Words by Brique
In a world where millions of songs are at our fingertips, it’s tough making time for the artists around you. Brique, an underground rapper himself, brings you some of his favorite indie projects. The best music is being made by people you don’t know yet. If you want to know them before the world does, tune in each week for Brique’s Picks!
Peace Maker is an artist from the Bay Area. He dropped his latest album, Peace Be With You back in September, a project he fully recorded and engineered himself. He is currently working on his next project and open to collab with other artists. His biggest musical inspiration is Roc Marciano.
Track 1: “Peace Be With You”
A real intro, which is rare these days. In an era of playlist-style albums, it’s refreshing to see someone open up a project with a track that starts off slow but quickly turns into an impressive display of skill without going all-out. Just enough to get the listener excited for what’s coming next, without being a fully-structured song. Perfect length for an intro track.
Track 2: “Letter”
The “letter to myself” theme has been done many, many times in hip-hop, so to see an underground artist giving it a shot in 2020 is appreciated. The storytelling is immaculate – Peace expresses his most vulnerable thoughts, emotions, and obstacles while maintaining an underlying tone of optimism and hope. The hook ties the narrative together; a brilliant execution of rhyming skill, imagery, and personal transparency.
Track 3: “Falling Star”
A love song. I love it. Even within just the first three tracks, Peace showcases eye-catching versatility when it comes to thematic concepts. Yet, the production remains consistent – hints of West-Coast sounds thrown into classic boom bap loop patterns. This is a project that requires patience – one must listen, not just hear. In the streaming era, that’s considered a weakness. Without wanting to sound like an old-head, in my experience, people don’t tend to sit down and appreciate this level of intricate lyricism from indie artists. But this project makes you do exactly that.
Track 4: “You’ll Never Know Me”
Although the previous two tracks display a high-level of performance and skill, the topics are ones we’ve all seen before. But this song right here is incredibly out-of-the-box. In my conversation with Peace, he explained to me that this track is from the perspective of his father describing his life without a consistent dad in his own life. For someone to put himself in his own dad’s shoes is an impressive feat, but what makes this track even more special is that Peace conducts it in such a way that it becomes accessible even for those who may not relate to the story. When it comes to storytelling, Peace displays plenty of proof of his prowess, but this song might just be the crown jewel of the album.
Track 5: “Hayward”
By this time, I’d become familiar with the production style of the album. This isn’t a project you’d throw on in the car while on a road trip with friends. This is one you pour a glass of wine to while on a rocking chair. Classic, nostalgic, and vintage. “I had neighbors who robbed everyone/ they made you stay up late for weeks/drug addicts and toothless grins/probably stole my sister’s rims” raps Peace while describing the challenges of growing up in the environment of his hometown. Imagine Street Struck by Big L, but from the perspective of a modern young adult telling his tale in a laid-back tone.
Track 6: “Feel Me”
Old-school hip-hop. Lots of people try to pull off the vibes of the Golden Era but don’t quite do it perfectly. Peace comes as close as it gets. If you told me this album dropped in 2003, I’d believe you – in a good way. I told Peace that his style reminds me quite a bit of Common, but surprisingly, the California native isn’t too familiar with the legendary MC’s catalog. Nevertheless, this track continues to build on the impression that Peace is an old-soul in a young man’s body.
Track 7: “Always On My Phone”
The production is encapsulating despite being throwback. Peace has impressive rhyme schemes and wordplay – the latter of which he prides himself on, claiming that no one can beat him when it comes to his pen game. Such boasts have been made countless times by countless MCs, but the Hayward spitter has more weight in his claim than most. This might just be the best hook on the entire project. He raps about being stuck in his mind, isolated from the world, and obsessed with social media comparisons and celebrity culture. Although there’s no formal skit on the album, Peace throws in random conversational moments throughout the project that ultimately serve as the glue that unites the overall narrative of a man with plenty of demons yet plenty of confidence.
Track 8: “Rare Form 2”
SHEESH. A very welcome change in production. Trap sounds incorporated into the beat. Even though the instrumental’s style is noticeably different from the rest of the project, Peace loses absolutely no momentum, unleashing bar after bar after bar while showcasing his extremely developed mic presence and swagger. For an artist yet to break into the mainstream, the control that he displays is leagues ahead of most of his peers. Flow switches fit perfectly with transitions in the beat. As impressive as the intro was, this outro may just have kicked things into another gear – and given the quality displayed in the first 7 tracks, it’s an incredible achievement. Certainly ending on a high note.
Closing thoughts: Although Peace Maker’s delivery may not be for everyone, especially younger audiences used to autotuned crooning and repetitive lyrics, fans of 90s/early 00s hip-hop will surely find something worth their while in this project. Describing himself as a fan of “Hov, Nas, Eminem, Jadakiss, Big Pun, Griselda, Mac Miller, Dr. Dre, and Roc Marciano,” it’s clear to say that not only is Peace a scholar of the genre, but also a natural when it comes to his own artistry. The DNA of his favorite rappers is very evident in his own music, yet there’s a distinct flavor that resonates throughout the project that makes the Cali MC special.
Follow Peace Maker on Twitter at @510PeaceMaker and listen to Peace Be With You below.
A Memphis native, and current college senior, Brique tries to bring new perspectives to hip hop commentary. Having been a fan of the genre since 9 years old, he’s explored everyone from Lil Wayne to Scarface to Kid Cudi to Slick Rick and many, many more. An appreciation for the greatest, and the latest, is what Brique strives for, and he hopes you can be part of his musical journey – both as a scholar and a creative! He can be found on Twitter @lilbrickmedia and Instagram @petitbrique