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Ranks ATM: Substance Music Album Review

  Jointz   2020/10/21

 


Ranks ATM comes through to represent as part of the African Trap Movement, as proudly carried in his rap name. The movement aims to bring an African flavour to trap music with originators like Emtee, Saudi and Sjava having done a lot towards that goal.


If it's not clear from the album art, Substance Music refers more to music on substances than music of substance, as you will come to notice when listening. It's a short project made up of 8 songs, with a total play time just shy of 28 minutes.


It's mostly mumble rap style of trap over slow trippy beats to carry through the psychedelic effect.


As a trapper, Ranks realises the importance of family and close ties while agonising over betrayal and trust issues. He gets into it right from the beginning on How Could It Be where he mentions the long way he has come and how his drive is fuelled by the need to do right by his mother. What's a rapper without an attachment to their mama!!


The project continues with slow music as Ranks gets whiny as he needs some reassurance from those around him. The message is repeated on Die For Me and Oh Why. He also hints at reflecting on his own mortality a few times through the project.


It's not all gloomy. There are songs like Woke Me Up where Ranks gives thanks for seeing another day and noting that he will always get up regardless what life throws his way. His determination is reiterated on Silly, where he goes against different odds including pain and loss.


Kodeine Babii and Chase The Fade keep the music true to the theme of substance indulgence. His indulgence is driven by being a loner and opting to tell those around him he is fine while he isn't. Only being able to find comfort in himself.


The album features a number of artists including his brothers from ATM, Emtee and Saudi. It sees appearances by Stilo Magolide, Ricky Rick, Just G and Kraizie. Just G also contributed to the production along with long-time ATM producer Ruff.


Ranks' work on the project is sloppy even taking into consideration the theme of being on a psychedelic trip. We've heard the concept be pulled off better before. The verses and flows are poorly constructed. Giving an indication of lackluster effort. Some may relate to the music and what Ranks has to share in his music. But this album as a body of work doesn't do much in the way of carrying weight.