After making the city of Placentia recognize, DrewID of the rap group Speach Impediments is venturing off on his first solo effort. Don't fret, SI fans, the group is staying intact. DrewID, born Andrew Pasillas, is just giving hip-hop-heads some fresh cuts to vibe to in between albums. The Mexi/Irish mic controller enlists Goblinbeatz on The 4th Letter, gracing listeners with eight tracks. For the alphabetically challenged, the title refers to "D," as in DrewID, while bringing Rakim's The 18th Letter to mind.
The EP's first single, "Set it Off," does just that, with LD lacing the song with the illest scratches while Ariano adds his soulful crooning on the hooks. DrewID flexes his lyrically muscular rhyming, "And if you want beef/You can come get you some/All that talk is tofu/ Sweeter than some Cinnabons." Other tracks delve for depth, such as the self-reflective "Fork In the Road" and "It's a Shame."
With assists from Matrix and Abstract Rude, The 4th Letter is a bass-heavy, bump-worthy contribution to Juice County's growing hip-hop playlist prowess.
On how The 4th Letter came to be over time:
"I got a beat tape/CD from my boy Goblinbeatz in 2012 which had the 'Set It Off' instrumental that him and LDonthecut produced together. It was a super banger, and they were down to get me on the track, and that started it all for me. So that one was the very first song that was done, recorded/mixed, and then set aside while I started picking out the other beats and getting tracks done one-by-one over time. It took some time because while I was trying to get my solo project in motion, I was also working on the Speech Impediments' new album, Cobwebs, that dropped in November 2012 which we were heavily promoting and doing shows/touring for. The progress on my solo album really picked up when Goblin finally got his own recording lab at Headway Studios over in Garden Grove.
"Once he got his own spot in 2013, I was in there several times a week, and we were constantly working on the beats, writing, recording and mixing together to get it finished up–as well as finishing up a complete full-length LP for our side project known as Aces High that we're dropping 2014–so I was wearing multiple hats. I was about halfway done in 2013, and we filmed a quick music video, and we dropped the single and video to get the word out that my solo album was coming. From there, I had to get the final features and mixes done on the rest of the album, get it mastered, and artwork complete. It was definitely a work in progress, but we got it done and now it's available for heads everywhere to cop and vibe out to."
On how "Fork In the Road" tells his story:
"The track 'Fork In the Road' is probably the most personal I've ever been able to get on a song. Being in a group or collective with other MCs, it's hard to tell your life story in 16 to 32 bars. So this is a perfect example of the freedom that comes with doing a solo album. Each verse is a part of a timeline of my life from childhood to adulthood. It details some of the personal issues and experiences I have had with family, friends and relationships. This track, specifically, came from the heart. It was one of those songs that really wrote itself without me having to think too much about the bars and verses.
"I wanted the listener to feel the emotion rather than focus on the complexity of the bars and rhyme schemes that the other songs on the album have. I've always preferred music you can feel rather than music you can listen to. It's songs such as this one that really get someone's attention, and I know a lot of people have probably shared the same experiences as I did, so I wanted to relate to them. I had the verses all done and the bridge, and Goblin had the perfect hook that was on the same page as my verses were, so it was really meant to be with this one."
DrewID and Speech Impediments open for Slum Village at the Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.observatoryoc.com. Tues., 7 p.m. $18. All ages.