Sleepy Hallow opens eyes on sophomore LP ‘Still Sleep?’: Brooklyn-based rapper Sleepy Hallow dropped his latest album “Still Sleep?” June 4, reminding listeners that New York drill isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
On the back of the album’s lead single “2 Sauce,” Hallow is one of those up-and-comers that people take notice of almost immediately. Touting unabashedly smooth flows, Hallow has been able to turn heads with punchy lyricsm and grimey vocal cadences consistent with new wave drill.
Production on Still Sleep? is primarily handled by Great John, who keeps things diverse throughout. Hallow’s sophomore effort leads in with some mellow guitar chords as he depicts his childhood dreams of playing professional basketball on “Basketball Dreams (Intro)”.
This is immediately followed by a haunting piano melody coupled with a delicate vocal sample and booming 808s on the previously released “2 Sauce.” While Sleepy enters a bit more demonic in persona, the Brooklyn rapper spits his verse effortlessly — continuing to show his ability to slide over any beat.
Serene guitar melodies are leaned on greatly throughout the album. Tracks in “4or Daze” and “2055” use those sultry guitar licks to complement heavy-hitting drums and swirling 808s.
Hallow’s flair for combining mellow samples with vicious bars about fake friends and managing newfound fame shows itself on tracks “Make You (Snake Proof)” and “Equal”. “Scrub” samples the hit song “No Scrubs” by TLC, as Sleepy raps about a former fling with some attitude who won’t leave him alone now that he’s seen a meteoric rise in fame.
“Sleepy Freestyle” has the rapper feeling himself over a melancholy piano complemented yet again by a heavy 808 pattern. Listeners are then treated to a hilarious sampling of “Chicken Wing,” which has recently seen a rise in popularity on both TikTok and Fortnite as an emote. Hallow continues to spit savage bars over a simple yet wavey drill pattern on “Chicken”. “Mi No Sabe” uses a similar formula in using an unconventional sample with drill-style drums.
“1999” and “Murda She Wrote” both see a return of the melodic guitar the first half of the album saw so frequently. Hallow takes a more soulful tone to his delivery on these tracks, seemingly starting to wind down the album for the finale.
The first bonus track “Lowkey” assumes a similar lo-fi melody with confessional lyrics, however, things take a turn for the final track, “Tip Toe”, as the haunting “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” sample is complemented by aggressive bars from both Sleepy Hallow and frequent collaborator Sheff G — the only feature on the whole project.
Not only does Sleepy Hallow have a knack for sampling pop-culture references, the Brooklyn rapper seems to use those sounds to his advantage — having the ability to structure cohesive rhyme schemes amid the samples’ somewhat frivolous nature.
As his star continues to rise, Sleepy Hallow isn’t one to make listeners doze off during his verses. With obvious character and charisma over the in-your-face production of New York drill, his voice is instantly recognizable, cutting through each beat with a sense of urgency and poise.
While “Still Sleep” is only Hallow’s second full-length project, there’s definitely reason to stay up on the 21-year-old rapper in the future.
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