With Atlanta and trap music as a whole in a transitional period, Tony Shhnow stands out as one of the freshest, most consistent names to watch out for. Coming up alongside 10Kdunkin and producer CashCache, Shhnow has built up a strong, varied discography. Best known for his plugg work (the bombastic, yet jazzy and soulful trap sound), he also has projects over Neptunes production, some slower stuff, and the boombappy Kill Streak 2 with GriMM Doza. On his newest album Reflexions, he is able to refine all these ideas and sounds into one more mature, fleshed out project.
Tables turn, I’m prepared for the switch up
When nobody around if you down, I could pick you up
My chances was slim but my new bitch thick as fuck
We done shed blood, sweat, and tears for them paper cuts…
It’s times you gon give your all and it still ain’t enough
She know I’m a businessman so I keep it tucked
The world in my hands, palms itching, keep in touch
The production on Reflexions is what immediately stands out here. While the beats remain distinctly trappy and high energy, they aren’t quite as in-your-face as some of Shhnow’s other plugg music. There are lots of lush, funky soul samples (notably of Ashanti’s “Foolish”) and the beats allow his raps to standout a bit more than most MC’s in the scene would favor. “Finessin”, for example, has a crazy drumbreak, but is interspersed with a free saxophone sample that makes it all slow down and feel more lowkey. The soundscape here is really unique and hints at Shhnow’s growth.
As far as Tony Shhnow himself goes, Reflexions feels like a mature step forward artistically. On top of the unique, lowkey soundscape, he constructs this album expertly. Things flow well, don’t overstay their welcome, and features are well placed; Matt Ox surprisingly shines here, OJ Da Juiceman makes a dope comeback, and Zelooperz proves a good match for the scene (in fact, Shhnow could strive to match Zelooperz’ work in many ways). Hooks are sticky on relistens, but are not imposing or overly repetitive, so the songwriting here is proficient as ever.
Lyrically, you get everything you want from him but denser than ever. At 40 minutes, Shhnow is able to pack in a lot of bars and they all come with such admirable energy. As he has stated himself, he writes for the hustlers; Typical trap talk and motivation to get after the bag is his prevailing theme, but he does so in pretty original language. He’s even comparable to a guy like Nipsey the way he raps about his aspirations and the grind, while staying true to the street. Overall, Reflexions seems to be a great entry point for Tony Shhnow and proves as some of his most well thought out, unique work yet.