We live in a society where temptation is all around us. From the storefront window to a television commercial to a giant billboard, we are confronted with choices of whether to indulge or take part …
We live in a society where temptation is all around us. From the storefront window to a television commercial to a giant billboard, we are confronted with choices of whether to indulge or take part in something that often has negative effects. These effects can materialize when something is done irresponsibly with the user being addicted to the false rush they feel from it. Millions of people deal with this every day and a lot of them often succumb to this dangerous lifestyle. Examining this with an introspective point of view, West Warwick hip hop artist ToadStool released a new EP titled Keeping Clean back on New Year’s Eve.
The moniker of Mike Jencks goes in-depth in the struggles of addiction via personal experiences and coming out on the other side sober and healthy. He also collaborated with Providence rapper Jesse The Tree and local multi-instrumentalist Tetcon on a couple tracks.
“This is an album based around trying to keep the straight and narrow, while towing the line on what a person living with addiction goes through daily,” ToadStool mentions in the liner notes. “Lots of temptation, conflicting and overall struggle, but s**t gets better.”
Most of the record is made up of quick hitters with a majority of the songs barely going past the two minute mark. There’s also a bunch of samples evoking ‘50s era public service announcements and infomercials that gives it somewhat of a hokey vibe. With that being present, I’m pretty sure that it’s included as an attempt to parody the ineffectiveness of those messages. The beats convey a tone that at times is forceful and at times laid back as the lyrics relay a subtle melancholiness that’s fueled by the subject matter. This record has a lot to offer in a short amount of time and it’s a testament to ToadStool’s ability to create in compact fashion.
Kicking things off with those vintage samples is “Mourning Routine” with a sick beat behind it. An introduction to ToadStool’s song structure and while relaying thoughts on the growth of the cannabis industry over the past decade, “Finessa Carlton” has wonderful production courtesy of Jesse The Tree. “Hitting The Slopes” has the horns coming in with the charisma flowing and “Docking Station” features a verse from Jesse The Tree with Tetcon handling the beats. Another charismatic one is “Em Ef” followed by “Lawnmowers // Less Cravins” serving as the longest track on the EP with psychedelic elements. “New Devils” concludes a stellar array of music with a forceful finale anchored by ToadStool’s lyrical delivery.
This record is exclusively available on ToadStool’s Bandcamp page at xxxtoadstoolxxx.bandcamp.com. Just be on the lookout for the one with the cover of a drawing of a toad with a party hat on it done with a sharpie on what looks like a brown paper bag. When you find it, give it a click, let it stream and perhaps make a purchase. It’s another installment by one of the most talented and prolific rappers in all of Rhode Island.
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