The Narrative Shadowpact (Self-released)

LEO Weekly

There is a certain early-’90s quality to the production and raps on “The Narrative,” the debut album by Louisville hip-hop duo Shadowpact, and this is a good thing. The beats, courtesy of Artemis the Archer, are a little gritty, with plenty of jazz qualities thrown in for good measure — like a lost Digable Planets or A Tribe Called Quest record. The music skews toward minor key changes and thick bass lines, appropriate accompaniment for the personal rhymes laid down by emcees Modern Marvill and Sleye Kooper. That the two rep nerd culture, with references to “X-Men” and “Star Wars,” alongside raps about serious subjects like relationships and oblique political nods, is a testament to the breadth of the album, which cleverly jumps from subject to subject, remaining fresh throughout.

REVIEW: Shadowpact – “The Narrative”

The Narratvie
Little Heart Records

Shadowpact could have put out the Louisville Hip Hop 7” of the year, an award I just made up. There are 5 really good songs on their new album The Narrative. Then there are 5 other songs that sound the same but aren’t as fun. There isn’t a bad song on the album, but 7 out of the 10 songs could be one long song and I wouldn’t know the difference. 

What I really like about Shadowpact is all their hip references. Hip in my world at least. Their name comes from the DC universe, and they are constantly using their hipster sensibility to reference things like South Park’s version of Al Gore or sitting at a poker table with Gambit.  And if you don’t know who Gambit is, I say go fuck yourself, and I have a feeling these guys might too. The exceptional track “8-Bit” has enough X-Men references to make Professor X do the #NaeNae.

Tracks like “8 Bit,” “Bragging Rights,” and “No Comment” stand out on this album because of their beats.  Those three have officially made it into my summer playlist, particularly “8 Bit” because it has the Nintendo sound that it alludes to in its name. Outside of those three songs everything feels like it’s a jazz track sampled over the same generic hip hop beat, mostly at the same tempo. Even so, I still like “Flotilla” and “Salvador Stopwatch.” 
Fans of Atmosphere, which I’m mostly not, will really dig these guys. Fans of Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets, will see those influences but ultimately be disappointed by the lack of depth. Fans of 2 Chainz, well, there’s nothing for you here. Shadowpact never gives a shout out to their stove or their wrist

It’s exciting to see more Hip Hop coming out of Louisville. Especially since Shadowpact is nothing like I’ve heard locally. I remember a time when I couldn’t name one local rapper, but now we have acts like Shadowpact, Skyscraper Stereo,1200,  and Jalin Roze. Take some time to give all of these groups a listen. Support Louisville Hip Hop!