February 16, 2021

Transatlantic duo Configa and Hastyle unleash The ConfigHas Crates, setting hip-hop ablaze!

Configa Presents: The ConfigHas Crates Review

Configa Presents: The ConfigHas Crates Album Review

Hip-hop has been through many trends over the years. As the founding hip-hop genre has inevitably morphed into subgenres such as east and west coast hip-hop, underground, gangsta rap, conscious rap, crunk, southern rap, trap, mumble rap, etc., the prevailing sound has always been real hip-hop. Old heads remind the younger generations of aspiring artists and avid fans, while newer players help by keeping the style alive. The ConfigHas Crates is no different, as transatlantic duo Configa (beats) and Hastyle (rhymes) prove that no "body" can keep these two talented artists apart for this compilation, exhumed, electrified, and brought back to life. 

The album opens with the medium tempo’d upbeat loops of Something I Said and Hastyle wastes no time calling out those who have ghosted him in the past. "Now you waving farewell, never return my messages on the cell, son I know you got my voicemail, text messages and email, what the hell? How could you do me like? Is it jealousy, envy, why are you screwing me, black, I’m Hastyle fam." The beat is bountiful with soulful vocals and licks while Hastyle uses his storytelling powers to deliver a message that many people can relate to when falling out of touch or when there’s no telling why a person drops someone for seemingly no reason. Was it something he said? He doesn’t take long to wonder and moves to focus on what is happening for him "Now". Now features rapper Nine on the second verse who brings a hardened and gritty swagger to this head-bobbing and sultry cut. The nearly buried coos of soul singers and flirtatious horns brings to the forefront the tasteful productions that Configa’s become known for, and Hastyle bookends the verses with his smooth-as-butter flow, commenting on the struggle that still affects his life and complementing the call and response of a sampled singers call for what’s going on "Now."

Enemies Closer almost flows seamlessly from Now as it shares the previous sample as it picks up the pace into a militaristic and Wu-inspired beat. The sampled vocals in the mix remind the listener and Hastyle to "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." Hastyle riffs off this reminder and recounts the times that friends and family has not come through for him, but why he still prefers to keep tabs on his enemies. Sadat X pulls up for a couple verses and questions the true motives of so-called friends, while Hastyle drops more jewels of knowledge, "true friends sometimes are there, and then abra-cadabra, like Houdini they wanna disappear, that’s why I rather have enemies as supporters, keep your best friends close, enemies even closer." The haunting choir-like beat is reminiscent of cuts from militant minded emcees such as Jedi Mind Tricks or Immortal Technique, but for Configa it’s just another flavor of his multi-colored repertoire of beats. Water Colors is yet another example of how many colors and styles The ConfigHas Crates is willing to draw from. It opens with a bright and flirtatious piano skit of Hastyle scoping a beautiful lady he’s determined to win. The following beat sounds Eastern-inspired, with a chorus of cello and fluttering violins that give this track a really down to Earth vibe. Hastyle turns artful as he tries to woo a pretty lady with his steady wit and conversation and takes a leap of faith. 

Alpha Bits gives up another wild beat for Hastyle to test his speed on. The reverberating bass-y and melodic music starts to run alongside Hastyle and the pair never take a misstep in this seriously funky and jazzy number. It’s almost hard to imagine that an energy like this is still rising, but suffice it to say it’s just about to plateau with the follow-up song, Sticky. "It’s a sticky situation, got me feeling sensations, like I’m on medication, taking the pain away, I love her but I gotta leave her, I’m addicted gotta be with her, I’m stuck in the game, it’s just me and Mary Jane," Hastyle takes the chorus and likens the herb to a love-addicted romance. The beat fizzles and whistles in such a way that it begs the question if MJ would truly enhance this listening experience. Rah Digga blesses this track with her unmistakable charm and raps about the writers block that can come and go with the "sticky, the snowy, the smelly, the hairy" and drowning in the liquor. "I’m lying to myself, I can’t write without it, I’m lightin’ up another, my vision’s still clouded, I said ‘oh well’, I put the pen down, swimming in these strange clouds, let a bitch drown." Despite feeling lost in this cloud of bliss, Hastyle, Configa, and Rah Digga resign themselves to just enjoy the moment, and what a moment it really is. 

Lik a Shot, featuring Wordsworth and Rashan, settles into a smoother groove and Hastyle muses over his lyrical weaponry while he takes some shots with his guests. Wordsworth and Rashan add a nonstop flow that gives this posse a special slice in the ConfigHas canon. The subject matter then drops into a more realized and pointed track in Mind Control. Hastyle questions the powers-that-be by calling out the multiple conspiracy theories without disproving any in particular. He focuses instead on the government and media’s culpability to control the minds of those who are unaware. El Da Sensei drops in on the funky seventies-television-style beat and pulls up bars concerning police brutality, mass killings, gang violence, unemployment, and the systemic failures that lead to violence in communities. World War Rap featuring Prince Po feels like the next logical progression from Mind Control. Hastyle raps in the chorus, "the World War started, now the world’s cold-hearted, and everything on the radio is garbage, all you rapper’s on the market, you don’t want to be our next target." Prince Po speaks of a revolution and resolutely spits disses aimed at the fake emcees who spit dumbed down rhymes. He reminds the cotton candy rappers that him and Hastyle are hungry and the wack emcees are about to be devoured. Soldiers March opens with a faux newscast that is reporting on genocidal crimes against humanity that is tongue-in-cheek while not entirely downplaying the problem. Hastyle opens this cut with a verse about the brainwashed boots on the ground, who are trained to follow the orders of their government masters. Chino XL cuts into the assault-rifle-laden-produced beat and murders the mic with his unstoppable flow. Outro is a witty final take as Configa and Hastyle’s Midas touch blesses the beat with a review of all their previous songs from the album. It’s short, sweet, and gives listeners a necessary lesson in real hip-hop. Configa’s funky melodic lines of the final cut complement Hastyle’s overall confidence and swagger that he has exuded throughout, and it’s undeniable that this pairing is peanut butter and jelly. 

The ConfigHas Crates is a compilation spanning the years between ‘13-‘15, and it’s no question that the material presented here is meant to grace the ears of real hip-hop heads today. As the saying goes, better late than never. With this album, both producer and emcee show off their endless versatility and prove that there’s no style or rhyme that’s safe from them as they move into the future. Until that time comes though, we’ve got something really special to behold, that we can treasure "Now." 

Configa and Hastyle’s album can be purchased on their Bandcamp page. The ConfigHas Crates is available on all music streaming platforms and Configa can be followed on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @configa. 

Recommended Tracks: Now, Sticky, Lik A Shot