Danchise: Somethin’ To Lean On (Review)

Rap-Royalty.com member, Danchise, is a rapper/singer/songwriter from Warwick, New York released his second mixtape “Somethin’ To Lean On” in December 2012. Like most, Danchise, has experienced various struggles and heartbreak and this influenced the mixtape because he wants to give music to support people through bad times. From songs describing heartbreaks to club tracks, the project explores various and numerous styles and topics showcasing Danchise’s range of skill. 

“Somethin’ To Lean On” opens with the album title track reflects the message Danchise aimed to portray with a mixture of simple but vivid lyricism and metaphors with a slightly annoying sampled hook. I really don’t think the production on this track did Danchise justice as his verses are pretty good with on-topic references of ‘things will get better’ without too many cliches, but the production was a little too bare. I also feel the opening track of an album should be a little more hard hitting, but as a single, “Somethin’ To Lean On” is definitely worth a listen or two.

The second track, “Aint About It”, keeps with the minimalistic production and slow tempo. However I think Danchise’s lyricism improves in the complexity in this track.The track is an into why Danchise raps and the flow reminds me of Jay-Z on 99 Problems. My one criticism of the track would be that I felt it could have used a bass drop as the instrumental loop seems a little over repetitive and similar throughout without much variation.

“Back In The Zone”, the third track of the mixtape features Rishi P who also featured on Shadowless’ self titled album I reviewed and didn’t overwhelm me on that particular feature. However the more upbeat instrumental from DJ Rcubed  was a welcome inclusion to a so far slow tempo mixtape. Danchise’s first verse’s lyricism, flow and delivery is pretty much faultless other than the instrumental remains slightly more prominent. The hook by Rishi really just doesn’t work for me however his verse is an improvement although the delivery is a little hit-and-miss. The third verse is split between the two artists, and although the differentiating tones don’t quite work with one another, I did like the fact they tried it, rather than the same old ‘feature has one verse, main artist has two’ format.

Track four, “Forever” has a slight whiny tone at first, however as Danchise keeps going on the verse it improves. The hook is a perfect interlude between the New York rappers verses which are filled with emotional lyricism and a quicker than expected flow which Danchise pulls off with considerable skill. One of the highlight of the mixtape which would even be perfect for radio with a few extra touches to the delivery.

“Quicksand” at track five is very similar to “Forever” in that it has an emotional semantic field of lyricism with a perfect hook, this time sang my Danchise himself. However it has a much more personal feel to it in my opinion as Danchise variates the styles from pure-rap to a little sing-song rap which I wish there was a little bit more too. Often times when underground rappers add a sampled narration from a different voice, it’s usually misinterpreted and completely unrelated, in this case it actually works very well as a bridge. 

In track seven comes the ‘heartbreak’ song “Who’s Loving Her Now”, the feature of a very talented vocalist, Devize, is a perfect juxtaposition to Danchise’s story telling verses which float between remorse and bitter anger in tone and lyricism, totally relatable to anyone who has ever suffered heartbreak. If this song was a Trey Songz / Drake collaboration it would be a sure hit, unfortunately Danchise and Devize are as equally, arguably more so, talented as the other pair, but not as famous, so it wont get the radio play, it seriously deserves. 

I couldn’t help but sigh as soon as I heard the opening instrumental to “Go Hard” because my pet hate is awful ordering on a tracklist and this is a classic case of it. Going from a deeply emotional, slow tempo’d track to a dance-y club track reminiscent of LMFAO’s “Party Rock” just doesn’t work. As for the actual song, it didn’t really have a “Somethin’ To Lean On” feel to it, but it is definitely a song to dance and drink too. I just wish it was placed on the track list better. 

Track eight, “True Colors”, returns to a slightly slower tempo and more emotional tone, not quite as bad as a transition of “Who’s Loving Her Now” to “Go Hard” though. The verses are an attempt of story telling mixed with a hook which appears quite like a rally or a protest anthem. It’s slightly middle of the road for me, and the instrumental is frankly annoying. Lyrics and flow are faultless though. 

“Young Homie” at track nine is reminiscent of Lupe Fiasco’s “Til I Get There” in the first verse and an improvement on the previous track whilst sounding oddly similar simultaneously. The sampled hook is perfectly fluent on a lyrical level with Danchise’s verses although the production doesn’t quite maintain the fluency between the two. Another song which could easily reach radio play if Danchise had a bigger following, which unfortunately he doesn’t have yet.

Track 10’s Fu2re featured “Fire” is another radio ready track sampling a song which sounds a little like Alicia Keys or Destiny’s Child or something similar but I can’t quite find out who. I usually expect more deep controversial tabboo topics by this point on an underground project however the lyricism of Danchise is on point and the instrumental is on fire, pardon the pun. Fu2re’s contribution to the track doesn’t quite match the lyrical talent of Danchise from an imagery standpoint and doesn’t entirely stick to the topic of ‘fire’ but the metaphors are more prominent and creative. 

“I’m Sorry” reminds me of An0maly’s “Last Words” but is a little more direct to a person rather than about the artist himself. Danchise also reflects on his religious views, mentioning talking to god in between reflecting on a relationship that has broke down. This is a nice juxtaposition to “Who’s Loving Her Now” as this is much more remorseful and loving, to the point of wishing the addressee a better future. The lyricism is very vivid and intricate, except for a corny “world/globe” bar and there are really any delivery or flow issues to pick up on although it isn’t entirely breathtaking either. 

Track 12, “Die In Your Arms”, credits Jason Chen as a feature but I have a feeling it is actually a sample rather than a planned feature. For those of you who don’t know, not to take anything away from Danchise, but Chen is a Youtube sensation with an amazing vocal talent, sampled by the majoirty of Youtube rappers. I first heard of Jason Chen when I first started listening to Lil Crazed and the K.I.D cyphers and if my memory serves me well he was apart of Lil Crazed’s group. As for the song itself, Jason Chen’s hook sounds a little louder than Danchise’s verse and in turn steals the show. Danchise’s flow in the first verse is reminiscent of Kanye’s in “Late Registration” where as the lyricism is similar to D-Prydes and I don’t really think it suits the impression I had built up of him from previous tracks. However I guess this love song is a nice transition from the “I’m Sorry” heartbreak song. 

“Lose Control” at track thirteen reverts back to an LMFAO-esque instrumental and the lyricism isn’t much better than the now defunct duo. This is a track that must be intended for the clubs, and if Danchise worked on the delivery on the hook and was a famous pop star, it would have worked. Unfortunately, neither of those things have happened, so it didn’t. An underground artist should never make more than one of these type tracks in my opinion, and “Somethin’ To Lean On” has already had its fair share. 

“Keep Your Head Up” featuring Off The Record could have fit easily into Travie McCoy’s “Lazarus” album with a hook by Bruno Mars sounding Off The Record who I’d definitely like to hear again. Danchise returns with a uplifting and inspiring lyricism which I much prefer to his club tracks and the chemistry between the pair is amazing. I’ve said plenty of times prior to this, that a track is radio-ready but this one in particular carries a nice balance of underground integrity with mainstream poppiness. 

Track fifteen, “She’s Perfect” has the feeling of “Nothin On You” B.o.B/Bruno Mars collaboration and any girl feeling a little insecure and in a bad mood will probably love this song as much as Bruno’s “Just The Way You Are” and this song is just a cheesy. The problem is when Danchise sings and I suspect a hint of auto-tune, or maybe its just my quality. Other than that, the delivery and flow of Danchise is actually really good and its important to note that the cheesy lyricism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on taste of the individual listener. I respect Danchise for this targeting of a different audience rather than sticking to the stereotypical hip-hop demographic. 

When you sample any song, from any Hip Hop legend, you better bring your A game. So when Danchise sampled one of my favourite Eminem songs, Beautiful, and invited Rishi P to feature for a second time on the tape, I had very high expectations. Aside from the “Woahohohoh” being awfully sang, the two artists actually made quite a good track, Rishi on the second verse of the song was particularly good. The problem is, Eminem’s version is as close to perfect as any song will ever get to me, and I have a personal connection with it. Unfortunately the Danchise/Rishi P version couldn’t come close to matching it. On a different, original beat this would be amazing. On an Eminem beat, this is okay. 

Track Seventeen, “Come Get It” features Rishi P, again, and Shadowless on a horrorcore sounding instrumental. Rishi opens the track on the first verse with some really impressive multi-syllable rhymes and intriguing metaphors, which is then matched by Danchise on the second verse however the delivery is slightly underdone in comparison. As for Shadowless with the third verse, after reviewing his self-titled album, is pretty disappointing and doesn’t come close to what Rishi P and Danchise opened with. Although an Eminem-2011 BET Cypher-esque bar of multi-syllables rescues my opinion on him. 

“Here We Go” on the eighteen track of “Somethin’ To Lean On” is yet another club track which although consists of a few impressive punchlines really doesn’t deserve to be on the same track list as “She’s Perfect” and “I’m Sorry”. I really think Danchise should leave this type of track to Example, Chris Brown and LMFAO because his talent is beyond this. 

The final track featuring, guess who, Rishi P makes me wonder if this is a collaboration mixtape. I have no problem with Rishi’s talent but I really do think Danchise should have branched out to a different artist or two rather than sticking with Rishi P for four tracks. However “Keep Moving On” answered me I guess as Danchise’s second verse compares the two as brothers and that is reflected on this track as they compliment each other well with an interesting chemistry. A few delivery issues here and there from both effects the quality of the track but getting over that, this is a pretty good ending to the tape. 

Overall, I am not completely overwhelmed by “Somethin’ To Lean On” and it wasn’t the uplifting and inspiring mixtape I expected. Between the disappointing club tracks and poor choice of instrumentals there is some pretty solid work and a clear potential in Danchise. My advise would be to concentrate on a style which will allow him to showcase his lyrical ability like in “Fire” with some emotional songs like “I’m sorry” rather than the tracks suitable for clubs when on a realistic level they wont get there at this time. I accept that one club track might be useful to prove an artist can make that type of track but once it reaches three or four, its just too much. A lot of potential here, that I believe one day could reach that mainstream level where a club track would be welcomed with open arms but that one day is not here yet. 

Download: Danchise – Somethin’ To Lean On

Stand Out Song(s) – “Keep Your Head Up”, “Quicksand”, “Who’s Loving Her Now”.

Mixtape Rating – 3/5 

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