Flip+xMoku- A Godly Trip 2 Album Review
(By: Thomas Rodriguez)
South Florida resident Sean Capistrano showcases some excellent emotion and music making potential in a collection of moody R&B and hip hop.
A Godly Trip 2, the latest musical endeavor by local artist Sean Capistrano, (known on this project as Flip+xMoku), is the prime example of the potential creativity that each musical individual has in their tool belt. It’s definitely not your typical South Florida rap album; instead of wallowing in ear breaking bass slaps, trap production, and grime, it’s melodic, pretty, and very much in tune with its emotions. Different does not equal bad, especially in this case. Moku’s excellent production chops, powerful emotion, and unfiltered ambition speak volumes in AGT2’s tight 33 minute runtime. It’s a character portrait that isn’t scared to separate itself from the pack of SoFlo contemporaries, and despite its lack of big name talent, still deserves a listen.
Upon first listen, A Godly Trip 2 is very much born out of a love for the blends of low-fi R&B, personality driven pop, and alternative hip hop coursing through the mainstream. Joji and Brockhampton are clear influences for the production and mixture of singing and rapping, but Moku very much takes these models and injects his own DNA into them. Opener “W.O.W.Y.D” is a perfect example of the lifeblood of the project: the crunchy drums, foggy woodwinds, and soft keys play a perfect backdrop to Capistrano’s excellent contemplation on obsession with death, success, and art. I especially love the mantra of the track:
“Why obsess with your death, you’re already sleeping”.Thought provoking and catchy, “W.O.W.Y.D” is a great start to the record.
This effective emotion comes through on several tracks throughout, like on “I Hate My Own Voice”, an incredibly endearing track that is about exactly what the title suggests. The varied emotions of the verses in many of these tracks is something that pokes it out of the crowd of South Florida rappers: sure, there can be a bit of flexing here and there, but the album is very much human, and speaks to the levels of stress or insecurity one may have, regardless of age.
A gripe some may have with AGT2 is that sometimes the singing can be a bit off key, like in “One More Time”. After several listens, I’ve come to the conclusion that AGT2 has the Kid Cudi Effect. What mean by this, is that the weight of the lyrics and earnestness behind the vocals surpasses any technical shortcomings. Listening to the descending notes and haunting synth lines behind Moku’s depressed vocals on “Unrequite” makes it a genuinely haunting listen, almost as if you were hearing Capistrano pour out his feelings from the other side of a wall (and that guitar freak out at its end? DAMN!). “Goodbye” makes for a great closer in its depraved guitar chords (courtesy of Jubb, the sole featured contributor throughout the project) and harrowing vocal points. Moku’s passion is clear in the production and volume, helping the track succeed beyond any vocal shortcomings it may have.
Something that no one can deny about A Godly Trip 2, is that despite clearly being a starting point, it is bursting with ambition and potential. The instrumentation is lush and varied (like on the boom bap and guitar pairing on the dark “Closer”), whereas most up and coming rap albums feature skeletal trap beats and bass. Take the many beat switches throughout the album, like that of “The Duality”; it starts as a deep dive into being both tired and at peace, only to transition into a moody rap piano line and minimal drum work to support one of the most heated verses of the entire project. The flows here are technically impressive, and the bars actually have a pretty intriguing rhyme scheme. The two interludes sandwiching this track develop Capistrano’s hip hop and R&B infused persona on the album, making for two criminally short (but still solid) breathers in the album’s runtime. “Slipspace” is a minimal, out of this world ballad that is both atmospheric and ear grabbing, especially with Jubb’s ukelele playing and splashes of reverb. Each song is very much its own beast, standing both on their own and as a part of the whole, making AGT2 stand out among many local, samey sounding tapes.
Before I close my review out, I want to mention one track that I consider stellar: “Break”. A song about nearly reaching your breaking point, feeling alone, and facing the pressures of wanting to feel at peace; it summons goosebumps every time I listen to it. The gorgeous piano keys, slamming percussion, and quirky synthesizers combine to provide a perfect blend of anger and sadness, all of which is further accentuated by Moku’s beautiful outro and fiery verse. It’s the theme song to someone in a pit, trying to find a foothold to escape. It captures feelings familiar to all, but are still entirely Moku’s. It’s a heart wrenching moment, but still magnetic in its executive. It packs all the emotion some artists put into eight minute tracks into a rush of two minutes and 27 seconds. Perfect.
In short, A Godly Trip 2 is a pretty damn good showcase of the potential and ambition Capistrano’s music has. Despite a few lacking vocal chops, it compensates with some engaging writing, powerful production, and raw as hell emotion. Does this get a SoFlosound approval?
Yes, yes it does.
Listen to A Godly Trip 2 Here!