Apollo Brown & OC – Trophies | Album Review

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s probably going to be the best album of 2012…” Detroit producer Apollo Brown boasted at SXSW about his new collaborative album Trophies, with legendary emcee OC. “I’m not being cocky,” he continued,” but from a fan standpoint and stepping out of myself and not being biased it’s a great album—quality music.” Brown also went to say that the project took the two four months to create and it’s an instant classic. Typically, when people say boastful things like this about their albums, the pedestal they placed the album on doesn’t always correlate with reality… In the case of Trophies, calling the album a classic is fitting. 

Saying that the album is going to be album of the year is a little premature given that we are only four months in but, what can be said is that Trophies, is one of the best and most well rounded hip-hop albums in recent years.

Trophies provides a New York [OC] perspective with a Detroit mindset [Apollo Brown] as both artists call home different hip-hop Meccas of the United States.  Whilst following suit with their previous solo work – Brown with Clouds, and The Reset, and OC with Jewelz – the album still breaks new ground with diverse subject content and impressive production.  

OC tells lyrical tales of one who has lived, providing wisdom and real life perspective with social commentary to be found through – as with the title track, speaking to the album’s concept.

Everybody want they trophy.  What is that supposed to tell me, that you did something? I don’t need no goddamn trophy or award or recognition.  I do this shit because I love to do this shit.  All these kids nowadays — all these young people, they got to have some type of shiny material possession or some shit that shows that they did something.  They got to have a trophy.  They got to have an award.  They got to have a nice looking girl, and a nice car and some rims and a gold chain.  We don’t need to know that you did some shit, just do it.  Goddamn trophies.”  

The social commentary theme is also found again on tracks like “We Are the People”: with commanding lyrics, the song speaks on exactly what the title alludes to with a sample highlighting social disparities. Another album highlight comes in the form of the first single from the album, “Prove Me Wrong”; premiered via DJ Premier’s Sirus XM radio show Live From Headqcourterz, it’s the epitome of classic hip-hop with captivating lyrics and harmonic production.

“Caught Up,” speaks the story of women who essentially are jaded and do anything for attention “delicate flower gone sour.” Closing with commentary of a Chris Rock stand up routine where he speaks about his daughter, the women in the song have low-self esteem and due to that low self-esteem, they basically do anything to get attention.

The last track on the album, “Fantastic,” works as the perfect closing for the album.  Once again, OC’s flow is a little braggadocio “Take away the music listen to my acapella my shit is art with textures, depth and colors in it” – and again, it’s rather fitting.

There’s no low point with Trophies. Lacking redundant tracks, it’s a project listeners can enjoy to from start to finish; which says a lot for a 16-track album. With both the production and emceeing on the album done to perfection, Trophies attains what collaborative album strive for: complete cohesion. A must have album in any hip-hop head’s collection.

Album Stream:

Apollo Brown & OC – Trophies
Released: May 1, 2012
Label: Mello Music Group
Buy: iTunes / Vinyl

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