Your Old Droog has had an incredible past two years between releasing collaborative projects with Ratking’s own Wiki, being compared to Nas, and finally dropping his second, heavily awaited studio album, PACKS. From bringing in a modern twist on a classic style, Your old Droog acts as a crusader in music and recruits Danny Brown, Wiki, Edan, Heems, Chris Crack, and Anthony Jeselnik to bring a full monster squad assortment of underground and mainstream hip-hop legends.
PACKS addresses the creative side of hip-hop and how it can become a fine piece of art and bring unity in a community of people. Opening with “G.K.A.C” or (Gotta Kill A Cop), Your Old Droog decides to jump right into a tight knit square of clasping hi-hats and clever word play that relies on describing, “Imma put that pig in a blanket. And he did, he just blanked kid.” Packs is a collection of storyboards and “G.K.A.C.” is the first layer of the 14-track record and starts off on almost the wrong foot. As Your Old Droog closes the introduction by describing a boy’s final moments before he, “bout to spend the rest of his life behind bars, Depressed, knowing he’s going down for the crime. He pressed Nicky’s lips against his one last time,” implying suicide. Your Old Droog then completely shifts on the following track, “I Only” where he takes inspiration from MF DOOM’S famous line, “I only play the games that I win at.” Droog instead switches this and samples the track for mere seconds before bringing a subtle western styled bass line and rattling percussion into frame.
From wordplay using sampling to delivering clever punchlines at the end of his bars, Droog makes an impact from his production as well but it is also where his features come in to lay down extra support does he truly become outstanding. The track “Grandma Hips” which features Danny Brown becomes a constant reminder of how flexible Danny Brown is and how he can adapt to almost any style of production. The instrumental sounds something similar to a 70’s concerto with blazing horns and delightful symphonic instruments that also combine psychedelic instruments of trills and flare ups on the brass sections. Droog delivers a substantial verse and when paired with Danny Brown, they become an outstanding combination and make for a quick, almost free transition where there is not a hook, no chorus, just straight into the next verse.
Droog then makes a stand against trying to make hip-hop an exclusively single-raced art form. Your Old Droog explains, “What matters is the beats and if the MC goes in. It’s not about the color, It’s not about the color of your skin, your skin.” Droog who is himself a Ukrainian-American makes a valid point and continues his message when Wiki and Edan who are both Caucasian rapper jump onto “Help” and together they make a trio of immaculate damage. Wiki who is well known for his word and lyrical style and Edan who is known for being an alternative hip-hop artist with a friendly attitude, they do a fantastic job of combining several different flows into one perfect package.
Your Old Droog brings back the glory styled days of bass heavy hip-hop and authentic sounding percussion which feels like a step back in the time machine. Even while sounding backwards, PACKS is actually quite progressive and makes for another great, substantial stepping stone into creativity from one of the hottest producers/rhymers in hip-hop today.