A lot of critics will tell you that concept albums do better without any singles, mostly because it’s too difficult to cut something as ambitious and still live by the traditional rules of pop music, but clearly, these same critics didn’t see someone like acclaimed rapper Mr. Reaper coming up in the game as quickly as he has. In his new single “Thru the Dark,” the progressive-minded songwriter encapsulates a lot of what he’s been through in the past couple of years without blowing up the entire narrative of his new LP, and if you haven’t given his music a shot yet, this is the right single to start with.
The story and mood of the parent album are held up quite exquisitely by the lyrical premise of this track, but it’s worth pointing out that “Thru the Dark” isn’t playing theatrics with heavy-handed poeticisms, either. Contrarily, the campy frills that are sometimes caught up in the pipeline between the record an artist wants to make and the emotion they want it to contain are nowhere to be found in this song; in their place, there’s nothing more than a lot of organic soul that reaches out to us and begs for little else beyond our attention.
Mr. Reaper’s music video for “Thru the Dark” is an extension of the vibe outlined in the lyrics, but it doesn’t simply recycle the concept of a verse with a lot of predictable imagery. This piece, much like its source material, is emotionally driven and puts a lot on the importance of contrast, though its subtle nods to this rapper’s swagger aren’t so clandestine as to let even rookie music critics step away without noticing. There’s no doubt this guy knows what he’s doing in the studio and, for that matter, anywhere else his music is on the speakers.
I can’t say that hip-hop isn’t producing a lot of amazing jams no matter which side of the dial you’re looking at this September, but it’s safe to say you can stick “Thru the Dark” on your must-listen list for sure. Mr. Reaper comes in hard and doesn’t let up on the beat in this performance, and even if his vocal wasn’t matched up with the kind of instrumental strut that could make anyone a fan of the alternatives in the hip-hop community today, something tells me we would still be talking about his ability all this fall.