This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Check out previous entries in the series here.
Trayce Chapman is doing his part to keep Denver rap rising on the national map, and his recent release — Exotic Birds — is a heavy step in the right direction. The 13-track album dropped at the end of last month and was joined with a huge array of extra content including multiple videos and a release party.
The album comes at the perfect time for new summer obsessions. The tracklisting opens with a slew of bangers, each one more fast-paced and upbeat than the last. “Exotic Trayce,” the first single that dropped out of the project, is an excellent indicator of the subject matter. Chapman spits about the finer things in life and flexing on all things fancy. Banger after banger with “Flamingo Drive,” “Flux” and “Dizzy” continue this early trend of upbeat tones and show-off antics.
Chapman enlisted several local acts to assist him in the execution of Exotic Birds, including former Denver Bronco Nathan Palmer (NaPalm), Kevin Cartoon and YaSi. YaSi “sing-hops” on “The Question/Habits” along with Chapman, in a slowed tempo debate regarding each other’s issues back and forth between a troubled couple. True to any great hip-hop record, there is plenty of content referring to excessive partying, most notably in “Mandalay Bay.” Also are tracks that are sure to provide a soundtrack to such parties, such as the fresh “Baby Goku,” which we suggest you listen to on blast with the window down. Immediately.
The album continues on through various forms of sin and pleasure, with “Wanderlust” preaching appreciation for an entrancing female dancing through Chapman’s world. “Pinky Ring Pt.2” rejects the need for female companionship and returns to the materialistic theme of the first tracks, with Chapman and East House citing, “I don’t need no marriage ring / I just want that pinky ring.”
“Vices Pt. 2” bumps an age-old tale of deceit, proving that Chapman may be giving more than he should to an elusive relationship. With a chorus like, “Why you so good at hiding all your flaws?” we can all deduce and relate to where his inspiration comes from. While the album reaches extensively to encourage the listener to get up and move, none of the tracks do quite as much as “Highly Flavored” does. The song is easily the funkiest of the entire project and is guaranteed to bring the hype to any and all social engagements it provides the background. This song serves as the perfect last song, as it leaves the listener ready to hit up the opening number for another play.
Exotic Birds is 13 tracks of Chapman’s best work to date. It is sure to serve in expanding not only his horizons as a musician in Denver, but as a musician on the international spectrum. Pour some champagne and treat yourself while enjoying this exposé of life’s most decadent features.