Nostalgia – Friendswithbeats (Review)

New Jersey producer Friendswithbeats released his fourth beats tape titled “Nostalgia” on January 12th, 2022. For those who may be consistent readers then you may remember Friendswithbeats as we covered a collaboration he did with the homie Emcee Crackmic about a week ago titled “All Knowing Death.” We touched base a bit, got some soup cooking for later days but I ended up taking a listen to his tape after he had submitted it through DM. Now I know a lot of homies who enjoy listening to beats while working, hell I cruise around sometimes to beats so I did not hesitate checking out “Nostalgia” which by the cover would easily take anyone from the 70’s through 90’s back to remind them how good shit used to be; we see all you old heads and love you dearly. With 25 beats, 4 feature artist & clocking in at 50 minutes this is one for the ages; crack open a can of Pepsi Crystal as I breakdown my thoughts on “Nostalgia” by Friendswithbeats.

The Breakdown

We begin with “First Of March” which for me could be the opening track for a Studio Ghibli movie. I really like it starts off slow but then becomes louder as the track panes out, while still delivering a beautiful sound. “Thrifty” is my kind of track being that I resell full-time along with running this site. This has our first feature coming from Johnny Fecsko who co-produced this funky, Mo-Town like track. I really liked the vibe put out by this song, had a good rhythm but above all good vibes. I really liked what sounded like an NBA Street Gamebreaker sound effect sample which makes sense to the LP’s title. Track 3, “Take a Step and Keep Going On” has our first verse of the album that covers the theme of rising above anything that could be holding you back, not letting one misstep hold you back from continuing your journey. The beat is more jazzy, even referenced in the song is one of the best jazz-rap groups, A Tribe Called Quest. “Forever” was butter, I really dug how it started off gospel like but then turned into a very mellow, anime like beat. “Arizona” was tasty like the tea, it had a very laid back attitude with nothing fancy which is alright because you can’t beat the classics. “Grammy’s Soap Ops” has a military, moving in the shadows type vibe to it. This ain’t your grannies oldies but rather a mixture of modern trap sounds with beautiful instruments that really help bring that vibrancy out on the beat. “All Knowing Death” was the first single we covered from Friendswithbeats but also servered as the only single for the LP, featuring Emcee Crackmic this track covers life and the trials of it similar to “Dance with the Devil” by Immortal Technique. The self-titled track, “Nostalgia” comes in at track 8 serving as an interlude but still providing a dope sound to keep you hyped. We taking it back to the 00’s with “East Coast Soul” which has the most aggressive sound so far and a awesome feature from Hoo Nose which is an abbreviation for “Who Knows” as told to me by Friendswithbeats. The beat alone is fire with that 2000’s feel from the chorus to the rhythm while the two added verses are amazing. “Waking Up” has that morning sunrise on your hair sound, very soft in the production which is nice on the ears. I really like that it comes right after such a more aggressive track to balance out the melodies. “Checkers” has that Euphoria sound to it, I really dug this dip back into gospel blended with lofi elements that really made the beat feel like it was playing a game of checkers with itself; trying to out do the other half without overdoing. “B.E.W.D.” follows after with that 2000’s vibe again, got me bopping my head like Jay-Z listening to Timberland. I really dig the mixture of brass and lofi but this is another dope track. “Whoa” features “Hoo Nose” again on a nasty beat that has a brass sound too it. I really dislike that the it so short but I do enjoy the time I had with it, the verse included was good but we know the beat is the real superstar.

We begin the second half of “Nostalgia” with track 14 titled “Whiskey Sour.” Now this is cold like whiskey on the rocks, a great combination of drums and piano is used to craft a perfect melody. “Let It” has that gospel blend back but with a repeating chorus on how music is the weapon of the future which I fully agree with it. It has a really good feeling above all which matters in music to me. “Overcome” has a very funky, psychedelic type beginning but mellows out into some gravy on potatoes. My only problem again is how short it is, I would love to hear an extended version with a possible guest verse. “Rest” is another instruments heavy beat that really banged, I dug the verse on it along with the keys used to create a wonderful beat; just again it was too short (PAUSE). “Salt Water” rolls in at 18 with some very gnarly Hawaiian or Japanese sounds; I really think this was a standout on the later half for it’s switch up that got more intense as it played. “Art Therapy” loops perfectly from “Salt Water.” It keeps the momentum alive with a more energetic vibe; honestly I had thought “Salt Water” kept looping until I checked that it wasn’t the same song haha. “Our Own Way” is a title I love as the beat seems to be more inspiration, something to help push you to become greater all while having a funky Zapp sample. “Homecoming” is on that Kanye West type ish, really high horns with a lot of power in each drum; this may have been one of my favorites that was perfect in length. “The Vibe” has some more sample verses on it which delivery as filling in for what would be just the beat. Production itself is nice, I like the usage of a violin on the chorus along with the overall jazz effect. “B.B.b.” follows suit with a very good loop to the previous track. I think the name was for the keys used to make the track, no clue but I really enjoyed this beat as we reach the end. “2020” uses the piano and slow drums to bring out a blues sound that fits well for how many look back at 2020; a rough year for many who we send condolences and love to. The sample verse on it is really good, I dig it as it flows over this Noire blues beat. We conclude our journey with “Affirmation” which feels like a triumphant end to a fantastic beats tape. I really dig the female voiceover that plays over the beat, speaking on confidence and other positive topics.

Nostalgia – Friendswithbeats

Final Thoughts

This is a fantastic beats tape no doubt that I hope once finishing my review you’d consider listening to it. I think that Friendswithbeats needs to get some love from MCs who wanna spit some real heat because a lot of these tracks are perfect for some rhythm slaying. I would say my top 3 beats were “Grammy’s Soap Ops”, “East Coast Soul” & “Our Own Way.” All three of these beats would be perfect for some underground artist to hop on, I think they each have a unique sound that stuck with me through the listening process of the album. I can’t recommend this album enough, be sure to peep Friends latest tape, “Red Flannel” on his Spotify which I’ll link below. As always I am The Musical Hippie and these were my thoughts on “Nostalgia” by Friendswithbeats.

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