November 2, 2020

Long Island artists Thomas Coppola and Fendii release their collaborative album, Fendii Flannel!

Thomas Coppola - Fendii Flannel Review

Thomas Coppola - Fendii Flannel Album Review

Amid the bleak worldwide pandemic, both major and independent music has been thumping and more alive than ever. Artists’ projects that have been cooking for the majority of 2020 and some of 2019 show that the perseverance to survive and thrive is strong in artists. We have covered Thomas Coppola's previous album releases, Dusty and Cold Cuts, and have even featured him in our first ever interview! Suffice it to say, Coppola has come a long way, and releasing just on Halloween is Coppola's entirely produced collaborative album with rapper Fendii, Fendii Flannel! 

The album kicks off with No Preference a beautifully cool strumming beat that exudes a jazzy warmth like BADBADNOTGOOD or Sour Soul. This opening track is mellow and features samplings of Thomas Coppola and Fendii’s lyrical flows for first-time listeners. "Says she wants powder, white, has no preference, none," Coppola raps about his misadventures with a lady friend who seeks the synthetic affections of multiple drugs, which Coppola plays the role of the unwilling passenger to this downward spiral. "She wants to roll with the crew," he raps, "flannel you know what it do, she showin' love, she want the drugs, girl, we got nothing for you." Fendii comes in later to further characterize this lost girl and how the steep decline of partying and drug use ends in overdose and death. It's a blunt metaphor for the ills of this kind of lifestyle, and Coppola and Fendii come across as lived-in with this life experience. Rainbow Road is instantly recognizable to the millennial generation in its beautiful 8-bit synth production. It continues the laid back flow and Coppola effortlessly delivers. Fendii brings the chorus this time and raps about the day-to-day, smoking kush, and getting closer with some ladies.  

She Knows, Fendii delivers a continuation from Rainbow Road as he shows off his individual growth from moving on from dealing. "She knows, she knows, she knows, that I don't sell drugs no more," he sings over the melodic and floating beat, and it is his first solo cut of the album. August 4th cuts a little deeper than the previous tracks with its serious cathedral organs. Fendii recollects a specific date in his life, August 4th, 1999, the scene is chilling and features a confrontation with a car-full of gangbangers who are fully strapped. The graveness of the situation highlights some of the dark corners of city life and the senseless violence that can erupt at any moment. Coppola comes in on this one with a determination to make it no matter what it takes, and their strive to be the greatest in all that they do despite the evil that comes their way is something that all can relate to. Glass takes up a more chiller tone for the album and an R&B vibe for Fendii and Coppola to use their voices for more melodic lines. The quietude and melancholy of their verses are supported by a somber piano and tremolo'd autotune, as the duo confronts the tough subjects of addiction, relationship woes, and death. 

Thomas Coppola and Fendii - Fendii Flannel
Headband, highlighted by a beautiful Eastern music whistle and keyboard that are wistful in their call and response, picks up the pace for the halfway point of the album. Coppola opens this track with strong confidence, delivering life lessons, and showcasing what it feels like being his own boss in his lifelong passion as music maker and ultimate authority of his own destiny. Fendii later claims the struggle is not enough to make him quit, as he pushes to make his profits from legal business, dodges money-hungry bitches, and lives his life to the fullest. By this point, it should be clear that Coppola's production chops are of professional-grade, and Thottin & Plottin' is another beautifully soft and melodic beat for Fendii to tear up. His autotuned chorus and verse go hard over the beat but are an ode to not get trapped by a drug-addicted girl. Casualties, one of the more interesting cuts of the album, is one of those rare two-cuts-in-one tracks, and Fendii gets rough over the bell-echoing minimalist beat. It's a track worth rewinding because the switch halfway through delivers two distinctly satisfying beats, reminiscent of a Madlib produced cut that switches up halfway. Coppola is paired with a slick-stringed beat and his rap flows smoothly along its clever chord structure. 

Tryna Live is one of the best cuts of the album, and it faces serious single contender status. It's a message that most rappers who struggle in the game should understand and not let hate rule their hearts. "I'm just tryna live, while you're hating on me, I'm just tryin to give, while you're taking from me, want beef but it's overcooked, acting like a thug, but everybody know you're shook," Coppola raps in the chorus. Fendii then takes his turn to deliver this powerful message in his own unique way. Fraudulent Charges pulls back into that special and floating vibe that Coppola's productions have become known for. It's a slow-speed trip full of late-night vibes. Fendii pops in with the hook and chorus, and Coppola adds to this dreamy cut with his signature flair. Technically the last track of the album, Boss Fight pulls out the Nintendo influence once more, and it's more or less the parting words from the pair. The violin-laced chorus gives a classic hip-hop feel, and Coppola makes his case, "Come with your arsenal ready, you ain't got nothing on me," he raps. The aggressive and laid back vibe coincide and contrast well here. Between The Bricks is the final cut, and is technically a bonus track for Fendii and Coppola to have a little bit of fun on. The beat is fully loaded with many different facets that make it captivating and particularly strong for a closing track. Coppola and Fendii play off of one another impressively and close out Fendii Flannel with a huge bang. 

Thomas Coppola and Fendii's first collaborative album really is a huge hit. Not only has Coppola grown as an emcee and producer over the years, but his team up with Fendii proves that the pair are a cohesive and powerful pair. The success of hip-hop collaborative albums in the past come to mind, such as Run The Jewels, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, and Madvillain. This duo takes up this mantle effortlessly with their own God-given talent and skill, and it will be exciting to see where the pair goes from here. 

Recommended Tracks: No Preference, Casualties, Tryna Live