Often caught in the shadow of other rising SoCal artists, L.A. rapper Skeme has quietly been killing it. Overlooked in a summer of big name titles, Alive and Living (Download Here) is a fire album that slipped through the cracks. Skeme really puts together a great collection of songs to cover every mood, from violent bangers, like “Kidz With Gunz”, to the triumphant and uplifting “All the Time”.
Skeme comes hard on this tape, lacing almost every track with a solid verse. In the time since Pistols & Palm Trees, a solid tape in its own right, Skeme has significantly improved his flow. With a slick double time and a smooth multisyllabic rhyme scheme, he demonstrates his ability to hold his own with many big name features, including Kendrick Lamar and Dom Kennedy.
My nigga dead, so for him I’m lighting my blunt up
I was a hustler before this rap bitch, been getting it sun down to sun up
I know there’s niggas hating praying I never make it
But jealous pussy I’m here and I’m never leaving just face it
– Skeme, I Remember
On “I Remember”, Skeme paints a portrait of the rapper lifestyle while spelling out his disdain for those lying about their own. Kendrick comes through, as expected, lacing the smooth K.Roosevelt beat with a monster of a verse. I’d like to take a moment here to point out how many features Kendrick has been on recently and how dope they all are (Ex. 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5). Unlike previous Skeme-Kendrick collaborations, Skeme matches Kendrick’s intensity and closes the song with more fire, creating one of the best tracks of the project and in the entirety of Skeme’s catalogue.
Another standout track is “All the Time”. Skeme destroys arguably the best instrumental on the tape, another K.Roosevelt production, sonically reminiscent of a cathedral. He left the triumphant beat in ruin, lacing it with an ode to his new music-based income. Though its a tired topic in rap, as everyone has songs to stunt to, Skeme drops off his addition to the lifestyle rap trend with above average bars that are topped off with a fantastic beat.
Overall, Alive & Living is a nice addition to Skeme’s discography. He delivers a tape full of heaters that show off his bars very well. He also picked a great set of beats for the tape, an area that he has slacked on previous tapes. It’s definitely worth a listen or two to because there is a song for everybody on it and for all of of New L.A. guest features.
If you are interested in more Skeme, I would check out Pistols & Palm Trees, for tracks like “Don’t Loose Focus”, and his second tape, The Statement. Follow him on twitter and keep your ears peeled for one of the lesser-known faces of the new L.A. movement.