Kanye West isn’t the only artist to fuse hip-hop with Daft Punk’s brand of synth laden Euro-pop. Enter Darren Hanible, a seventeen year old emcee from the area collectively known as the DMV, and his first solo effort, Bliss.
The mixtape opens as our young emcee steps into the role of trainer, delivering a “Workout” that, if followed, will leave trainees and listeners alike harder, better, faster and stronger.
On the hypnotically melodic “Fly Away”, Darren soars while while longing for better days and a place where he can reach his goals. A far cry from the previous songs laidback—and somewhat ‘emo’—vibe, the kid tells listeners what it ain’t if they ain’t know what it is while inviting them to get rowdy and cause a ruckus on the electric guitar driven “Party Rock” until the break of dawn. The song ends with the tolling of a bell and Darren switches gears and explores a place where good times and good vibes are sure to follow as he delves into the “Life”. As the tape advances, he gives listeners a glimpse at the dream he had about his “Digital Love”
From his hat to his shoes and his shirt to his jeans, DH proves himself to be a “Steez Machine” rhyming about the death of swag and continues to drop bar after bar of witty wordplay over Daft Punk’s "Steam Machine". As the track continues to play, he gives his own personal definition of steez
Steez is all natural
It can’t be imitated
Steez is individual
It can’t be related
…Steez is in the walk and the talk and the clothes
and let’s the whole world know about the new move before embracing his style, his steez, and waving goodbye to swag for a final time.
Switching gears once more, we find our young emcee confessing that he knows he just met this girl he saw across the room, but there’s somethin’ in the way she walks that makes him want to get her. The chorus concedes that it “Mite Not Be” the right time and that he may not be the right one and it may not even be the right time but he’d be willing to discover what’s between them anyway.
Seeking to undo the damage that radio has done, Darren challenges listeners to open their minds as he effortlessly steps into the role of “Brainwasher”, rinsing the images of what’s hot and what’s not from our minds and showing that hip-hop can still be fun without the common themes of drugs and violence.
Whether he’s trying to fly away to better days, talking about his “Girls (Around the World)” or administering a killer workout, Darren Hanible succeeds in painting a picture of how he “Feels” while showing off the lyrical dexterity that belies his seventeen years. Despite his flaws and imperfections, he proves himself to be “Human After All” and that is truly…
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