Here is our StarVation album review for their self-titled release. Back in August, I introduced Invaders to Maryland rap collective, StarVation. Now, they’ve debuted with their official, self-titled release, StarVation, containing 12 tracks displaying the group’s unique talents with old school flair. Jaxx, A-Boogie, Sling-Shot, and Slim Devito with their producer Ojizz ‘OntheTrak’ are taking one step at a time to break through the current hip-hop landscape. While there is familiarity -women, money, and sex are still heavily referred to -their true reasons for being part of the game lie closer to that of truly bettering their lives and those of their loved ones.
These men have an astonishing chemistry that jumps out of the speakers. Tracks like “Hands in the Air” and the album’s opener “Meaning of Hip Hop” help the listener picture the onstage banter between members. The songs define them as a collective, young and starving. “Gotta Give It Up” could easily be the group’s calling card, establishing them as game-changers. “What’s rap without StarVation? It ain’t shiii…” The game needs new voices and these young men are refreshed and ready to go. They highlight each members own style. Devito seems to go the hardest, while Jaxx takes his time to fully prepare his words. Boogie’s rhymes lean towards most clever, but Sling-Shot has the smoothest delivery.
As if they’re mentoring each other, each track is a team effort -lyrically and sonically. What is separating StarVation from other groups is producer, Ojizz Onthetrak. He lends a keen ear to his craft and his feel for sonic undercurrents guide him to creating truly unique and hypnotic sounds. His understanding of music’s relevance is displayed adeptly on tracks like “Benjamin Button” which features a gloss of jazz essentials with a rougher backbeat and “I’m Dreamin'” which is inspired through Ojizz’s understanding of quintessential late ’80s-’90s beats and the group’s lyrical contributions; “I’m thinking of a get rich quick scheme, tryna make a million off a dollar and a dream.” The truest form of anthem that StarVation has produced thus far. The track is a force to be reckoned with and is a true testament to success in the music industry.
While the record as a whole is a steel-clad glove thrown in the gauntlet, the tracks and men themselves take a few fumbles. “Peace” can be tossed aside as album filler, where the song as a whole fades into the background compared to its predecessors. Lyrically, there are moments of hesitation. Some words seemed to be delivered off-key or off-beat, while others seem too rushed, when could’ve made more of an imprint if slowed down. “Rock Da Mic” sounds like an unfinished ode to the group itself, which could come off as indulgent or uninspired. “Wantin’ More” lacks the punch and bold swagger compared to others like, “GOD Body Flow” -which, while maybe a bit over-zealous, is romances the idea of the scene rather than try to jump headfirst into it.
Their commercials tracks are club-ready, StarVation’s approach seems to be about being blessed to have, rather than taking, whether it be sex, drugs, or alcohol. The beats hit hard, preparing the members and listener for a slick jab of expression. “Potty Mouth” -while commerical, is infectious, conjuring images of the crowd repeating the track’s hook, “I’m flexin'” along with “Ima chief ’til I faint.” Another standout is “Bad Girl” which seems to nod again to StarVation’s ’90s influence. A hip-hop loveletter, girls will love it despite the emphasis on sexual explicitness and other women. With the “bad bitch” generation in full force, it’s addictive.
In some respects, StarVation’s youth may plague them and, at the same time, garner a lasting fanbase that can grow with them. All of them relish in that ’90s culture, adopting that tone and persona that will ring in the ears of a new generation. They’re conscious-commentary rappers, but they need to be conscious of what they’re doing. Ojizz, Slim, Sling-Shot, Jaxx, and Boogie can all get carried away or not push hard enough. As they continue, I have no doubt that they’ll find their voice and true balance of hard-hitting hip-hop and revolutionary beats will shine. They’re potential is expansive and there’s really nothing that can hinder them but their own ambitions. Only time will tell, but I’ll be anxiously awaiting more.
*Find Jessi Roti directly on Twitter @jessitaylorRO and be sure to follow @ScreenInvasion!