Formerly going by the moniker DK, Barelyanyhook has spent the last three years releasing a slew of impressive guest features and last year’s debut mixtape, ‘Took You Long Enough’, establishing himself as one of the more exciting lyricists around. By contrast, Bigfoot is a hip-hop production veteran, working with a long list of Nigerian rappers, from Boogey to Illbliss. The two have collaborated to release their joint EP, ‘Barely Big Enough’, gloriously combining for a short set that merges their best traits to stunning effect.
Over the 4-track course of the song, Barely takes on vocal duties, exhibiting his panoramic delivery range, while Bigfoot creates a colourfully boisterous canvas to reinforce his partner’s performances. Barely’s most endearing quality is his ability to dole out personable raps, driven by vivid imagery and an emotional poignant edge. On the project’s opener, “See My Hand”, he turns on the charm in an animated style, bouncing from a nursery rhyme inspired intro, to playful chant raps, before finally settling into a technically dizzying verse he packs with self-aware raps. “IJGB without the J, but y’all gon let me land today/I close my eyes and find a way/ I put my life inside the page”, Barely raps on one of the blistering couplets, confidently re-asserting his value and ambitions.
“See My Hand” is set to an elastic, resplendent Afro-reggae groove, featuring heaving guitar riffs and reverb-stained steel pan drum synths. It is indicative of the composite, exotic production that gives the EP its electrifying pulse. Where a significant portion of Bigfoot’s work echoes a sense of hip-hop revivalism, linking up with an artist as creatively frenzied as Barely, exhibits his dynamic range and gives his production on ‘Barely Big Enough’ a loose feel.
With its muffled vocal samples and an energetic mix of tribal percussions and swinging drums, “Recognize (Look at You)” is the only straightforward hip-hop track on the tape. On “Viene El Invierno”, the pair veer into Latin trap territory, for a rumbling jam that would sit perfectly on the same playlist as Cardi B’s 2018 smash hit, “I Like It”. Accentuating Barely’s bilingual lyrics in English and Spanish, Bigfoot mixes a serpentine piano riff, squealing violin string line, and hefty 808s. By its outro bridge, the instrumental arrangement bottoms out into raucous Afro-Cuban, Tumbao percussions, and Barely’s yelped invocations in Spanish.
Lyrically, the sole, boast-filled verse on “Viene El Vierno” is a convincing display of Barely’s ability to intricately thread impressionable bars, and set up a riveting flow without losing spur. For dancefloor purposes, the song could’ve used a catchy hook, but as his moniker implies, Barely isn’t too bothered by song conventions. Even on lovesick closer “Till Evening”, where there’s a discernible refrain, the rapper uses constant repetition as a tool to convey urgency.
In as much as ‘Barely Big Enough’ relies on widely accessible musical choices, it comes alive based on the terms of its collaborators—superbly curated without being unnecessarily insular.
Stream ‘Barely Big Enough’ via Apple Music here.
Featured Image Credits: Instagram/Barelyanyhook
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