The first thing one notices when listening through the latest offering from this twenty-one year-old Seattle emcee is the refined sound throughout the project. Productionwise, Solzilla's latest features laid back synth-based instrumentals reminiscent of the backdrops on J.Pinder's Code Red FreEP, released earlier this year. Unlike Code Red, which featured production from the likes of Seattle legends Jake One and Vitamin D, the Seattle's next generation of producers, Ill Pill, Jack The Ripper, Smile Future, and DJ Green take the helm for the production on Dear Friends, Vol. II.
As far as the emcee himself, Dear Friends, Vol. II represents a huge artistic group for University of Washington junior. While the first incarnation of the series saw Solzilla at times outmatched by guest artists like Grynch, Vol. II sees him holding his own against fellow next generation Seattle artists J.Pinder and Grynch as well as 206 legend Geologic. The content addresses pretty much what you would expect from a twenty-something college student, discussing one-night stands ("Not The One") and love of the reefer ("So Damm High," "Spliff Remix"), but also addressing the short 15 minutes of fame that artists receive in the genre ("Cruise Control"). Even the tracks that address the prior subjects prove to be fairly conscious and don't sound like one-diminsional pop songs in any which way.
At the end of the day, Dear Friends, Vol. II is a cohesive project that is a major step forward for Sol as an artist who is sure to be a leader for the next generation of Seattle hip hop. Hit the jump for the download link/tracklist: