From the Trap Illustrated mantra that formed around the Pittsburgh rapper Hardo, or to the brutal and battered history of his past; there is something undoubtedly tough about him. There is something that put Hardo on the map for his rugged power, standing ovation of underground work, and now the way that his mainstream success is now coming in the future.
With his now approachable and currently most focused sound on The Fame Or Feds Story; Hardo is a goliath among a sea of waves that captures that iconic style with a new boundary breaking sense. It comes with the production and lyrical content that changes to usher in a fishnet full of new fans that can both move and understand to his story. This paired with the sudden absence of some of the Pittsburgh hip-hop heavyweights gives The Fame Or Feds Story a hometown experience with a global overtone.
The entire project is a better illustration of Hardo’s pushes and pulls within Pittsburgh as he moves to create the best overall sound. He describes on his first track, “Intro (Can’t Hid From What’s Inside of You)” which features Sirron Reid, “He just did a line of coke then come to court and judge me.” With Hardo, there is always the theme of corruption in his lyrics and that is no different in The Fame Or Feds Story. In a truthful and authentic sounding detail in his verses, Hardo can describe “I ain’t thinking bout tomorrow, tryna make it through today… I got demons on me, can you bless my soul?”
That is the importance within Hardo’s project, the way that he can suddenly manipulate this gang activity mentality to then switch and create a more uplifting display with a sluggish love track. “I just want to see you smile baby” Hardo explains behind this dancing piano and minimal percussion to create this void behind his voice. The feature from Latia is an impressive display of the beauty and the beast coming from a usual punch of Hardo’s straight-forward approach.
This can also be said for Hardo’s last three tracks which collectively combine the greatest elements of his style. From “My Last” which is an aggressive, spacious reflection of the focused, yet determined work that continues to flood from Hardo. But the real shining diamonds in the rough are “Here For You” and “Die A Legend” that capture in an essence, the greatest reflection of The Fame Or Feds Story.
Both of the final instrumentals are graceful and uplifting, but still a push to the progressive direction that comes from one of the best displays of Hardo’s work. As he started from the underground and has been working since his deal with Sony; Hardo has stayed busy and describes “Only thing guaranteed for me is a cemetery” so there are no excuses.