“En Route” feat. Franchise
The only way an artist can survive in the music industry is to adapt or do something totally different than what’s happening on the mainstream level. This sometimes becomes the mainstream normal, such as how the trap sound is what’s popular on the radio and has been for quite some time. Pittsburgh’s sound in hip-hop has changed periodically with the introduction of Wiz Khalifa nearly a decade ago, followed up with a new style of fun raps from Mac Miller (it me) five or so years ago. It’s time for that sound to change once again and Palermo Stone tries to do it with his latest release, HenDawg Millionaire.
HDM takes the left field approach with it’s sound, mixing a blend of in your face beats with harmonizing vocals. You hear Stone go from rapping to auto-tune singing on such cuts as the ILLuminati G produced “Money Dance”; it invades your ear drums and takes over the rhythm in your body and there’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t be surprised if you hit the Dame Dash dance a time or two when that record comes on halfway through the album. Stone takes his life and what’s happening at the moment, putting it all into the music. You have the celebration track, “Money Dance”, and then you have a song like “My Baby”. This one showcases Stone’s love for his fiancé, giving us a visual story about her being down to ride for him. You can see it when you listen: Palermo and his lady riding down the highway counting money and laughing while they’re on the path to more success.
One of the better things about this album is it’s a concept project. The events and songs that you hear take place in one car ride as Stone and his Rare Nation compadres are on the way to a show and these are new songs he’s playing for them on the drive. “En Route” gives this away while being one of the standout songs on HenDawg Millionaire. Palermo gets a call at the beginning to set things up before going into an auto-tune hook that lets us, and the caller, know that he’s on the way. “En Route” has a double meaning as it suffices for a setup song on this album and him and the Rare Nation crew being on the path towards success. The featured verse from Franchise is a scene stealer and offers a different take as he talks about traveling around the states and being next on the scene to bubble while steering clear of the auto-tune.
Sonically and lyrically there’s almost nothing wrong with the project. There are times where the auto-tune can be a bit much and annoy you but overall this is a solid album. The weakness lies in its length; songs start going and sound good, then cut off once you think there’s more. This happens frequently, taking away from the replay value of each individual song. If you’re going to listen to it all the way through it adds to the replay value though, letting you hop in the passenger seat to hear songs that Stone has been crafting for his next project that aren’t finished (even though for this project they’re complete).
You can listen to HenDawg Millionaire from start to finish in one car ride to wherever you’re going in the city so if you’re looking for a new sound and some quality music, you should give Palermo Stone a shot. If you’ve been following him since The 2nd Coming a couple years ago, you’ll notice the growth and difference in his music and appreciate it. Sounds change every few years in an area; it might be time for this one to catch on in Pittsburgh.
3 out of 5