Sanity Menon and Ra.instrumentals are two California based rappers who have been building up a strong fanbases since there emergences in the underground scene around the ladder half of the 2010s with their renowned solo projects Flip Side and Ra’s Buck. The two have come together for their first joint effort titled “City Dwellers”. The album fuses profound lyricism with vibrant production, which ultimately results in excellent hip hop.
Sanity shows off his versatility as he can switch up his sound and, additionally, cover an array of potent subjects in depth. Whether he’s talking about depression on “Hallow Heart” or loss on “Bittersweet”, the raw emotion in his voice is compelling and thought-provoking. One of the standout tracks is “Mirror” which unravels Menon’s mind as he tells his life story from birth and the darkness which has accompanied him since. Sanity’s performance is solidified due to his intricate lyricism and songwriting. His technicality and rhyme schemes flow with ease as he is a true wordsmith that can create complexion in each bar he writes. Overall, Sanity Menon shows off his top tier rhyming ability and genuine emotional capacity.
Ra’s low-fi production creates the atmosphere and tempo of the record. Predominately using Jazz, the instrumentals feel pure and genuine, which gives the album a wholesome feel. Tracks such as “Workflow” and “Freeway Blues” show off Ra’s versatility and ability to chop up samples. Each cut has a distinct feeling as the pacing and sonic tone of the beats differ from track to track. The pinnacle of the production can be seen on the song “Growin Up”, which contains a soft minimalistic beat loaded with powerful tone changes and background vocals. Overall, modern minimalist production doesn’t get much then this project.
In conclusion, City Dwellers is both artist’s best project to date. With well-written thought-out lyricism and cultivating production, Sanity and Ra seem unbeatable throughout the record. The only critique I have with the project is that the running time of 52 minutes could have been cut down a little as the album seems to drag in the middle. Going forward, I hope these two pair up for more collaborations as their chemistry is undeniably solid. If you’re like me and want to stay up to date with these two gifted artists, be sure to follow @sanitymenon and @ra.instruemntals on Instagram!
Highlights: Lyricism, Emotion, Production