The trap game continues to dominate the rap world, so it’s always a nice change to hear something different. Andre Balboa combines his hip-hip with a bit of a jazz flair to make himself something special. His Maturity EP is yet another example of how much depth CHH has. The entire project has a smooth feeling to it as the production plays a great supporting role throughout instead of being the main focus. The title of the EP gives away the main theme, as Balboa is focusing on maturity through Jesus. He manages to obviously push the Christian themes without becoming corny, and Maturity is very fun to listen to. There’s no turn up or extreme deepness, but it’s hard not to smile and jam to tracks like “Kid Again” (feat. nobigdyl), which happens to be the first song in the EP.
The lead-off track, “Kid Again” (feat. nobigdyl), will get stuck in your head, I promise you. The hook on this one is just so dang catchy, and I absolutely love it. Andre Balboa works perfectly with the production for the majority of the track. There’s a few awkward moments where he seems to be trying to fit too many words into some bars, but those are few and far between in this song and the whole EP. The entire feel is carefree and relaxing. On top of all of this, he even says, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. As an economics student this won serious points with me! Nobigdyl is also a terrific feature on this one, as his style meshes extremely well with Balboa’s. It is usually difficult to keep a five and a half minute song interesting, yet he pulls it off, and this is my favorite track on the EP.
Another relaxing one is the next track, “Carpool”. This one adds a bit of the jazz flair with the trumpet as well. The production is a little lighter, putting an extra focus on his delivery. His rapping won’t blow anyone away though, and he’s often trying too hard to rhyme. This makes the vocals and production seem just slightly out of line. Overall this isn’t a bad song. It just fails to live up to the bar set by “Kid Again”. Things start to really click again in “Collateral Damage” though. A stronger beat along with the trumpet create a better base for Balboa to work with. His lyricism seems much more natural as well, and this improves the track’s entire flow. He references Jesus’s words, “My college campus was Jerusalem, and everybody was in bondage, had to loosen them. Silly me, worried ’bout a speck in their eye, when all along I had a huge plank up in mine. Matthew 7:3, it spoke to me”. I always respect an artist who can solidly implement a Biblical reference as well as see and acknowledge their own flaws and mistakes. This is definitely a great track all around.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3 (NIV)
At first, “Fair Weather Friends” (feat. Customary) starts sounding like the rest of the EP. The production is very similar to the first three songs, and Balboa doesn’t do much differently. Then the refrain hits, and I start thinking things might change. They do. Customary’s verse is a great change of pace, and he injects some much-needed energy. He also has some dope lyrics, “Keep teaching me, to be fearlessly, with Jesus leading me”. This one proved me wrong, and that’s a good thing. In the end there’s just enough to make this one different.
After another pretty good track in “Shattered” is the title track, “Maturity” (feat. Beleaf). The piano gets my seal of approval on this one. It’s a nice addition on top of the quicker beat, creating another fun feeling like that of “Kid Again”. Again, the hook is extremely well done, and it allows the verses to flow well from it. Balboa’s delivery is some of the best of the entire EP, and it’s a great way to finish the project. The uplifting feeling makes me smile every time. He’s going to work hard, but he’s learned to be happy with what he’s got. That’s maturity.
This EP starts and ends on very high points without much of a dip in the center. Occasionally the production can sound a little repetitive, but usually things change just enough to keep it interesting. Andre Balboa’s hip-hop style with a touch of jazz is unique in the CHH genre. It’s a nice change that he does well with. His delivery isn’t the best in the game, but it suits his style. He’s a developing artist, but Maturity is definitely a great launch-pad for him to continue improving. This is overall a very solid EP that combines a great Biblical base with smooth sound.
By the way, I still have “Kid Again” stuck in my head…
Maturity will be available for purchase when it is released on November 13th