Album of the Year Review: Big30 – King of Killbranch

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Review courtesy of guest author 47Breezo

There is hardly a shortage of southern trap music in the hiphop landscape today, but the sheer variety is what invites so many listeners to return. What hiphop fan doesn’t have an unscratchable itch to listen to music you’ll likely never have the chance to reenact in real life? In 2020, Big30 started gaining steam alongside his hometown collaborator Pooh Shiesty (free Shiest fr) with songs like “Allegations” and “Neighborhood Heroes” which put the rappers on the map in a big way. To establish himself as a more focused artist, Big30 dropped solo tracks like “Blrrrrrd” and “Shots Out the Vette”, immediately distinguishing himself from other contemporaries as an artist to be taken seriously. With a distinct southern drawl, Big30 enunciates a landscape that takes the listener on a brisk visit to his hometown – Memphis, Tennessee – and allows you to take a glimpse on how a king emerged from the projects. A debut like King of Killbranch shows that there’s still new, slick ways to rap about the same subjects. Plus Big30 is just better. Listen.

More drank that I pour up the deeper I get in my feelings
Close range back of the skull, I lost Lil Geno accidentally
No opp can say they did it, pussy getting killed cause he mentioned
This rap shit just a image, gotta know that I’m still spinning

36 minutes in total, the project starts off with a stretch of 6 songs as good as any trap music you’ll hear from the last few years.  Being able to rhyme “sparked”, “garage”, and  “god” together isn’t something you can teach, but instead is a skill you can only apply having developed a thick southern accent. The flow that stems is impressive in its own right, and is even more so when the bars are considered. With constant references to streets and areas from his city it was, hard for me to feel inclined to ever visit Memphis; On the other hand the opening stretch feels as if I was taken there protesting, but could leave thankful for the experience. For variety, 30 accumulated a great list of features that more or less keep the album flowing – Not by necessity because 30 doesn’t slouch on any song. Rather, they act as a good tempo change throughout. Lil Durk, Quavo, and Future (while not necessarily remarkable on these collaborations) all provide their unique melodies and crooning that have made them so popular.

The singles “Mista”, “Dyin Expensive”, and “Backseat of the Rolls Truck” are clear standouts from his solo tracks on the album due to their aggression, tempo, and raw lyricism. Every line you hear is further insight on the makings of an absolute villain. The role of a bad guy is embraced and the threats here are sure to intimidate the opps. Production wise there isn’t anything particularly new, but Big30 fits well over the traditional piano trap beats that we all know and love, although there are often some futuristic and bouncy synths which help King of Killbranch to standout and subtly push boundaries. The high energy of this whole album, whether it be through production or flow, makes for something highly replayable.

Despite the content of his lyrics, each song has a braggadocios tone that you can’t ignore. The confidence heard in Big30’s rasp can legitimately make you want to get up and do something; There is a sense of urgency present that becomes addicting even after the first listen. In the face of the gang violence he raps about, you never once hear Big30 sound worried or even concerned. King of Killbranch is the embodiment of the Breaking Bad cliché, “I am the one who knocks”. If you allow Big30 to tell the story of the Memphis streets, CGE is who is knocking on the door. “Ain’t too many niggas rich as me and they still spinnin lord” serves as the best synopsis of his story.

He sending threats from a hospital bed, be quiet boy!

2021 was a rough year no matter who you ask. We can all use some escapism now and again and art is perhaps the most accessible portal. While the stories are perhaps very real for the storyteller, King of Killbranch feels like an action movie you can enjoy just for catharsis. Murder is definitely not cool, however my opinion on that topic was nearly swayed by these tracks. This album is easily a standout not just among trap albums this year, but for all hiphop. Memphis trap is in good hands with such talented young artists like Big30, Pooh Shiesty, Duke Deuce, Big Scarr, and more. The energy proved to be largely unmatched since its release and its difficult not to be excited for more from the CEO of CGE.

Listen to King of Killbranch:


Apple Music

Be sure to check out our full album of the year lists

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