Topeka, Kansas hip hop artist Mike Schpitz releases his brand new EP Stanley Ipkiss: Year of the Nice Guy inspired by the Jim Carrey film The Mask. The 30 minute EP is reminiscent of old school hip hop with a bit of the new style.
My experience with Hip Hop is pretty extensive ranging from early 80’s Hip Hop to a bit of the underground movement of today. When I first ran Mike Schpitz’s new EP I kind of raised an eyebrow at the excerpts from The Mask. I get it the title of the EP is inspired by the film. But really though? In any case the first track, Year of the Nice Guy, started the album off on an impressive note. The beats are basic with a funky organ groove laid out over the vocals. Schpitz’s delivery is nothing new nor is his lyrical but so far so good. We On Fire has an 8 bit backdrop with, again, basic beats with a strong narrative by Schpitz. Delivery is smooth but really Schpitz’s style carries a roots hip hop style that sounds aged, slow and least complex in the current scene. Right Of Way is the next track which is all roots hip hop. I can’t help but recall low cost demo’s displaying basic beat loops with synthesized noise overlaid with monotonous delivery defining home grown artists and home made production. Right Of Way stays true to that. Weather or not that’s a good thing depends on the listener. Three Headed Monster is reminiscent of Ghetto Boys only not as raunchy. Delivery is good but lyrically unintelligent. Gimme That, yet again the taste of homegrown beats run amok among this track. Schpitz would do well to work on his production before another outing. Lack of big sound leaves his entire production mostly demo quality. Your Highness is a smoother track that has that big sound feel to it. Its chill with an understandable narrative that speaks to you instead of boasts. The final track Try Outs also has a much larger sound then the rest of the album which seems to magnify Schpitz’s delivery proving just an upgrade in production makes all the difference.
All together the EP feels mostly monotonous beat wise, definitely demo graded. There are a few stand outs on the album which only makes you wonder how much farther Schpitz could go if he got a higher quality sound behind his voice. Still, if you’re an old school hip hop fan your probably going to find reason to get nostalgic over this one.