Hit-Boy is a force to be reckoned with. Responsible for last year’s biggest hit “N**as in Paris” for Jay-Z and Kanye West, the latter’s protege proved he has potential as a solo artist with HITstory, his first mixtape as a G.O.O.D. Music artist (and third overall). The project’s quality rivaled that of most albums and had a few songs that could’ve easily served as singles (“Old School Caddy” with Kid Cudi in particular). The tape showed Hit-Boy clearly learned from Kanye West that just behind the boards isn’t going to be enough. Can he rap, though? He resoundingly answered with HITstory, which featured autobiographical content – even putting Colton, California, where Hit-Boy went to high school, on the map, when he name-dropped the little-known city some 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
Having signed a management and record label deal for his Hits Since 87 imprint, Hit-Boy seems on the verge of cementing his place a superproducer/rapper. With the HS87 mixtape “All I’ve Ever Dreamed Of,” a collective that includes Hit-Boy, Audio Push and K. Roosevelt, he delivers an opus that’s on par, if not better than, Cruel Summer (on which he produced three songs, including “Clique”). Hit-Boy has no problem sharing the spotlight, that much is evident: the lengthy list of featured guests on HS87 tape includes newcomers Travi$ Scott, B-Mac the Queen and Kent M$ney as well as vets such as Common, Xzibit, Juicy J and 2 Chainz.
The cohesiveness and the variety on “All I’ve Ever Dreamed Of” is astounding. Standouts include the soulful rise-to-riches tale “Enormous” featuring a hook sung by Cocaine 80s, which opens with an fierce acapella from Hit-Boy that sounds like his take on College Dropout-era Kanye West. Meanwhile, “Cypher” is a posse cut to appease purists and backpackers as much as bloggers and casual fans. It’s just good rap music, period. Hit-Boy has unmistakeable pop sensibility with a hint of classic R&B. He shows that off with“Do Me Now,” which is already an urban radio single that’s making a star out of R&B singer K. Roosevelt. “Tonight” is in the same vein but features a spacy, ethereal instrumental on which K. Roosevelt’s voice masterfully shines.
HS87’s “All I’ve Ever Dreamed Of” is one of the better albums releases this year bar-none. It speaks volumes to Hit-Boy’s greatness as a producer, rapper and executive. His potential is definitely being realized and then some.