Joell Ortiz & KXNG CROOKED Demonstrate “Tapestry” (Album Review)

Hardcore superduo the Housing Authority Rap District also known as H.A.R.D. consisting of Joell Ortiz & KXNG CROOKED are returning for their 4th & final LP. Both of whom have had notorious label issues at the start of their careers, but would go on to see success as members of the supergroup Slaughterhouse along with Royce da 5’9” & Joe Budden from the late 2000s up until the mid-2010s. The quartet had quietly disbanded in 2016 after Joe’s retirement from making music even though it wasn’t confirmed until 2 years later, but the other 3 members have been keeping themselves busy ever since. H.A.R.D. introduced themselves a couple months after the pandemic hit with an incredible eponymous debut EP along with 2 full-lengths: The Rise & Fall of Slaughterhouse and Harbor City. They dropped off their 2nd EP JFKLAX & their 3rd LP Prosper to more moderate reception, but are getting back together 1 last time on Tapestry.

After the intro, the first song “Born” starts us off with an angelic sample talking about both of them being Heaven’s children whereas the soulful trap joint “Rap Music” tells us how much hip hop culture has saved their lives. “Here I Am” works in this gospel flip to talk about speaking life to them since death is of the tongue just before “Holiday” blissfully explains the harvest helped keep their people from starving.

“No Other Way” somberly sets out to make play after play without any options on the table for them leading into “Parental Advisory” goes full-blown boom bap to talk about doing it all so their hometowns of Brooklyn & Long Beach can eat now. “How Y’all Feel” energetically moves forward wanting to know the exact way the crowd out there be feelin’, but then “Fall Down” has an aggressive trap flare to the beat getting back up when they’re down.

The sampling throughout “Thorazine” is absolutely classy start to finish making something beautiful out of a straight up horror scene while “My World” brings the kicks & snares back inviting everyone to their worlds. “Yachts” calming discusses being unable to feel a hard left since it’s all ocean while the final song “Broadwalk & Park Place” prior to the outro pouring their hearts out describing where they were stuck between.

I genuinely think if these guys stuck with a singular producer throughout the entire duration of 1 more project like The Heatmakerz, they would give us their best offering since their eponymous EP or their full-length debut. Still though: the material they’ve given us from Harbor City onward still remains very much acceptable listens & Tapestry happens to be a solid conclusion of H.A.R.D.’s run. The production balances boom bap & trap so both MCs represent the east & the west.

Score: 7/10

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Legends Will Never Die

Just a 27 year old guy from Detroit, Michigan who passionately loves hip hop culture & music as a whole

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