staggered delivery fits in well, though the perfunctory rhymes aren’t exactly attention-grabbing.
“N if the Sun” is downright stunning – a slow-burning, surreal cut that melds tinny, ethereal synth patterns with Ape’s best performance on the disc. Being earnestly positive in hip-hop are pretty hit-or-miss on the whole, but the rhymes here come across here as heartfelt and relatable, not contrived or overwrought. No small feat.
“Stay Fly (Look Up)” is another standout, with highly processed, otherworldly samples looped over crisp high-hats and an unbelievably deep baseline. It’s a futuristic banger that favorably compares with some of J-Dilla’s better work.
A trio of remixes close out OK, Yeah, and though the alternate versions of “Get it Started” and “N if the Sun” are forgettable, Yosef Una’s take on “Make the Tape Pop” is a keeper. Here, Ape9’s flow gets relatively adventurous, and the remix’s playful vocal samples make it work.
Despite some skippable moments, OK, Yeah boasts no shortage of great moments and excellent tracks. Ape9 and Dirtybird have clearly established a great chemistry.