BEST TRACKS: Be Nice 2 Me, Jaws, Linkdin, Inside out, Closer
FCC clean: Inside Out, Jaws, Side by Side, Topman, Special Place, Feel Like, For Nothing, Anything, The Silent Boy Cries
Bladee is one of the forerunners of emo cloud rap, making this style of music since 2013, before the likes of Lil Peep and XXXTENTACION entered the scene in a major way. This mixtape is characterized by plush trap-beats underlaying a dreamy, atmospheric feel created by bright melodies and reverberating vocal distortion. It’s a sound that surrounds you, allowing you to slowly sink in. The album is saturated with memorable lines, sometimes heartfelt and sometimes flexing, but always clever. Refreshingly, this emo-rap album is definitely more emo than flexing. Bladee is vulnerable on this album, showing fear, dejection, and downright desperation. Smartwater is the track most exemplary of this emo display, “If you would want me dead, I would be into it. I just want your attention”.
I’m in awe of the striking production quality on this album. Vocals are heavily autotuned but still tasteful. Droning vocals, reminiscent of quranic recitation, make for a trance-like experience. With the baddest beat, wittiest lines, and best mix job, the starting track of the album is track 4, Be Nice 2 Me. What stands about this track is how the second verse is slowed down and distorted.
There might be a tad too many ice metaphors and references to Drain Gang, to the point where it becomes a little cringe. And the intermission track could have been done without, but this isn’t really a statement on Bladee, as this track is cartier’gods interlude, in which Bladee only makes a fleeting appearance. Critics say that the sonic palette of Icedancer is dizzying and annoying, but I disagree. I think the hooks are hyper melodic and solid enough to ground the music. At first listen, I admit that Bladee’s style might sound chaotic, but even to the untrained ear, the seemingly haphazard elements marry together in a very sensicle way by the second listen. After traversing this hurdle, Icedancer becomes much more enjoyable and even addicting.