REVIEW: The Story of Love x Hate – The Good Sin

The Good Sin
The Story of Love x Hate
Self-released; 2012


The Good Sin’s new LP, The Story of Love x Hate, is the MC’s follow-up to last year’s Late, a well-received nine track collaboration with producer 10.4 Rog. This blog called Late one of Seattle’s best hip-hop albums of the year, a concise, thoughtful exploration of the rapper’s everyday life and how it intersected with his burgeoning musical hustle. Renton’s 10.4 was at least half responsible for the quality of the record, lending burnished drums and airy keyboards that provided a counterbalance to The Good Sin’s deep, grounded articulation. It was one of the most well-conceived collections of the year, a grouping of tracks that justly deserved being called an “album.”

The Story of Love x Hate picks up right where that record left off. Here, Sin narrows his lyrical focus down to the types of love and hate he encounters on the daily. Musically, it continues the refreshing trend set on Late, eliminating superfluous sonic baggage associated with much of contemporary rap and instead relying on uncluttered pop- and soul-driven arrangements.

The Story is one of the easiest Seattle rap albums to lay back and vibe out to of recent memory. There’s the Pacific Northwest tribute, “Ode to Home,” where Sin finds simple comfort in the area’s perpetual drizzle over a set of pristine keyboard plinks. “Mission Impossible” (featuring Blakk Soul) is a stirring groove about the complexities inside relationships hindered by past emotional baggage. “Gimme Your Love” is a huge geek-out moment for fans of late 80s/early 90s R&B. Producer Vitamin D flips a Bobby Brown sample (“Roni”) into a rolling synth-laden head-nodder and Sin accompanies it with brassy rhymes about the fickle love of fans, bloggers and other parties — those quick to show adulation to an artist when things are rolling, but just as fast to turn when their expectations aren’t met.

The Story of Love x Hate is another big highlight for the MC also known as Sinseer, whose talent in crafting relatable poetics is reinforced by a natural commanding delivery, but I’m guessing part of the man’s intention on this outing was to give shine to The Town’s woefully under-represented R&B/soul scene. The album’s opening track, “Lost Souls,” features Black Stax’s Felicia Loud who sets the tone for the rest of the LP with her spirit-raising gospel. Sean Carson and Mario Sweet also lend their grown-up crooning on a couple of tracks. Best of all, though, is Alisha Roney, a Seattle native (now New York-based) who I’d never heard of until this album but deserves greater attention based solely on the strength and raw humanity of her two appearances (“Eye 2 Eye” and “A Lot To Say ‘Alisha’s Revenge’”).

It’s interesting these days to watch and see how the area rap scene shakes out, which rappers and producers show staying power and which ones fail to resonate. Less than two years ago, The Good Sin was just another face in the crowd with one so-so mixtape and a handful of guest shots to show for himself. The Story of Love x Hate, as with his preceding album, should endure because of its fully-formed ideas, foundational elements that are so important in crafting a cohesive body of work rather than a haphazard assortment of tracks. Sinseer’s approach to MCing seems focused on the long-haul and he’s positioned himself to be one of Seattle’s key hip-hop representatives for the foreseeable future.

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DOWNLOAD: The Story of Love x Hate – The Good Sin

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The Good Sin released his follow-up to 2011’s excellent Late today. The Story of Love x Hate is available to download at your own price now. 206UP.COM hasn’t heard it yet but will soon and rest assured a highly controversial opinion will be proffered forth. So all you rappers and producers prepare your Twitter fingers for battle; we love ambiguous Tweets over here. Wink.