Fling Posse “Fling Posse Before The 2nd D.R.B” (Review)

Fling Posse put the color in Shibuya but underneath it lies a darkness that makes Before The 2nd D.R.B a haunting release.

Title: Fling Posse Before The 2nd D.R.B
Label: EVIL LINE RECORDS (King Records)
Release date: 26/02/2020
Genre: Rap/Hip-Hop

Tracklist:

1 - ピンク色の愛 (Ramuda Amemura solo  CV: Yusuke Shirai)
2 - (Gentaro Yumeno solo CV: Soma Saito)
3 - SCRAMBLE GAMBLE (Dice Arisugawa solo CV: Yukihiro Nozuyama)
4 - Drama Track(TBD)

Track by track analysis:

1 – ピンク色の愛

Pink iro no Ai might sound like a cheerful title to this song however, that is not exactly what we get with Ramuda’s solo track. Muffled bass melodies, dirty synths, distant, dreamy atmospheric synth hits create a suffocating yet contained soundscape that haunts the listener.

The chorus goes all out haunting us with scratches, broken melodies and high pitched synth accents completing the stifling soundscape that takes over this track.

A nice touch in this song, that further enhances the uniqueness of the track, is its unusual structure, only counting with a whole chorus and 2 verses before you suddenly come to a halt.

However, there is brightness in this track, with soulful, summery guitar riffs making their way in the second verse, showing a different side to the dark vibe in the first verse. It is as if Ramuda is reminiscing about a time in which he was happy and or “free” with a genuine, unusual, warmth exuding from this song.

Tropical elements – even if minimalistic, still in a sort of dream-like state – join in to create an ultimately unique song.

When it comes to the rap performance, this is easily the best I’ve heard from Yusuke Shirai. His rap is on point to create a haunting experience for the listener. His flow is another thing that stands out as he cruises through this song with a poise and confidence that he’s never exuded before.

Pink iro no Ai is, hands down, the best Ramuda solo track to date. 

2 –

A jolly piano beat makes its way for Gentaro’s Utena. However, things turn into a melancholic display of reflection and realization if you pay attention to the lyrics. The song itself is rather simple. The piano melody in the intro evolves into a looping, bright melody that accompanies the listener throughout the personal story told by Gentaro.

The drums are compact, with focus on a snare-kick sound as opposed to going all out on it or just bring sampled drums into the mix. This stripped down rap track with pop melodies certainly paints a pretty, bubbly picture however, that is completely overshadowed by the emotional, reminiscent story-telling rap that accompanies it.

When you notice this, those broken guitar melodies and strings that are far in the background start to take over the track, unmasking the track’s fake easy-listening bubbly sound and revealing the weaknesses and worries of Gentaro.

When it comes to the performance itself, Soma Saito has 3 completely things to tackle:

  • Rap in a slow pace while resorting to his low register – to make casually tell Gentaro’s story,
  • Clean singing parts in the chorus resorting to his high register,
  • Fast and incise rap in the intense last verse resorting to his mid-tones.

Saito went for a performance using a wide part of his vocal range and aced everything. Solid performance on both ends, also Gentaro’s best solo track to date. 

3 – SCRAMBLE GAMBLE

High-tension, passionate Dice introduces us to the dark, hard-hitting SCRAMBLE GAMBLE.

Off beat rap and off beat instrumentals shape this track into a rather unique outing. The two are only in sync in the chorus, coinciding in the fanfare and pride that this track exudes.

There is a dissonance in this track due to the irregular, pounding beat coexisting with polarizing electronica, jazz and textbook hip-hop rhythms. The fact that the track is majorly slow paced makes each beat sink in, grabbing the listener’s attention with ease.

Yukihiro Nozuyama goes for a complete rap performance, mixing Dice’s trademark straightforward rap with a more passionate approach, now that he is tackling friendship and pride for his crew.

It was interesting to listen to Nozuyama tackling rap in different tempos and going on and off beat multiple times throughout without missing an off-beat. Remarkable work.

Top performance, an obvious upgrade from his first solo song.

Final considerations

Fling Posse are finally on their own league. The emotional rappers show us different perspectives in live through 3 haunting solo tracks.

Friendship and memories are at center stage for Fling Posse Before The 2nd D.R.B. This is the common theme that drives Ramuda, Gentaro and Dice, as noticeable in the lyrics of all three tracks.

Pink iro no Ai is a nostalgic track with an appealing dark, suffocating twist to it. Memories are hazy and nostalgia comes afloat for this performance. It is such a surprising change to Ramuda‘s usual bubbly rap, going through a mature transformation for this track. There is an underlying sadness in this track, felt by the fleeting guitar riffs in the background that contrasts with the broken, dysfunctional sound that is introduced to us. It shows a human, fragile side to a character that has a lot to hide.

In contrast, Utena goes all out bubbly and laidback on a first listen. Something that Pink iro no Ai does not bother to mask at all.

Utena masks Gentaro‘s sadness, weakness and reluctance about opening up and be truthful to himself and others. The song plays around with those emotions and executes that concept perfectly. While initially the song sounds upbeat, exuding a welcoming pop vibe, things get serious as we progress through it and notice that, all along, this was no happy song at all. These are the questions, the concerns that go through Gentaro’s mind when the theme “friends” is put on the table.

SCRAMBLE GAMBLE is pretty unique in itself, mixing completely different concepts, melodies, tempos and approaches to his rap performance to impact the listener. And truth be told, you can’t make yourself hit the pause bottom when listening to this track, you want to hear more, you want time to understand this track. There is pride on Dice‘s rap, pride for his “all-in” lifestyle, pride for his friends, pride for Fling Posse. Risking it all for his friends like he does for gamble moves him, and even if they are not on the same page yet – the dissonance in the song might be a perfect illustration of that -, in the end they fit well together thus, the harmony we find in the chorus.

When it comes to the rap department I can only point out that everyone stepped up their game. Yusuke Shirai put aside the overly bubbly gimmick and went all out with a dark performance that hits you right in the feelings. You can feel the disorientation, the dysfunction and how everything seems like a dream through his performance.

Soma Saito does the impossible – possible, if you are familiar with his solo work – of using a massive part of his range, from low to high register, for his performance. What seemed like it would be a monotonic performance ended up having a depth and meaning that I was not expecting.

Yukihiro Nozuyama explores more of his rap skills for his performance. He rapped most of the song off beat – which is a difficult thing to pull off – and was shifting between incisive rap to hard-hitting, slow paced rap, making his performance overflowing with a unique, challenging vibe that only Dice could pull off.

All in all, Fling Posse released a perfect CD. The music on this release has more depth than on their first outing together. They are no longer a bubbly pop-rap outfit – they have not been one since Stella -, they now touch where it hurts. Their rap is overflowing with complex emotions. This is not a showcase of pride for Shibuya – although Dice explores this a bit in his solo track – or a diss on other crews, these are human stories being told about the inner struggles that each member is battling against.

Their wishes. Fling Posse are a tough nut to crack but fans are already seeing glimpses of their true colors and, more than ever, they are starting to stand out among Hypnosis Mic’s crews.

Dark, emotional and introspective, Fling Posse make themselves heard with the massive release that is Fling Posse Before The 2nd D.R.B.

Fling Posse Before The 2nd D.R.B is available for purchase on CDJAPAN.


Fling Posse Before The 2nd D.R.B is available for streaming on Spotify.

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