In today’s fickle rap industry, it is difficult to find artists who are profound, honest, and interesting. President/CEO and Founder of Wyoming/Utah hip-hop recording label and artistic collective SUB|ROK RECORDS , Gentry Fox, who is also an artist, record producer, actor, director, designer, visionary entrepreneur is known for his passion, real, raw, and unrelenting music. Written, produced, arranged, recorded, and engineered by Fox, over the course of one year, his latest album “The View From Nowhere” brings his deep reflections on the pandemic crisis and all its associated psychological effects.
In particular the album investigates the “psychological output of a starving artist during an unprecedented period of political and socioeconomic division, social isolation, and personal growth.” Gentry Fox has been gifted not only in his sense of melody and sound, but in his mastery of words. Words, and rap especially, has enormous power. It can be used to impart empowering truths, or to spread deleterious treacheries. Fortunately Fox always sticks to the former.
Gentry Fox makes the kind of music most serious rappers wish they had made. He is able to blend the heavy, driving force of rap with melodies and lyricism so powerfully impacting, it takes your mind to your deepest thoughts within a few bars. He pours his heart into every line to produce an intensity you can only experience for yourself. His production and songs are written to draw emotion out of sound.
On “The View From Nowhere”, Gentry Fox fuses elements of rap, jazz, neo-soul, blues, and lo-fi hip-hop, to subtly seduce listeners with sound, before literally suck them into a vortex of vivid lyrical imagery, afflicted sentiments, and restless emotions. The album opens with the expansive synths of “Nowhere”, and the inspiring words: “There’s a fascination about the vastness of the plains, the ruggedness of the mountains, the uncertainty of the far horizon, the crispness and cleanness of the air. The brilliance of the sunshine that holds those who come, and that draws them back, if they leave.”
Those opening words are the very foundation of this album, and from where Gentry Fox builds each diverse narrative. The Rocky Mountain region is his world, and hence is the primary metaphor from which each of these songs play off. Fox masterfully weaves in and out of different lyrical approaches running the gamut of just about every emotion in existence, both when delivering his hip hop bars, as well as the moments where he shows off his singing chops, which is already evident on “Viewfinder”.
Moving forward, “Chi” (ft. Burnell Washburn), is an outstanding track is, as is “Lucid” and “Real”. Track after track, the listener will quickly realize they are in for a rollercoaster ride of deep and powerful emotions, as Gentry Fox unravels his introspective narratives. And things just keep getting more profound and intriguing. From the jangling guitars of “Different”, to the shimmering keys of “Forget”, onto the ethereal tones of “Vanguard”, and the futuristic slow-burn crunch of “Jaded” (ft. T00m3R), each song is rather craftily pieced together.
The lyrics take center stage, and lead to an overwhelmingly powerful exposure to Gentry Fox’s thoughts on a very specific and personal journey, as he continues to cut through the lyrically hard-hitting triad of “Distant”, “Outlier” and “Hindsight”. Fox insists on his emotive onslaught with “Okay”, “Someday” (ft. Fierce), “Made” and “Somewhere”. Note the titles of the opening and closing tracks, this will give you a quick insight, of what to expect in-between. But beware of the twist in the tail: “I’m on my way to somewhere, somewhere in the middle of nowhere…”
“The View From Nowhere” hits the mark on all fronts as an album. On the rap and hip-hop spectrum, Gentry Fox provides great lyrics and hooks, thought provoking fluid verses, and plenty of production sophistication. His features also do a great job of providing diverse dynamics to enrich the recordings. Though in exact contrast to the tedious, excessively indulgent pop often found on the radio, Fox’s irrefutably real music, cannot be ignored.
Listen to this album and take the time to understand where Gentry Fox is coming from. You will develop a deep appreciation for his journey and resonate with his music.