With the countless mixtapes I grab from various sites all over these internets, the biggest complaint I always have as I turn it off halfway through is that the artist is in no way discernable from any other rapper. They all kinda sound the same. Thankfully with Divine Seven that claim cannot be made as his smooth style is as unique as it gets in hip hop, and “Listen” you should to his mixtape as he weaves in and out of incredible production from Shade Cobain. When you got most rappers trying to sound like whatever’s hot, Divine Seven takes his style and runs with it, and creates a much more memorable effort because of it.
The first two tracks on this mixtape set it off just right as “Hello” and “Who Am I” are both short and just enough to get you intrigued by the sing-songy flow and the smooth-bass voice of Divine Seven. You also get an early indicator that this Shade Cobain dude got some serious skills on the boards. “Reachin” is an old track but fits in great on this album as you’re lifted into the sky following the already spacey introduction. The two posse cuts come next and they collectively combine for the best 1-2 punch of the whole mixtape. “4 The Love” has a pounding beat and both members of Apex go off, as well as Divine Seven, creating one of the best boom bap tracks to come out after 1998. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling the hook at all, didn’t like Tabu Mahogany’s voice and felt the hook was completely out of place on this banger. However “Shadow Loungin”, with Jon Quest and Beedie, is nothing short of flawless, as all three MCs come correct over yet another Shade Cobain masterpiece. “Havin’ Fun” pits a chopped sample against a beautiful backdrop of music as Divine Seven cooly glides across the production, and continuing that smoothness, “In Ur Eyez” is another gem, especially in sampling the greatest musician to ever live. For more brilliant sampling, check “Smile”, another track that sees Divine Seven delivering hot verses with such ease and calmness.
As with any mixtape that starts off so strong, it’s difficult to keep that high level of creativity as it continues, and “Listen” is unfortunately no different. While I played this through a few times, I found that by the time I got to the last few tracks I had lost interest, as the guest appearances near the end were far inferior to those at the beginning, and tracks like “A.M. 2 P.M.” and “For The Record” just didn’t quite deliver as far as the production goes. But again, Divine Seven makes it seem so easy that these missteps are forgivable as the quality of this mixtape goes above and beyond anything else you’re probably listening to these days.
Overall, “Listen” is very listenable. The boom bap styles of Shade Cobain’s production mixed with Divine Seven’s unmistakable voice is a deadly combination that will surely put you into submission as you sink into this tape. And while it teeters a little bit towards the second half, tracks like “Thanx For Listenin” and “Heat” are good reasons to see this one through to the end. This tape is perfect for driving around on those hot summer days with the top down and an L in the air, so roll up, hop in the whip, and “LISTEN!!” 3.5/5
Jon Quest, Divine Seven and Beedie teamed up to create what it sure to be a classic Pittsburgh song, “Shadow Loungin’”. The Shadow Lounge, situated in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh, is a home base of hip hop for the city. This video was filmed in and around the lounge area by Dan Meyers.