Division All Stars exceed themselves with a highly groovy song winking at old-school hip-hop while perfectly capturing each crews’ charms.
Title: Hang out! Label: EVIL LINE RECORDS Release date: 16/07/2021 Genre: Rap/Hip-Hop
1 - Hang out!
1 – Hang out!
Division All Stars went big for their summer 2021 tune “Hang out!”. Something that has been obvious by now is that, with each year that passes, the all star group manages to improve upon their previous work and releases another massive tune that will refuse to leave your head.
“Hang out!” is a song that you can expect to play for long – after all, there are 6 groups performing – but its length doesn’t hinder the enjoyment this time around. Additionally, the mixing this time was fine-tuned to make all groups sound good in the unison chorus.
Let’s dive in-depth into this track.
Like all Division All Stars songs released up until now, “Hang out!” is focused on showcasing the talents and unique identities of each crew in the franchise.
It’s a song perfect to introduce someone to the franchise but also a good way to sum up the activities up until then for each crew, with long-time fans getting to check how much they’ve improved against the other crews.
What I absolutely love about this song is the good vibes right from the start. Those vinyl scratches, the sampled vocals introducing you to this tune, the old-school brass section that gives off those summer vibes, that massive bassline leading to the first verse.
It’s pretty much a perfect intro and you know that this track is going to be good by how confident it presented itself from the get-go.
All crews have a distinct sound in their sections. “Hang out!” perfectly captures the vibe of each crew and in the individual sections, it brings a bit of the individual flavor of each character into the mix, something that, even for those just enjoying the music by the Hypnosis Mic franchise – without following the story – will be easy to notice.
This is, in my books, when storytelling through music is well done.
You don’t need to know the lore/story to actually enjoy the music. Out of all Division All Stars songs, I’d say this one is the best for those just wanting to enjoy the music without the hassle of following multiple manga volumes, spin-offs, games, anime, and drama CDs (it can be intimidating for those wanting to get into the project).
“Hang out!” is all about good vibes, showcasing the charms of each group, their improvements, and, in a way, the bonds they’ve created (both the characters as well as the chemistry between voice actors when performing).
Although all crew parts are pretty solid and groovy at all times, there are 2 specific crews that threw it out of the park this time around: Fling Posse and Bad Ass Temple.
While everyone is trying to be either intense and aggressive, those 2 crews – and to some extent, Dotsuitare Hompo – showcased genuinely unique vibes that go way beyond intensity and intimidation.
Fling Posse brought Bossa Nova-inspired melodies into the mix, with that section evolving from dreamy with vibes and atmospheric synths taking the spotlight in Ramuda’s part to laidback when Gentaro and Dice’s parts come.
From the music storytelling alone, you can tell one character is in a creative situation – hence the “dreamy” vibe – and the other two are hanging out in a relaxed way, hence the entrance of those bossa nova vibes from the acoustic guitar. And that’s the vibe you get without even paying attention to the lyrics.
Bad Ass Temple brings their unique mix of hip-hop and Buddhist music and what ensues is really one of the best parts in all Division All Stars songs released to date.
Kuko (CV: Shota Hayama) tackles a strong section with a big focus on traditional Buddhist elements, creating – even if subtly – a temple vibe, intense but calm at the same time. The rap has a unique flair, focusing on rolling those “R” sounds – a trademark from that region – but also doing so in little bursts.
In a way, it reminds me of how Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis sings. It’s that quirky in the way Shota Hayama tackles and accentuates those consonants.
The sampled sound of a brass singing bowl and praying wheel (those are Buddhist instruments used in meditation) plays across all parts however it’s more intense in the Jyushi and Hitoya sections. Those are nice details that may go unnoticed – taking into account how deep the bassline is – but it really brings a unique touch to Bad Ass Temple’s part.
Now in a more generalist way, as I mentioned right at the start of this review, the mixing this time around is incredibly clean and one of the highlights in “Hang out!”.
It helps that the song is less cluttered in comparison with previous ones. Although previous Division All Stars songs have been pretty groovy and enjoyable to listen to, some of the chorus sections have been incredibly crowded and lacking clarity.
This time around, with a less cluttered instrumental, a massive focus on bass, and riding on top of a comfortable tempo, fans get to appreciate all voices in a clean, clear way.
It is noticeable that not everyone is performing the chorus at the same time (they are all performing the chorus but there’s some tweaking here and there with some members being given more power in some parts than others, something that from a mixing standpoint is made to sound good).
There are vocals that are subdued (the mid-ranged ones – baritones), with the higher and lower tones standing out much more than usual. This contrast gives way for vibrato to actually be noticeable in the harmonies, which sounds good with such a groovy song at the same time that it showcases just how talented is the cast for this project.
Good vibes paint the soundscape of an awesome summer with all crews in the Hypnosis Mic showcasing their growth and charms in what is the best Division All Stars song to date.