DMV artist Rashad Stark has quietly made his name known between participating in video game tournaments, such as Swayze‘s Saturday Night Smash Cycle II, and just being an artist who gives his everything whenever he steps onto the scene. His latest project, Royalty, blends melodic hip-hop with a few nerdy tendencies while still making an album that can be played in any setting. It’s got tracks for every mood, from the dark to the bouncy to the vibeouts and everywhere in between. For instance, the EZITO-aided “Tokyo/Shibuya” paints a picture of Stark having fun in Tokyo with a stripper who seems ripped out of a Weeknd fever dream in that she’s down to roll and doesn’t give a damn about her situation; instead, she’s out to have some fun herself, boyfriend be damned.
The album itself also has its fair share of reflective lyrics and songs mixed in with the vibes. An example of this shows up on “Waste Time/Betray Me.” This one features Stark bouncing from “I’m about to smash this baddie” to “she’s going to just screw me over anyway even after I give her my time and energy and that scares me” within four minutes. That’s a highlight for me, since it shows some duality with its approach to the “let’s smash and chill and see where it goes” energies we get on so many songs these days. He’s being vulnerable while still being somewhat impenetrable.
Overall, the album was an easy listen but one that has some weight to it. If you’re looking for some somewhat-introspective lyrics that still don’t forget to have fun with themselves while still being heavy-hitting when needed, I think you could do a helluva lot worse than Royalty. Plus, the back cover he dropped on IG references Akira, so he’s good by me. Check it out above and remember to support dope music in all its forms.