Album Review: Blueface may have found glimpses of the beat on his official debut, but his inability to hold long-term attention is to his detriment.
With conspicuous tattoos blanketing a quarter of his face and gaudy garnishings of jewelry usually swinging from his neck, Blueface’s mission isn’t exactly to blend in. The same can be said about his flow. Bull-rushing against the grain is what propelled the 23-year old to internet and hip-hop stardom. From attention-seeking, meme-generating social media antics to the often ridiculous nature of his lyrics - one way or another you’re going to notice the Cash Money West emcee. Find The Beat finds him leaning further into his contrarianism. Everything from the title to the cover art is meant to relay a core concept of the artist’s brand: stand out and make noise.
After a four-month delay, the album from rap’s fresh-faced bad boy is finally here. No expense was spared reining in contributions, with guest appearances by Gunna, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Ambjaay, Stunna 4 Vegas, NLE Choppa, Jeremih, and YBN Nahmir. The production is heavily injected with elements of piano-driven g-funk, but Blueface does push the envelope musically with tracks like "Obama," which includes some jazz and progressive instrumental influences. A few bright spots notwithstanding, overall Find The Beat is an unimpressive collection of songs peppered with equally unimpressive lyricism from an emcee who is more flash than fire. Be that as it may, the project has a few fun tracks and some of the worst-but-funniest bars you will hear from anyone.
There are a couple gems but those pebbles in "Street Sh*t" and "Dirty" are offset by tremendous blemishes like "Carna Asada." Sadly, Find The Beat did not sync up with Blueface’s previous work. An overuse of autotune halfway through the project almost completely derails the momentum, rendering it unlistenable in spots. Parts go from tolerable to just awful, feeling a bit more like a mixtape than an album. Important to note he did stay on the beat for a good portion of the album, however. So it is fair to say he accomplished his goal in some capacity, right?
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Small victory aside, it's ultimately a disappointment and lacks growth from his previous work on Dirt Bag. There are a distinct crop of decent songs and a very identifiable group of really bad ones. As the title and quotes from his 92.3 interviews show the rapper has a more than fair level of self-awareness; he's conscious of his limitations as an emcee but plays to his strengths. Things you have to respect. Lil Uzi even gave him a stamp of approval and hinted at the two working together in the future, so all is not grim for the artist.
Blueface is a thought-provoking reflection of his generation. In theory, a caricature of the early 2000s rappers. An illustration of hyper-reality and over-the-top recreations of the normal. An internet troll with the microphone and the floor. I must give him credit for the sarcastic quip which does keep me engage to a degree as the album matures. His over-the-top disposition paired with sarcastic, partially comedic inflection isn’t bad and the lyrics come off competitively hysterical for almost half of the run time. He embraces defamation and in many ways uses it as fuel to feed his persona. He's a strange study in perceptive polarization.
Blueface told Real 92.3 that he’s already peaking beyond his rap career, hinting at moving onto the big screen. At one point in the interview, he was asked how he learned to work the internet to his advantage. To that, he responded “that was my whole come up, the internet. This day and age, that’s where it’s at. It’s almost like there’s a science to this sh*t. It’s not even about how good or how not good or any of that. You have to come up with a science project to go viral.” He’s a master at playing to his gimmick which no doubt takes a certain level of genius. What is unknown is whether he takes himself seriously. He’s in it for the moment to get what he can get out of it and then it will be over. Blueface is an artist that can manufacture magic with songs like "Thotiana" though he wasn’t able to capture that spark on Find The Beat. And yet despite lacking genuine ambition for musical longevity, Blueface has carved out a niche in the world of rap. For that, you have to give him credit.