Intrinsic Value by The Reptile and The Realist offers a unique throwback style to a simpler era of hip hop and lounge inspired coffee house music while sacrificing none of the values, no pun intended, of modern social critiques and insight on modern life. From the start of the album, the beats come in, simple and clean, opening the way for lyricism and flow reminiscent of early 2000’s hip hop. The lyrics are peppered throughout the beats and instrumental flows in a way that convinces me that The Reptile and The Realist are the real deal.
The opening track “Isolate” draws the listener into the album with a soft downbeat that lays the groundwork for a song reflecting on the current states of the world through the eyes of the songwriter. After Isolate the dual threat of “Don’t Wait” and “The Offering” hit the floor with beats and rhymes reminiscent of Saul Williams and early 2000’s hip hop stylings. The writer’s focus on societal issues while weaving them into his own life provides a unique perspective on quarantine life not often observed via other musicians. The very nature of the music is also reminiscent of the places where you would once hear this music.
The slow beats with ambient keyboard paint the picture perfect image of a nighttime coffee shop. A reminder of a pre-COVID-19 world where many of these songs and people these songs are about hang around and would work. In a world seemingly trapped in an unending quarantine, these are welcome concepts.
Ultimately the album serves as a reminder that, with all music, rap especially, sometimes simple and clean is a better concept than overproduction. To find comfort in the everyday chill vibes of the room that drive one’s songwriting is not only the key to getting by while we stay inside, but also the best way to write a phenomenal album.