An artist’s ability to perform well on a track can always make or break how well it’s received, but it’s the inevitable truth that producers are playing a bigger part in the music industry. Besides the obvious yet crucial role to craft beats and unique sounds (for the good producers at least, as some push the same thing around repeatedly… looking at you Lex Luger) producers that truly love what they do try to take it upon themselves to change the future of music with the canvas they provide to an artist. Other times, producers step from behind the boards, away from the sidelines and into the spotlight with the mic hoping they can take the world by storm.

Some have been more successful with it than others, but individuals like Kanye West truly live up to their title of “artist” with what they bring to the game, proving that the talent can come from anywhere. This holds true as time goes on and as producers make the jump to lyricist, new deals are signed. Enter Hit-Boy, the young and hungry producer who is signed to West’s label G.O.O.D.. Music. His producing credits speak for him, claiming the responsibility for hits such as Lil Wayne‘s “Drop The World” featuring Eminem, Pusha T‘s “My God”, the infectious “N*ggas In Paris” and more. Now Hit-Boy seems to have waited for what he believes is his opportunity to shine, releasing what he calls a “free album” to the net but the question is, will HitStory prove that Hit-Boy has a place as a rapper as well as producer?

Either way you will see me get glory, I wanna welcome y’all to to HitStory

An intro that falls just short of 3 minutes starts off the project with Hit reflecting on things he experienced and dealt with up to now. Produced by Hanine and Hit-Boy, the beat is calm and takes no attention from Hit-Boy‘s words, which tell a story that is entertaining but still feel more like an introduction than a track that stands on it’s own.

She probably only here because N*ggas in Paris…

The idea of Life moving fast and empty complaints delivered in a mediocre fashion but served up on a great beat. This summarizes what Hit-Boy‘s “Break Lights” brings to the table. The hook feels boring, and the content feels like everything you might hear from another basic rapper. A great beat doesn’t save this from feeling a bit underwhelming.

My Jersey with me n*gga, I’m putting on for my team n*gga…

The the team of Rey Reel and the man Hit-Boy himself come together to create the quirky and energetic beat that Hit calls “Option”. Beginning with a sample from “Ten Crack Commandments”, It bursts on to the project next with Hit coming to life, with a more energetic delivery that is more appealing to the ears than the previous two tracks, even if the subject matter and the lyrics on this are decent at best. Fellow G.O.O.D.. Music comrade Big Sean assists on this as well and his verse is borderline corny with certain lines that just fail to be clever however considering that Big Sean is Hit or miss with a lot of his guest verses, this isn’t surprising and the track itself is the most impressive yet.

Old School Caddy or the new school Benz…

Hit-Boy enlists Kid Cudi, another label teammate that rarely makes appearances for the second release off of the project known as “Old School Caddy”. The hook is catchy but it’s Cudi who shines here, and makes the beat his own as soon as his voice is heard. All this track does effectively is remind you that Cudi can still rap, everything else is just decent at best.

I’m a f*ckin fan, I’m a f*ckin fan…

An interesting concept surrounding being a fan of a woman he’s infatuated with is Hit-Boy‘s focus on the self produced “Fan”, which captivates with it’s beat. Hit obviously held some serious production for his project and the lyrics that fill this one are up to par considering the subject. It feels right as a whole, and the only concern I see here is the use of certain sounds. As long as this isn’t a sign that Hit’s work will be more repetitive in the future then my qualms with this track is nonexistent.

Girl I swear I hate this game, and I always wonder who’s teaching you…

Hit-Boy‘s “She Belongs to the City” is not good. The lyrics feel fake, not to mention the delivery is lazy and the beat can’t really save it here considering it’s that spectacular either. Easily forgettable.

This that sh*t y’all been missin…

Rey Reel brings a solid beat to Hit for “East vs West” which feels extremely weird. Hit’s content on the track with lines like “It’s that sh*t that X was kickin” and more as he dabbles in legendary stories is just odd and doesn’t feel really believable. It’s hard to get into a story when Hit’s delivery is so dull. Three minutes have never felt so long.

F*ck them busta a** n*ggas…

Chip Tha Ripper and Bun B provide verses on both ends of Hit’s verse on the track “Busta A** N*ggas” produced by Deezy. Chip’s effort is decent and Bun has the best verse on the track but the one under the microscope here seems to struggle more than anyone with his content. The mention of the attention he gets from creating “N*ggas in paris” is old at this point, as he’s spoke on the change in lifestyle with more than a few lines already, just said differently. The track is really only decent because of the artists surrounding the one at the helm.

Baby it’s whatever you want…

G.O.O.D. continues to show their support of Hit’s recent departure as an artist, as John Legend delivers an enthusiastic hook and livens the track more than Hit can throughout the song. That said, “Whatever You Want” produced by Merge and Deezy, is lackluster.

And fuck who you know, this youngin got the coldest beats…

B!NK provides a soulful canvas for Hit to coast on with “Jay-Z Interview” the first release off of the project. He manages to perform well, with his braggadocio overflowing through his lines all over the triumphant beat. It was the perfect first single for the project, and reveals whats right and wrong with Hit as an artist as it stands alone.

And if you gonna Live, Live right… because you never get the chance to do it twice, HitStory.

The final piece of the album is self-produced and contains a feature from Hit’s Surf Club family, Stacy Barthe. The track contains more of the usual in terms of his content, ending how he began by entertaining his memories. A decent effort, but feels slightly cliche in the way it was done, not to mention the same nagging issues.

Some producers step to the microphone and generally have nothing to offer besides their spectacular beats they felt were too good to give up. This is not the case with Hit-Boy. It’s obvious the talent is there but it definitely needs to be molded. His biggest flaw is his mundane delivery, which makes up for many of the listening issues here. He will fail to captivate listeners unless he adjusts how he sounds and comes across on tracks.

HitStory isn’t bad. It’s a potentially captivating story told by an individual with a lot to give to this industry in the future but a story means more when the teller knows how to deliver it. The instrumentals are impressive for the most part but whether or not Hit-Boy will manage to improve where he lacks remains to be seen. For now however, this project is a stepping stone in the right direction. Overall, Hit-Boy calls this a free album and with this you’re only getting a little more than what you paid for.

Hit-Boy HITStory Album ReviewOVERALL: 6/10

Timeless Tracks: Option, Jay-Z Interview, Fan

You can download Hit-Boy‘s HITStory here.