Release Date: May 31, 2018
Label: Hazheart Records
Review by Jared Stossel
Alright, I'll be frank with you: at first, I looked at lil aaron's name and said, "I don't think I'm going to like this." It was a moment of judgement that I swore to myself I wouldn't have anymore; I've tried for years to not be the dick-ish "well I'd never listen to that" guy. I've been trying to break my predisposition to not giving hip-hop a fair chance since high school, as I've grown up on a diet based heavily in rock music. Not to mention, there have been a plethora of rappers in the past two years coming out with the surname "lil" in front of them, with little to none attracting my attention.
But I got this album sent over to me from someone I trust, so I gave it a shot. I wasn't disappointed. While this isn't necessarily the hip-hop music I would listen to on a daily basis, lil aaron's ROCK$TAR FAMOU$ is a fun ride, and one that manages to blend together the new era of Soundcloud rap with the generation of grown up MySpace kids that remember the days of starting a musical project with nothing but a laptop, a microphone, and a willingness to create.
The first track, "QUIT", features a drum track from none other than Blink-182's Travis Barker, and is eerily reminiscent of Hellogoodbye's early work (think Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!). "4 LIFE" blends Autotune-laced vocals against an acoustic guitar chorus line and an 808-laden backdrop. The next two tracks, "MAKIN MONEY" (with a guest vocal spot from pop vocalist Kiiara) and "STUNT" are far more based in today's age of hip-hop, and didn't appeal as much to me. "SOMETIMES", however, seamlessly blends together booming beats with a distorted electric guitar, bringing the old styles of the angsty teen generation together with that of the new.
The EP's title track is by far the most energetic throughout the release. We hear Aaron talk about being "ROCK$TAR FAMOU$", yet he manages to do it in a way that's not aggressively annoying (which, to me, is the downfall of a number of rappers in today's day and age). Rico Nasty throws in a hyped-up guest verse, only adding to the "party-time" vibe the track gives off.
The last track, "ANYMORE", includes a guest spot from one today's most talked about pop stars , Kim Petras. Their collaboration works. Their voices complement one another well, and helps bring the EP to a satisfying close.
My only major complaint: Aaron's got a great voice. Why so much AutoTune? I don't necessarily get it, and that element of his music may not be for me, but ROCK$TAR FAMOU$ is still a well-crafted release. It's a seven-track EP that I believe can bridge the gap between those in the alternative and hip-hop music worlds, giving everyone just a little something that they can get behind. I'm glad I gave it a shot.