Ohpenmiind kicks 2021 off with his emotionally charged EP “Decade In The Shadows”. The project starts with “Rollero Rooftop”, a visceral recounting of hustling days passed. Ohpenmiind’s persistent flow and gritty voice lend some legitimacy to his blunt lyricism. The production is smooth and jazzy, which really compliment’s Ohpenmiind’s vocal stylings. “Olive Grove” slides in like a scene in a movie. With each song, the listener learns more about Ohpenmiiind’s life , environment and perspective. “Shadow Ridge” starts with Ohpenmiind getting evicted, the reality raps don’t stop. As the song’s smoky vibes draw you in, you learn about the artist’s upbringing. Tales of his family’s struggles, honoring community pillars, and living in a mobile home park bring you deeper into the artist’s dense identity. This is what fiction writers call world building, however the world Ohpenmiind builds sonically is all truth.
“Ball At Bally’s” opens with Corey S gliding over lo fi production with his trademark lyricism, this collaboration effortlessly fits into the project. Corey and Ohpenmiind really compliment each other here, with Ohpenmiind serving up a dope flow switch. “Bally’s” really showcases how two different MC’s can hear two different pockets on a beat.
“They didn’t teach independence, I went ahead and became life’s apprentice” – Ohpenmiind
On track 5 “Independence”, Ohpenmiind takes shots at the educational and societal structures that propagate ongoing systemic issues within his community. “Bethany Home Rd.” is a personal favorite, due to the haunting sample and subject matter, “grew up on the west side, construction never done”. Ohpenmiind has a very raw and descriptive style, calling out “whitewashed latinos” is something you can only get from this artist. The listener can feel the authenticity of an MC who doesn’t bite his tongue for commercial appeal. The EP closes with “Open Discussion”, an aptly titled track where the Phoenix native bares all, speaking on the issues plaguing his veteran brother after leaving the marines.
This project is what hip hop is all about; being original, telling one’s unique story, pulling no punches. Ohpenmiind lit up the radar with his previous release but this one is going to ring bells for a long time. I give this project an 8.5 out of 10.