There have been many emcees that have come and gone since Chicago emcee, Vic Spencer, first burst onto the scene nearly a decade ago on fellow Chicago emcee, Naledge’s, solo mixtape masterpiece, The Chicago Picasso. One thing that has remained consistent throughout though is Spencer and how he has steadily evolved over time with each new project. His newest album, Duffle of Gems, even further proving that.
Just when you think he can’t top his last project, he comes with something just as dope if not better with this. His most sonically diverse project to date and already Vic’s second album of the year, which shows that he has no intent of slowing down anytime soon. Opening with the very smooth and jazzy boombap backed, A Date With The Rap Game. A very vicious track that has Vic spitting the hard bars we have come to expect from the emcee, that along with the great storytelling weaved in shows why he’s not only arguably the best emcee in all of Chicago, but one of the best in all of Hip-Hop right now. Which he alludes to on the very great storytelling track, Alternative Rock, where he raps on part of one verse, “But in the Chi, I’m the coldest one.”
Maybe if not the best sequence of the whole album, definitely among the top two is the next four tracks. Which sees Bad Cough, Bad Tuna, C.A.K.E. and Communion Juice, so seamlessly flow from one track to the next. The very horn-laden and smooth, Bad Cough, showing Vic give off more of those razor-sharp bars and greatly vivid storytelling we have come to expect from him. As he describes several things he sees from the other side of his brain when he gets high. Like saying how he was with Obama when he caught Osama or stand with the Pope. While the very smooth jazzy floating backdrop of, Bad Tuna, finds Vic giving gems about how much fake shit others have had to do to get their current positions in the rap game. While he himself has remained the same throughout it all. The mostly acoustic piano driven, C.A.K.E., meanwhile finds Vic giving very smooth rhymes about the different meanings of cake. As he gives that very vivid imagination and imagery we have all come to know and love. At one point comparing how great his pen game is to having several orgies and giving the D, “to your broad to make her want Lapo.” Communion Juice than finds Spencer over a church backed choir playfully rapping like a preacher. As he gives clever storytelling yet again and instead of preaching his love for God and/or religion, his love for ganja or weed smoke and how he feels it hypocritical to be told your going to hell for if you smoke in church, but there preachers that have done much worse.
Unlike his last album, Spencer: For Higher, this album has no features too. Which really allows Vic to show how much more lyrically sharp he has got with his age. Something you rarely see with a lot of artists as they get older. Which is why it’s so crazy and dope to see how much better and sharper he continues to get. It’s really a sight to see. The very lyrically sharp, Dead Flowers, just being one of several to really show this. Opening with the very potent lyrics of, “I’ve doing this since my momma was on Section 8. Let the west spray. I bet you learned your lesson. It’s the motherfvcking Rapping Bastard. I’m known for smacking rappers in the face with lava acid. I take something tragic and make it beautiful.” It’s not only Vic’s most lyrically sharp track on the album, but easily one of the best of his whole career thus far.
Vic is really able to show the versatility and various types of songs he is able to make on this album too. Whether features have previously held him back from doing it before or not. Showing it on tracks like, Earlobe Pt. 2, with that soulfully classic The Isley Brothers sound or that mysteriously sound on, Just Warming Up, which you hear in classic mystery shows or movies. He is able to show on here and why it’s also his best album to date.
There’s several highlights of the hard bars mixed with the great storytelling we have come to expect from Vic throughout the album. But there maybe known better than the last quarter sequence of the album. Which sees Vic so seamlessly weave such great hard gruff bars and storytelling from Malice At The Palace to Mexican Corn and Sin City Music. Before closing out with the very soulfully sample singer backed, Villainy. A track with so many gems spit that it’s the perfect track to close out an album with so many gems.
Like I said when I reviewed Vic’s last album, I know the word classic gets thrown around a lot. But from the bars to the production, great storytelling and versatility shown throughout, this once again shows how much Vic has elevated his game and penmanship yet again. Delivering such a gemful masterpiece that’s truly filled with so many gems and truly classic album. It’s crazy how much better he keeps getting better with each new release. Especially while most other emcees fall off, Vic shows he’s just getting more sharper and will continue to do so.