The brainchild of rapper Spoken Phor (Patrick Salazar ’13) and producer Maestro (Anthony G. Edwards ’11, of We Are the HEROES), “Half Way There” is a refreshing addition to Wesleyan’s ever-expanding catalogue of student creativity—it’s bold, triumphant, and best bumped loud. The mixtape was dropped on Dat Piff on October 26th, and is currently available for free download. Acquiring it is certainly worth the effort: echoing the efforts of such fresh, bombastic gangsta revivalists like Freddie Gibbs, Spoken Phor delivers well-constructed verses with unflappable confidence. Maestro’s immaculately polished production and vocal stylings from Melanie Brady ’12 perfectly complement Salazar’s flow. Though he occasionally employs tropes typically associated with mainstream hip hop, Spoken Phor is far too intelligent to treat swagger as anything but a reference point; in the gripping final track (produced by J. Paul ’11) after which mixtape is titled, Salazar waxes introspective, baring the frustrated pain that motivates him to press on with his craft. Contextualized by the poignantly raw ruminations of its last verses, “Half Way There” verily comes full circle, and the result is moving.
What’s also remarkable is the confluence of talent present in “Half Way There”. Collaboration is a beautiful thing, and with any luck, we’ll see more of it from these gifted individuals. Salazar recently performed at Amherst and is in the process of booking a show at UPenn; here’s hoping we’ll catch a Spoken Phor performance at Wes in the near future.