Album Review – UA The Duo’s Smoke Break

UA The Duo consists of two brothers, SlowMo and Wallace, who are California natives currently residing in Utah. Despite living elsewhere, their Cali roots shine through in their beats, flows, and lyrics, giving the listener a fun, energetic performance. The two have just released their new EP, Smoke Break, which features 5 heavy-hitting trap songs as a prequel to their upcoming studio album, Bud Brothaz 2.

The EP begins with the first track, “Lab Cookin’.” The song has a lightweight, trap beat that leaves plenty of room for the duo to get creative with their flow and dynamics. Between the production and their delivery, it’s evident that they draw influences from a lot of West-Coast rap. The subject matter isn’t anything too complicated; it’s a fun track about flexing and turning up, but I think UA has an extremely entertaining and captivating flow that makes you want to listen to them. Slow-Mo and Wallace’s sounds work well together to offset one another and keep the song upbeat and fast-paced despite a static beat. While I preferred the last verse, I don’t think one artist out-performed the other; they both have their own distinct sounds, and together, they make a really fun group.

“Lab Cookin'” smoothly transitions into the second song, “You Got It.” The production of the first two tracks is quite cohesive, but I would say I prefer the first song. “You Got It” is another fun track, but it doesn’t particularly stand out for me. It’s a turn-up track, and the duo has again demonstrated how infectious their energy is, but other than that, it is pretty latent. If anything, it could have been cut a little bit shorter to keep the listener hooked.

“This Way” still maintained a lot of trap elements, but took on a melodic feel. The song features the two brothers singing the hook, which offers something a bit different for the EP. While I don’t think it’s their strongest suit, I appreciate their choice to go a slightly different direction for this track because the production throughout the project has started to feel a bit redundant. The second verse was my favorite moment of the song, offering fun and melodic bars that fit the beat really well. Overall, the track was exciting, but I can’t say it offered anything new to the EP thus far.

The fourth track, “Whip,” has a beat quite like “Lab Cookin’.” I think it’s the duo’s best performance in regards to energy and flow. The first verse is lively and offers a bounce, keeping the song up-tempo. I do have to commend their multisyllabic rhymes. They continue the trend throughout the songs and the lyrics still make sense rather than just stringing a bunch of words together to achieve the pattern, demonstrating their potential. However, the content of the tracks hasn’t been extremely substantial. I do wish there was some versatility in the subject matter. Every rapper doesn’t have to have meaningful lyrics, but one project full of the same themes in every song makes it difficult to get a real insight into the artists.

Smoke Break concludes with the last song, “Switchin Lanes.” The production is a perfect way to wrap up the project as it has the most character and works really well with the lyrics. The artists switch things up on this song, highlighting their sibling bond and how it helped them get to where they are. I think that is something that could have been a bigger focus throughout the project as the two are literally brothers, which is something we don’t see in Hip-Hop too often anymore. While the end of the song felt triumphant because of the beat, I can’t help but feel as though the project could have ended on a bigger note. While Smoke Break is supposed to act as a prequel to their upcoming album Bud Brothaz 2, “Switchin Lanes” could have ended with something more extravagant to separate it from the rest of the EP.

As an EP, Smoke Break is definitely consistent. It showcased cohesiveness among all five songs and the tracks fit well together to make the project whole. With that being said, each track is a bit too similar. If you listen to the songs individually, they’re strong from start to finish. But together, every song seems to follow the same formula of a fairly long, melodic intro leading into the hook. Additionally, when each track’s production resembles the last, it’s difficult for one song to stand out among the rest. As a result, it left me a tad underwhelmed because the talent is evident. The brothers illustrated their ability to ride the beat and amp up the energy in a room, but I didn’t see much more besides that. It’s hard when you only have five songs to demonstrate your different layers, but variety is needed to keep a listener’s attention. While the songs were fun, I’m excited to see how the brothers can utilize the space of a longer tracklist on their upcoming studio album to incorporate different styles and create a well-rounded project. 

If you like what you heard, you can connect with UA The Duo below to keep up-to-date with the release of their new album!

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