It’s been a long time coming for Paradise, who has kept his fans, especially myself, waiting with vigorous anticipation for his mixtape Keys To Paradise to drop. The day has finally come, and with just one listen, it is clearly worth the wait. Even the first few tracks alone prove that Paradise takes his sweet time in the studio for a reason, and absorbs this crazy thing called life, speaking it through a mic with excellence.
See my track-by-track of Paradise’s official project below, and now that you have the key, hold on to that bad boy. Hear the tape here.
La Voz De Mi Gente
The intro track to KTP explains just about everything you need to prepare yourself with when meeting Paradise for the first time. The song’s slow, unwinding demeanor might seem like a risk, being the wait time he’s given his fans and supporters, but it is just the warm-up needed before getting into the meat of the project. Don’t be fooled, however. Paradise does not hold back on this track, and neither does his producer, who samples the vocals of Lauryn Hill from The Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly.” With lines such as,“They dying to see me leave here, but I live here, so I’ll be here ‘til I’m carried out. RIP here,” it’s clear we’re about to go on a very unique journey.
First off, thank you to Drake and all the “stereotypically sensitive” rappers out there who made it dope to express one’s inner self on a track. Not that Paradise gets into that mode on this track, per say, but he does reflect upon that vibe as he digs into the mind of his girl. “Her Motives” flaunts the up’s and down’s that can not only occur in a relationship, but dives into a deeper thought process as far as females go.
Even when Paradise keeps it deep, he still makes room for some dope metaphors. Whoever got into his heart needs a round of applause, because they definitely provided for some heavy heat. He is able to bring us to a new generation of sound, with an older generation’s flow. That’s one thing that makes Paradise unique from many other artists trying to keep with the times. “The Thrill” is a song ahead of it’s time, but can remain timeless.
Oh man, this track is just straight, absolute fire. That’s all that really needs to be said. Paradise not only has shown that he is a music-maker so far, but “Word To” definitely proves that he can eat almost any rapper on a track. This guy is ready to change the game, and in more ways than one. Do not sleep!
Cubanos (Miami Nights)
If you’re heading to Miami anytime soon, this is a complete necessity for your playlist. “Treat the condo like the King Of Diamonds,” is definitely a line that should just become everyone’s next Instagram caption in a hot second. “Cubanos” is a complete feel-good song that takes us into the mind of how every real one sees their vacation experience. Make sure you bump this in your car ASAP, and tell me you don’t feel like you’re rich as hell.
‘Bout It, ‘Bout It
Alright, by now I’m convinced, and pissed off, that this should’ve been an album. How is Paradise not in your favorites? Maybe because he explains it in this song with the line, “If I don’t do it, then another n***a will, and if that n***a do it, then he’ll f*ck it up for real.” Pretty explanatory of society’s view on hip-hop today. Amen, bruh. Amen.
The transition from hype tracks to slow, unwinding ones on this project is definitely one of its highlights for me. The female singer, who is a bit reminiscent of Macy Gray and Amy Winehouse, absolutely kills that introductory hook. Paradise also gives us a little taste of his Drake admiration, being that he’s one of his biggest influences. Although the flow is a bit reflecting of Drizzy’s style, Paradise still puts his own unique touch on the track, determining the difference by the second hook that contains his vocals.
Still (Part II)
The producers who worked on this project need a standing ovation. Combining their masterpiece beats with Paradise’s lyrical heat is literally a matchmade in heaven. “Still (Part II)” takes us into the mind of Paradise, and takes us back into the era of his childhood. It’s like I can picture myself in that three bedroom apartment, and feel the vibes of `92. Sampling some of his own interview audio on the track for the hook, Paradise explains the meaning behind his name, and how his goal is to just make the soundtrack to your life as the listener. The transition at 2:40 caught me quite off-guard. It’s safe to say that the next and last two tracks on the project can’t ruin the tape, no matter how they sound.
Keys To Paradise (Notorious)
While the entire tape blew my mind, I was waiting for this one. “Keys To Paradise (Notorious)” has got to be the highlight of the project for me, by far. Paradise is ready to wrap this tape up, and he’s going to make sure he goes out with a bang. No matter how you feel about him, Paradise’s confidence can’t be tamed. His line, “People takin’ them shots, so I take a sip of the dissin’,” proves that he’s ready for whatever might come his way. Not sure why anyone might diss him, but we all know how the game goes. Shout out to Mazen Ali, by the way, who absolutely slays the LL Cool J song “Paradise,” with Amerie’s vocals, as a sample on the track. Just in awe, man. “No intentions hidden, I just hope you saw my vision.” Transitioning into the second part of the song, with another beat switch-up, we hear another prominent sample with Bone Thugz N’ Harmony’s “Notorious Thugs” as he rhymes about his fear of disappointment. Sir, who do you think you are providing this straight heat for us?
For The City, From The City
Oh, you thought that Paradise was done? Nah, bruh. Like many of the legends that paved the way for him to provide this fire for us, Paradise is giving us an encore. Whew lawd! He does NOT hold back. It’s evident that Paradise’s sound might be universal, but he’s still got that New York City in him. He is ready to take over, and he is giving it all he’s got. The song is just 4 minutes of straight bars, basically. “Critics placing projections, calculating my angles.” Son. Where did you come from? Paradise has given birth to a new intelligence in the game, and this one will be hard to top.
Share your thoughts on the project with Paradise on his Twitter: @lifeofparadise