Whenever anyone from Doomtree ends up collaborating with another Doomtree member you know that the result is going to be a banger. It is especially true when it’s P.O.S., Sims, Paper Tiger, and Lazerbeak. Great Hits, the newest from the Minneapolis based Shredders, certainly lives up to its name. With the members having shown so many different styles over their various projects, it can be hard to know exactly what to expect from their album. This album is more reminiscent of the sound on Doomtree’s All Hands or P.O.S.’s We Don’t Even Live Here. The songs are catchy and smooth. But not to worry, there is still the endless references, brilliant wordplay, and punk-inspired edge that you would hope from an album put out by this crew.
When listening, the production level of Great Hits stands out immediately. Crisp, varied, and clear, the beats manage to propel each song without ever quite sounding the same nor are any of the songs different or experimental just for the sake of sounding different. The beats sound tight and to the point making the album feel quick and light, but it doesn’t run you out over with blistering speed. The pace lets you catch some of the quick witted wordplay and allow you to pick up the choruses after only a few listens.
“Suburban Base” sets the tone immediately with its quick, heavy basslines that drives the entire album forward. It also establishes the relationship between the MCs with P.O.S. providing the steady, at times melodic, push and Sims delivering quick biting rhymes. Other songs, like “It Was Written,” are more lyrically dense. All the styles come together masterfully on songs like “Vanilla ISIS” or “Shadap Your Face Pt. II” when the beats are tight and the wordplay is ever present. One of the aspects that stand out about Sims and P.O.S.’s rapping is the huge array of references that they are willing to bring in. Everything from pop culture, to nostalgia, to ancient history and languages is fair game to the pair of MCs as they try to drive home ideas.
Despite the short track list, Shredders’ Great Hits manages to touch on a wide array of ideas, beliefs, and current problems of society. The punk, DIY roots of the Doomtree affiliated group are apparent in their choice of topics and their willingness to address the struggle. From white supremacists and casual racism to big pharma to economic problems, the songs try to address what it can. While P.O.S. raps, “It’s pretty easy to impress / When something tells them / You’re not worth the 40 hours or the check” on “Shadup Your Face Pt. II,” Sims tells you how some people only “Live at the appellate court / Voldemort and Skeletor yelling at the void.” While different styles of delivery are apparent, both are effective. If it’s important, Shredders has something intelligent to say about the topic.
Overall, Great Hits pulls no punches and manages to deliver stunning songs at the same time. “Young Bro” might be the weakest song on the album but it would stand out on most. There is meaning in the words, but nothing is compromised by trying to make it meaningful. The backing tracks are incredible throughout the album delivering on bass and more interesting arrangements. The idea of the album is best put by Sims on “It Was Written” when he says, “Never saw a fake I couldn’t recognize / And never met a word I couldn’t weaponize.” The lyrics of Great Hits are poignant, and it is as real as ever.