By Stefan Walczak
For his third official mixtape, Los Angeles artist James Patrick assumes the role of rapper and producer, having written, mixed and produced Sepulveda. Despite Patrick’s obvious skill at taking over complete control of his production, Sepulveda falls a little bit short of the finish line.
Patrick’s beats are well-executed, but they seem to be missing a certain professional aesthetic to it. “Chopping Block,” for example, has impressive synth sounds, yet they sound quiet and restrained, like Patrick’s delivery. My main complaint with Patrick’s production lies in the fact that there isn’t much of a distinct sound to it, as if Patrick is a little anxious to cause much of a ruckus with his new release. Whether the issue can be traced to Sepulveda not being mixed loud enough, or the beats needing a fresh spin from some guest producers, Patrick has the potential and the talent, yet the subject matter of the tracks and their overall presentation seem a little high school.
On “Envision,” Patrick’s production takes on a funky flow that includes an interesting breakdown. On “Necessary Evil,” Patrick raps about his drinking habits. However, Patrick’s delivery doesn’t have the commanding presence you would expect in hip-hop music.
Patrick has some real talent as a producer. Many styles can be heard coming through the multiple synth beats that pass through Sepulveda. It is certainly a feat to be able to work and release a hip-hop album entirely on your own, yet, from my experience, it appears that James Patrick still has a ways to go to find a sound that is distinctly his own.