Album Review – OgC’s ‘The Q Project’

Organically Grown Compound, also known as OgC, has a new album titled The Q Project, that I’ll be diving into today. I’ll also be chatting with him a bit about his project, and some of the inspiration behind his sound.

As a military child, OgC has spent a bit of his life all around the United States. Living in states including Hawaii, Oklahoma, Maryland, New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, OgC has had the opportunity to take bits of each place and cultivate it into his sound, creating his own mix in his music. As a result, he earned the name, “Cross Country”. Learning the piano at a young age, OgC has always had an ear for music, especially exceptional melodies. He always wanted to make original music, creating and performing for his mom, who was his earliest inspiration. With a certification in Analog and Digital Audio Engineering from Omega, OgC partnered with his classmate Klassic Craig, who handled all of his production, engineering, and mixing to create a dynamic duo that handled all steps needed to make a fire track.

Right off the bat, I am looking at how long the album is. A 24-song album is a double album. The problem is, that creates more room to put out only decent tracks, and makes it more difficult to have really stand-out songs. I would have split this up, releasing part I at the beginning of the year with 12 songs, and releasing part II about six months later. In an age of dwindling attention spans, an hour and a half long album is a big investment, and it’s easy to lose focus. So I’m also going to focus on which tracks are stand-out tracks, and which ones don’t do a whole lot for the album. The first track off the album, “Sum N Diff Rent”, is a solid start. The production is definitely dope, with the horns offering a bit of a cool change of pace in comparison to OgC’s flow. While his words are quick, the horns drag on lazily. His words however, tend to slur at some points, so his raps layered over this creates a bit of tension, which is super cool. His lyricism is super tight, and of course I have to shout out the line, “I don’t wanna have to hurt nobody, no Philly I don’t wanna Uzi Vert nobody.” The outro is short and catchy, adding a powerful punch to end the track while the horns ween beautifully into the next track.

“I Do This” took me by surprise for a number of reasons! I absolutely loved the beginning of the track. The way it starts is beautiful and melodic, but morose at the same time. I was curious, because given OgC’s rough tone, I couldn’t imagine him spitting a love song. And that’s when he slaughters the beat. Taking a very Twista approach to the track, he doubles down on the track, making sure he doesn’t drag behind or slow down because of it’s relaxed tempo. The hook was a cool way to slow it down, offering him the chance to rap about the people he makes music for. It makes for a cool homage. I’m not insanely crazy about the way he chooses to sing on the beat, but I think it’s an interesting way to incorporate some cool dynamics in the track, showing his grasp of the timing. However, I did really enjoy this short and choppy approach to the second verse. While I thought OgC’s speed was definitely impressive, I was invested in the lyrical content and wanted to decipher it a bit. The line about salivating, “shape shifting into Satan” was super dope, and definitely offered a lot of visual to the verse, especially with the choices made in the production. Once again, the choices used to end the track in the beat were really cool, offering another dope transition.

I absolutely love the feel of “World Tour”. It’s fun and fresh while still feeling authentically old-school. It has a fun bounce to it, and it’s super catchy. It touches more on OgC’s inspirations and come-up, which is always a great addition to an artist’s album, especially if it’s a debut and the artist needs to provide a bit of an introduction as to who they are. The flow is choppy at some points, but the staccato-like effect is pretty dope.

The guitar introduction in “The Set Up” is very 2010’s Lil Wayne when he would incorporate heavy rock guitar parts into his music. It’s a very different change of pace and automatically piqued my interest. Once again, OgC incorporates this slurred approach to his flow, showing his dynamics as a rapper and his ability to adapt to the beat. It starts to even out a bit further into the track, and it works really well with the production, which has a less old-school feel in comparison to the other songs. The track focuses on OgC’s critics, still giving the listener a bit of an introduction as to who he is and his story. I really dig this track. One of OgC’s biggest strengths that I’ve seen so far is his ability to create really catchy hooks that are used sparingly throughout the track. The fade out with the slowed/pitched down guitar is a super cool way to change the pace a bit too, transitioning to “Insomnia”.

“Insomnia” again has a more rock-influenced beat. I really love the heavy instrumentation going on. There are so many cool moving parts in this. “Insomnia” seems to have a re-arranged version of “The Set Up” as the hook, which I think it an interesting play. I would maybe have separated the tracks on the album and moved it towards the end, because listening all the way through in order and hearing two tracks back to back with very similar hooks is a bit redundant. It’s an interesting concept though. I do feel like there’s a bit of push and pull between his heavy flow and the busy beat. While it does create a chaotic energy that contributes to the themes presented in the song, I think it takes away from a really cool beat. The background vocals being slightly off beat add to that as well, and there are just too many parts fighting each other to be the main focus. While some parts individually are really cool, the track is just a bit too much for me. I think OgC could have split up “The Set Up” into two parts, making this the midway switch up. The busy parts and similar hook would be a bit more justified.

“Traumatized” isn’t a stand-out track for me. The production blends with a lot of the first couple of tracks, but it works with the album. Once again, catchy hook! I like his flow in the second verse a lot more than the first; the first feels as though the musicality is just a bit off, so some pieces don’t exactly line up for me. The effects OgC can do with his voice around the 2 and a half minute mark are really dope, and I would like to see a bit more of that even just as adlibs. I don’t think this track does a whole lot to contribute to the album.

I love the horns and energy of “Quota Filled”. So far, this is one of top performances in terms of energy. However, the hooks are starting to feel a bit repetitive. There’s a bit of a formula to his style, and his tone is very distinct, and with an album that’s this extensive, some of the songs tend to blend together. I do really enjoy the dynamics of the production on this track. Those horns throughout the song are really cool, and the track just feels really good.

“Drugs” is a cool track. The production is once again really interesting; although the whole album is collectively very old-school, the small details in the production that take from other genres is executed beautifully. The keys in this song are so bluesy, and the synth is so funky. I think it balances perfectly with OgC’s minimalist approach to his flow, and both are showcased really well without feeling overwhelming. His flow on the second verse is really cool, and definitely feels like Busta at certain points. I like this track a lot.

“Pharmer-Kia” has a bit more of a trappy feel, from the beat to the filters on the voice. It’s a cool addition to the album and demonstrates that OgC can make a funky, trappy track, and I think it’s the perfect length. Not long enough to drag on, but short enough to add something different to the album. I love the melodic approach to the song, and while I’m usually not crazy about a whole lot of autotune, this doesn’t just sound like any other Soundcloud track. I would be able to differentiate this.

“No Meds” has a heavy, grimey beat. I love the bounce to it, and it’s an amazing switch of flow following “Pharmer-Kia.” The background details in the production are absolutely gorgeous, it’s layered beautifully. Once again, I think this song is the perfect length. Keeps your attention and gets you hype, but doesn’t give you time to drag on or get bored up. OgC’s switch-up in his flow around the 2-minute mark definitely made me do a subtle stank-face; this is one of my favorite rhythmic performances of his.

I’m not crazy about “Up”. The introduction is too long in my opinion, so upon first listen, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the album. I love the sound around the 1-minute mark, but I think either the track needs to be cut down or added on to another song.

I had a similar feeling to “VVS” as I did with “Up.” The introduction was way too long, and I think 4 and a half minutes is a very long track. There are pieces that I really liked, but I think that they could have been incorporated into another song. I don’t think it warranted a track on its own. Additionally, the mixing of the feature is just a tad off. I’m guessing that due to quarantine, it had to be recorded remotely, but there is a noticable difference in the quality of the recording. The 3 and a half minute mark reminded me of that one Future part in “King’s Dead” that became a viral meme. I don’t think that fit the track at all.

I really like “Organically Grown Compound.” It’s the main track focusing on who OgC is as an artist, and I think this is a great song to do that. The beat isn’t overwhelming, but it feels uplifting and motivational. I love the hook of “can you tell me how one great child moved one great crowd?” That is so simple, and yet so powerful. This is a stand-out track for me, and does an amazing job at showcasing who OgC is in all its simplicity. No sort of theatrics, just a strong flow with great lyricism.

Once again, with “Always”, the intro is far too long. The reason why I hone in on this is for this very reason: when I’ve done listening sessions with producers/labels/studios, we bring artists in to listen to their tracks. We have them play the first 30 seconds. We don’t let them skip forward, or start at the strongest point. The beginning should be enough to capture you. So if your first 30 seconds are all intro with no flow, we take note of that. There shouldn’t be a second of idle time, unless it really makes sense for the story and provides something of substance. A strong song has no boring parts, and makes use of every second. So if your flow doesn’t start until 24 seconds in, you’ve already lost some of your listener’s attention. After that, I think the song is cool. The flow is powerful and heavy-hitting, and the production is cool. I think it’s a bit more of a filler, and could be cut, but it isn’t a bad track. Frankly, none of them are bad songs. It just needs to be condensed a tad. I do not care for the feature unfortunately. It is SO aggressive. Once Gutta Raw the Real took his tone down a bit so it didn’t feel like he was yelling at me, he exemplified a strong flow and cool lyricism. But that gets overshadowed by this really in your face grittiness that doesn’t fit the rest of the song.

I love the production of “Willie Nelson.” It’s so standard, but this style always creates the fundamentals for a hard track. OgC’s flow is dope as it has been for the rest of the album, but I think either another track or this could be cut or used on a second album. It’s a super cool song, but there are others already on the album with very similar feels and rhyme schemes. I do love the hook though, I think it’s hilarious. Trvpicke’s feature isn’t bad, but it’s nothing of substance. I think there’s a lot more that could have been done with this idea of feeling like you’re Willie Nelson, but it doesn’t get expanded on at all. The feature just feels like everything I hear on the radio, mixed with a slew of cursewords (which we know I love) that don’t really make sense and that don’t serve any purpose.

Personally, I hate the way “Jezebel” started, and I was very prepared to scratch this one completely. I really think that introduction was pointless, and I don’t think it represented the rest of the song very well. The hook is actually super catchy, and shows OgC’s dynamics as an artist, whereas the introduction just left me confused. The outro was strong as well, up until the drums dropped off. Then it picked up the feel of the intro, and I wasn’t crazy about that.

Once again, there’s no reason for “Lay Awake” to not really start until 24 seconds into the song. I like this song! More from a poppy/R&B front, but the production dragging on for so long at the beginning makes the song drag on when it doesn’t need to. The production isn’t anything special on this track and doesn’t need to be focused on. Besides that, I think it was short and consice, but offered a nice change of pace to the project.

Yet again, “Mr. Role Model” doesn’t start until 30 seconds in. It makes the project exhausting to get into when 9 minutes of it is introduction. While some of the production is beautiful, some of it is very standard. It takes away from OgC as an artist, and shifts the focus. There’s a way to spotlight both the lyrics and the production without having to give it a very long intro. Additionally, the mixing on this track sounds off in comparison to the rest of it. I’m not sure if the audio input is different than the rest, but the quality isn’t as clear, and it’s noticable. I really like the hook, but I don’t think this song needed its own track either. It doesn’t offer anything new to the album.

I love “Foolish.” I absolutely love the lyrics and the production. This definitely stands out as a track, and could be released as a single if the mixing on the feature was of slightly higher quality. Jay Scoola’s flow seems dope, but unfortunately the quality of the audio makes it difficult to decipher what he’s saying. However, his feature was short, to the point, and followed the beat perfectly to offer a different tone of voice. It just needs to be mixed in properly to feel cohesive with the song, otherwise it sounds like two different recording sessions over one beat rather than one song.

The mixing on “Vybe” feels off as well. I like the production on the track, but it’s so far down on the album and still reminds me of another song, although I can’t pinpoint which one. I think this song could be taken off as well. The lyrics aren’t providing anything new, it’s just a sex song. The feature is dope. Massive might be one of the best artists featured on the project. I think my other pointer would be to spread the features throughout the album rather than condensing them all on the second half of the album.

I like “Dreams.” I think it fits the project really well, and the lyrics are incredible. Definitely one of the strongest lyrical performances. The production is simple, and sets the tone and the pace really well. Around 2 and a half minutes in, I was pleasantly surprised! This was a really cool bit to incorporate in. I really dug this track a lot. My one complaint would be to not juxstapose a clip of Martin Luther King right after a sex song. I think the outro could be cut down as well.

“Rival” is a really cool track as well. The introduction is haunting and enticing, but then the beat and lyrics speak of resilience. This is a dope track, but I think I would have released this as a single as well. The outro needs to be trimmed as well though.

“SMH” is easily the weakest song on the album. There is no need for a minute long introduction. Ever. The mixing is off, making the autotune sound unclear and scratchy. I didn’t understand what was happening at the 2 minute mark, until I realized that was the outro. The song is 2 minutes and 47 seconds, and 1 minute and 47 seconds is intro and outro. This was honestly a disappointing choice for the second to last song, especially of a 24 song album.

I think “Optimism” is an apt way to end the album. It isn’t a stand out track, but the production fits the rest of the project really well. I like the feel of the track, and the lyrics are extremely relevant to what has happened in 2020. Overall, it isn’t a bad project. My main complaint is the length. At least 12 minutes of the project is intros to the songs, and that is a lot of time to be spent waiting for a song to start. Furthermore, the strength of the really strong tracks got overshadowed by just how many songs there were. While there were some that did stand out, there were others that sounded like at least 3-4 other songs, so it gets a bit redundant. My other complaint is the mixing. For most of the project, it was pretty on point. However, the features weren’t mixed in at all and some of the tracks did not have the same quality. An album should have cohesiveness in content, but quality as well. The mixing and mastering needs a lot of work and while I enjoyed the variety, it didn’t mesh together very well because there were so many songs. It was hard to follow what connected them all.

I did, however, get a chance to talk to OgC a bit about the project, which can be read below.

Hi Corey! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me about your project. Why don’t we start with a bit about you? What’s the story behind your name, ‘OgC’?

OgC: “Well the story behind OgC isn’t all that complex, it was undoubtedly a refining process as anything else is worth obtaining for the most part; but in the development of who I’ve become artistically I’ve noticed an awful lot of conformity & fraudulence and it’s always thrown me off. It’s those facts that have driven me to stay true to the art and myself: hence the name Organically Grown Compound/OgC.”

I read in your bio that you’ve lived all across the US. What city influenced your sound the most?

OgC: “As far as the city that’s proven to have the most influence on what I do it’s hard to say cuz ima East Coast baby at heart for real for real lol. But some of the feelings that I encountered in the Midwestern/Southern Region surrounding music have forever left an impact on me represented in the free flowing charisma and accented country twang dem boys gotttt lol. It’s certainly a form of simplicity merged with pure genius they tend to capture and I think that Oklahoma has left that with me most if I’m to be honest.”

What pushed you to start rapping? What moment made you realize that you could have a serious career in it?

OgC: “The simple truth is I’ve always been into music. I started playing the piano and singing when I was 5 and from that point I really don’t remember the transition into rap. It jus felt so natural; just an extension of where my interest had already been. At a young age I recall getting a decent amount of recognition from my elders and most of my peers which led to different studio environments and experiences. But it was when I first made a song that made someone cry I knew I had something; an uncanny ability to touch people with words and incite emotion. It was then I realized that this is what I’m meant to do.”

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

OgC: “For me it has to be Eminem. When I think backkkk he was just so unorthodox and it really resonated with me how he structured everything and his lack of timidity always proved to be comical. One of the funniest geniuses in the game hands down. But I love all the greats Pun, Big, Pac, still I cant forget about Jay, Wayne, Bun & Pimp Busta, Missy and Timmy so there’s definitely a lot to draw inspiration from.”

Why did you choose the name, The Q Project?

OgC: “In 2014 I graduated from The Omega School of Applied Arts and Sciences for Audio Engineering. It’s also when I linked with my producer/engineer Klassiq Craig who is also an alumni. Over the last few years we have released a series of projects all recorded in a meager basement setting via YouTube under the artist name, Compensation. We had projects entitled The Script, Ready 2 Live and The Pre-Q ((Pre-Quality)) also available everywhere. But as we improved in technique we felt we needed something to reflect that hence the re-branding from Compensation to OgC and transition from the The Pre Q to The Quality Project or The Q Project.”

What’s the one overlapping theme that holds the project together? What’s the one thing each song has in common?

OgC: “The one factor that brings everything together in short I guess is love. Love of the art, love of people, love for the world. A love for vices yet a love for a clear head and perspective. Love of the finer things. Love for our youth. It’s definitely tightly knitted together and under woven in love. It’s my belief that no two songs are identical and so in harmony with that it was my goal to make a wide array of material in hopes to reflect diversity. So the fact that nothing is the same I think is the way everything works together in this instance.”

Was there anything that you modeled this project after? 

OgC: “We really didn’t attack this project with any set strategy, game plan or agenda per say and so it really wasn’t structured with anything else in mind.”

What’s your favorite track?

OgC: “Not for any commercial reason I’m thinking my personal favorite is probably #13 “Organically Grown Compound”. I just made it thinkin of the kids and the underdogs and it has a real good feel in my opinion.”

Did Covid delay your project or did it help it get done quicker?

OgC: “Covid really gave me & my producer Klassiq a chance to lock-in and do a lot creatively so I’d definitely say it has had more benefits than less.”

Lastly, what are you focusing on in 2021? Any new music?

OgC: “The plan is just to keep grindin for certain success; new music, merch, and tours you know. The album’s not even a month old yet but we got so much in store for y’all it’s crazy on the music side. And as far as interaction/engagement you can find me on IG .

Sponsored by CIB Entertainment.

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