Acapella-style hip-hop is often the most revealing style an artist can adopt when showcasing their flow, and this is definitely the case in the barebones mix of “Hold This L” by Conceptz. With no instrumentation in the track, there’s nothing but vocal complexity for us to study, leaving the poetic stylization of the music as our sole means of determining its value. My personal conclusion? Not only have Conceptz grown up considerably in the last three years, but they actually sound a bit more menacing to the competition — almost all of which has resorted to abusing auto-tune tech on every occasion they’re granted. “Hold This L” is a terrific piece of material from top to bottom, and that’s obvious in a break down like this one.
The radio edit of the track doesn’t do much other than removing the explicit language from the verses, but I think it’s worth noting that this minor adjustment doesn’t do anything to discredit the spindly feel of the flow. As far as vocal fluidity goes, there’s an argument to be made that this act’s peers could learn a lot from the unfanciful style with which Conceptz produce all of their music, specifically as it relates to keeping the organic rapping at the forefront of any given mix. Whether in an acapella or a traditional setting, theirs is a commitment to the craft that I wish I could hear more of — especially in the realm of mainstream music as it extends beyond the independent underground.
As far as the main mix of “Hold This L” goes, it’s a chillingly sleek piece any way you dice it. The instrumental accent — and that’s all it really is — takes the cold vibe of the acapella version and spikes the energy through the roof via an understated bassline that could have stood on its own as a piece of ambient trip-hop. One of the most compelling elements of this version is the way it presents dual emotions through the groove and the dispatch of the verses, with the latter feeling so much more intense than the former (but both complementing the overall tone of the composition). Conceptz don’t like doing things the easy way, and as a result of their technique we’re getting a much more immersive experience out of singles like “Hold This L.”
At this point, I think anyone who has been keeping up with Conceptz knows that the future could hold literally anything for their music, and they aren’t at all shy about embracing whatever strange notion might come to the table next. This latest release doesn’t lean on any of the frills that other rappers would need to sustain such a credibly experimental reputation in and outside of their own scene, but instead presses the importance of never going down the same road twice — a feat with which Conceptz has made a lot of their best music. “Hold This L” is another victory for their camp, but I doubt the last time they’ll celebrate success as a crew.