Stevie Stone ‘Level Up’ Album Listening Session Notes

Jun 2 2017

One of the perks of working at Strange Music–aside from, you know, working at Strange Music–is getting to hear the albums early.

It’s not just hearing it early, though, but how we hear it; blaring through the speakers in the conference in the Strange Music headquarters surrounded by Snake & Bat logos.

It’s fun, and exciting sure, but there’s always work to be done. So, while turnin’ up, we also are sure to take notes on the album, breaking down what jumps out on each track.

Now that Stevie Stone’s new Level Up album is here, we are giving you the chance to go inside the Strange Music Level Up listening session, here are the raw, unfiltered notes from the official Snake & Bat listening session.

1.) “Options”

  • Love how big the beat is…really good opening…lots of energy. This is a tough beat to wrangle because of the boomin’ bass, but Stevie corrals it.
  • This was released early with some visuals, but it still has a new feel as the intro to the album. I’m anticipating the new but still diggin’ the familiar.
  • I love his cadence, it’s deliberate and the space in between each line gives the song a cool feel.

2) “Whippin’ Up” ft. DB Bantino

  • Again this one was released before but it still is as fresh as Andre 3000 at a farmers market.
  • Stevie’s flow is so cool. I feel like this kind of beat is typically approached with a lighter style, but Stevie really makes it his own. His voice is such a cool instrument.
  • Also, “five man motion Gary Payton” has been one of the lines I find my self saying all the time.

3.) “Another Level” 

  • I feel like Stevie raps so hard and his voice is so distinct that he doesn’t get the credit he should for his signing. Love the transition from a sung-style intro right into his sleek yet bruising flow.
  • I like that “flattering how you talk about me” line…that’s a cool little twinge that makes the line jump out.
  • This one has the same energy as the two party tracks preceding, but a completely different vibe. Got a little more grit….I like it.

4.) “Crushin'” ft. DB Bantino

  • Woahhhhh. Changing the vibe!  Where “Another level” makes you wanna get to work…”Crushin'” is that much needed vacation. Great summer vibes on this one.
  • Credit DB Bantino for  helping hammer that vibe home with those vocals; totally different from “Whippin’ Up” too.
  • Oooooo. This one is infectious. I need to be poolside with a drink in hand for this one.

5.) “Paradise” ft. Jenn Em

  • Heard this one early too, but man, the way the song kicks into to gear right from the jump always gets me. Love that there’s no slower build up; Great pacing.
  • These drums kick!
  • Love Stevie’s lyrical content. Really gives the track some meat. It’s not just a simple, breezy cut.

6.) “Old School” ft. Fresco Kane

  • Chest rattlin’, deep , aggressive beat. After a few uptempo tunes, this is a cool change of pace.
  • Man this beat sinister!
  • Stevie’s voice is just so damn cool; puts a big smile on my face.
  • Cool how fresco Kane brings a different flow to the table; it’s a great balance.

7.) “All Yours” ft. Tech N9ne & Adrian Truth

  • Awesome intro. This echoing, chior-esque feel is great! It feels angelic. It feels like church, but the lyrics say otherwise…definitely not like any sermon I’ve ever heard.
  • Stevie’s voice, again, commands attention. Perfect blend between singing and rapping.
  • Woah, Tech, the tongue flick… sounds so cool.
  • I love when Tech goes in like this. Spitting so quick, but with a laid-back, whispering vibe. We all know he can unleash the beast but I like hearing him control it too.

8.) “Ride With Me”

  • Ayyyyy…This is cool as fuck!
  • Stevie’s straight up signing. With that unique voice and the crazy energy he brings, the smoother, singing side of Stevie doesn’t get enough credit.  You don’t often get crooning like this that on a traditional smoking anthem.
  • Love that chopping of the beat! WOAH! That breakdown was so slick.
  • Here’s a shining example of how Stevie leveled up. The smoking song is a pillar of hip-hip and if you can take something that’s been done so many times but make it unique, change it up somehow, it shows your commitment to creativity.
  • Stevie singing, the rich beat morphing into this southern, chopped and screwed-esque beat before coming right back in, pivoting on those drums. AMAZING work!
  • This is definitely gonna be added to the “Strain-ge Music” playlist

9.) “Invitation” ft. Darrein Safron & Brittanica Young

  • Love the intro… cool how it all builds around the echoing effect.
  • Like the avalanching flow.
  • Ooooo! I like that change up too.
  • Darrein brings a cool energy. I think he gives the song a lot of balance and, again shows he’s more than jut a singer. More importantly, not just showing his many styles but it’s they way he is blending them and combining them. He has the tools and knows how to use them
  • Cool track. Dig how it has a lighter, gliding feel, despite the syrupy, dense boardwork.

10.) “Wavelength” ft. Krizz Kaliko & Bossie Mossie

  • Steve really came with the R&B vibes on this one!
  • Woah! This is a little raunchy! I don’t really know what I can say abut this one to keep this article from becoming NSFW…
  • Love the chorus that comes in on the ” On the same Wavelength” line; adds depth and dimension to the song.
  • Wow. Was not expecting a spoken word style! It’s different but fits perfect. I love that. Really cool!
  • Krizz’ velvety vocals are prefect following it up and rounding the effort.

11.) “I Got It” ft. Krizz Kaliko

  • Keeping the R&B vibes coming…
  • Stevie takes you to church in a different way… I feel like he has the command of a preacher if you know what I mean. Like he’s just cutting so clear.
  • Great set up too and close out from from Krizz. Love how he’s pacing the effort.
  • That one has me turnin’ up right now…always a good sign.

12.) “Push” ft. Bre The 1st Lady

  • Wow! This is big! Definitely setting up to be a banger!
  • Bree adding some cool vibes with the supporting vocals.
  • Nice! Love that build up from Stevie.Holy shit! Snap Stevie snap. Emotional  but unrelenting and he matches the lyrics with he flow…when the verse gets more intense so does his flow.
  • Definitely one of the standout cuts!

13.) “Jacobs Ladder” ft. Adrian Truth

  • One of the more deep ones on the album. Again with such punching vocals, Stevie still can evoke so much emotion; not easy to balance strength with sensitivity
  • Damn. Adrian! Kill it!
  • Stevie’s lyrics are so powerful. This is definitely one of the strongest cuts on the album; Stevie poured everything out here.
  • With some rap-heavy singles, this album had a lot more R&B than I was expecting. Still, both styles sound so natural. I’m not even a huge R&B fan, but this cut is undeniable!

14.) “Touched By A Boss” ft. Frizz

  • Frizz and Stevie go way back..excited to see their chemistry.
  • Fun fact, Frizz also produced the beat.
  • This beat is so intricate. Love the way it “whurrs” and the bass kicks like Bruce Lee.
  • Stevie’s rumbling flow, the cadence, his awesome on this one. Slower beat, but he really goes in.
  • Great ending to the album. Considering how heavy this album is on R&B, ending it with a banger owuldn’t really fit. It’s a slow yet powerful burn.

Closing Thoughts:

  • With the singles released I was expecting more bangers, but I love how many different vibes and styles Stevie came with.
  • Level Up  flows so well! Despite a vast array of vibes, at no point does it feel forced or out of place. Credit Stevie and his versatility for that!
  • Across the board, No matter whats style, the production is so intricate and big. TO pick up on every sound, every subtle twinge or splash, it’s going to require way more listens.
  • Crusin’ is going to be my song of the summer!
  • It’s hard to really know an album so soon after hearing it,but I can already tell you it feels massive.  I can’t wait to get to know this one; which, after only one listen, is the most ringing endorsement.
  • Himmi!