Sharply brandishing a rough-edged musical presence, Milwaukee’s very own Dana Coppa and SPEAK Easy staff their latest exhibition on the Dana Coppa & SPEAK Easy EP. Standing no where’s close to being hip hop newcomers, these seasoned indie talents join forces and mesh well on their strong-winded collaborative effort. While at times the songs pack less punch than they probably made out to deliver, this EP sheds light on the underappreciated deftness Dana Coppa and SPEAK Easy possess.
Simply put, Coppa and SPEAK are punchline rappers. The “rap-circles-around-your-head-for-days” bluster and well-deserving grandiosity make up most of the verses on this album. Supported by a dark chord progression and screeching strings, the first track, “This Is Us,” opens the album up and after the beat drops, the two emcees, along with featured guest Klassik, make it known that they won’t stop doing what they do. This self-satisfaction and pride practically coincide with punchline rap in every instance one can find. On the Dana Coppa & SPEAK Easy EP this is no different, as this collaborative duo makes sure to insert witty metaphors and knock-out disses towards “lesser” rappers.
The first half of the album stands out greatly in comparison to the second half. The production particularly predominates the latter end of the EP, as heard on the intensely heated “Murder They Wrote,” “One of These Kids,” and “Da City.” The final two songs on this EP take an awkward turn towards a commercialized, almost trap style full of ridiculously fast-paced hi-hat rolls, exaggerated synths and predictable snare patterns. What is troubling here is that the ending tracks deviate from the preceding tracks, giving the album an uncomfortable close. Even something as simple as rearranging the tracks could have made this a little better – but only a little.
As the production dwindles, it seems as the emcees go down with the sinking ship as well. It is all any truly-engaged listener can do to ignore the line about picking noses and flicking boogers. While Dana Coppa and SPEAK start off strong, and even carry their perfect flows towards the end of the album, they falter on the beats that strongly contrast the rest of the album (e.g. “Stay Focused” and “Take a Ride”).
UniFi Records presented the Dana Coppa & SPEAK Easy EP to the world, and with it, listeners got a project full of promising production, entertaining technical wordplay and some wildly enthralling musicianship. What this EP lacks, however, is consistency, primarily in sound, and what everybody wants to hear nowadays – something different. While there are only a few disagreeable songs, the songs aforementioned that differ from the rest of the album’s general theme stand out too much to be swept under the rug. Also, not only are the rhymes too blatantly similar in style and subject, the deliveries are quite comparable, as well. There is no doubt, however, that Dana Coppa and SPEAK Easy put on a great show and, therefore, are deserving of some extolment.