Ever since dropping the single “Condo Dreams”, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that Jerrod Williams aka Haute Rod (Hotrod) needs to be discussed among the upper echelon of rappers. Probably overlooked, and slept on, with 2017’s 11 track “The Complication a Beautiful Tragedy”, I feel that the Baltimore Hip-Hop artist has finally leaked that secret and put together a strong conceptual project. Haute Rod as a solo artist has been able to hold my attention for an entire album here. Throughout “The Complication a Beautiful Tragedy”, fans can hear Haute Rod spitting some of the hardest bars of his entire career while showcasing a side of him that we seldom see. In addition, he sounds comfortable as hell over some of the smoothest beats I’ve heard in all of 2017.
Conceptually, I found this project to be well thought out and developed. From the opening track to the closer, each song flows from one to another perfectly. Furthermore, each track brings a unique and raw side of Haute Rod I personally feel we don’t see as often as we should from rappers.
When listening to the album, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how personal each track sounded. His lyrics seem to reveal many emotions and experiences, which he translates through the music. Layered with lush and diverse production, I found this to be a cinematic and thought provoking project.
Through vivid imagery and storytelling, Haute Rod paints a truly inspiring picture and really draws fans into this album right from the opening track, “Condo Dreams”, which was also the album’s lead single. I personally loved this song and thought it was a great way to start off this collection of songs.
Another standout track is “Fallen” ft. Greenspan. In my opinion, this is one of the more important and relevant hip-hop songs to come out this year. Lyrically, Haute Rod is touching on subjects bigger than him, bigger than hip-hop. Comparing and contrasting his personal experience with some of the hugely problematic issues that are taking place in today’s society.
Topped off with an extremely hard beat “Black Bar” is another track that bumps in the whip, but it’s the eclectic and bluesy “No Dayz Off” that’s absolutely captivating. It’s no surprise that this is one of my favorites on the album. When I think of Haute Rod, I’ve always considered him to be a straight emcee with bars for days.
While that is still hugely accurate on this album, I finally feel he is giving us something more than just that. Especially on tracks such as “Elevate” ft. Legeion, “Strapped Mentally” and “Walking Through The Fire”.
Haute Rod seems to have found his niche as an independent artist expressing himself completely on his own terms. The expectations of big sales and the associations and disassociations that major label artists suffer are all absent here. Haute Rod is at competition with himself on “The Complication a Beautiful Tragedy”, which is exactly how it should be.
Jerrod Williams aka Haute Rod was born on the east side of Baltimore, Md. Growing up in the infamous Lafayette Projects as a youngster Jerrod was exposed to the harsh reality of poverty and all the indulgences of street life. Throughout though, he found solace in music, and now passes his experiences onto us.