While all eyes were on Drake’s polarising Nothing Was the Same release, Stones Throw boom bap elder Guilty Simpson snuck into the stack of releases this week with his Small Professor assisted concept album Highway Robbery. Set in a dystopian Detroit not far from reality, Guilty takes the listeners on a journey through a hustler’s daily routine, desperately trying to keep his head above water amongst the ruins.
Taking a page from the hip-hop operette concept perfected by Prince Paul, Guilty manages to stick to what he knows best: rugged, grimey street raps. Relatively unknown Philly producer Small Professor (no guesses on who he takes his production cues from) manages to keep up with the veteran rapper, effectively illustrating Guilty’s story through a combination of blaxploitation-inspired production and 16-bit flavours. This effectively draws a comparison between the similarities “the Game” a hustler dedicates their life to and the games we would play as a child. Both post up trials and tribulations and it’s up to the “player” to get to the end in one piece.