Hip-hop has always been a genre of music that transcends boundaries and speaks truth to power. It’s no surprise that the latest album by Don Péri, ‘The ChessMate’, follows in the footsteps of the greats who came before him, delivering a raw and unapologetic commentary on life through his music. Don Péri has spent the past two years finding his path to self-redemption, and he’s managed to encapsulate his journey into a remarkable body of work. The artist made a complete 180-degree turn from a borderline drug addict and a loser to a workaholic who now balances school, work, and music with an admirable precision.
‘The ChessMate’ is an album that showcases Don Péri’s lyrical prowess, with each song featuring intricate rhyme schemes, clever wordplay, multi-layered metaphors, double entendres, cadence changes and lightning speed flows that leave the listener in awe. While some tracks are just light-hearted flexes, many delve deeper into themes of redemption and loss.
Hence it’s the sum of Don Péri’s ability to switch up his flow, and add rapid-fire speed to his rhymes, which are not only technically impressive but also a lyrical tour-de-force that put him in the frontline of his class.
The title of the album, ‘The ChessMate’, is a nod to Don Péri’s meticulous approach to his music. He takes every decision, big or small, and calculates it at least ten times over. This is reflected in his life philosophy, which he sums up with the phrase ‘chess not checkers’.
It’s this attention to detail that sets Don Péri apart and cements him as a rising star in the world of hip-hop. He’s an artist with such a firm grip on the rap game, and stands out from his contemporaries in neat, meaningful ways. It’s hard to think of others in the genre with such a command over flow and wordplay, and these elements are absolute scene-stealers on the album.
The album starts with a bang on the opening track ‘Fresh Up’, before sliding into the slower but insistent drive of ‘Love Finesse’ and then into “RIP MC ROB (Skit)”. The first standout moment arrives with ‘The M.O.O.N. (Mourning Othrs Often Nowadays)”, which blends poignant reflection on loss with Don Péri’s relentless flow. This is followed by another absolute highlight, ‘SHINE’ ft. Kaly Jay, which rolls out a series of redemptive messages with explosive raps.
The brief ‘Fast AF BOIII (Nick’s Skit)’ leads us to the tongue twisting ‘Avatar State’, where Don Péri unpacks all of his technical devices into two minutes of lyrical thunder and lightning. Flows are traded out regularly, mid-verse even, to make this an outrageous tour-de-force on all levels.
‘No Countin’ rides in on dark booming bottom end, and through a melodic-styled hook, before the retro soul vibes of ‘Devil’s Greed’ launch another lyrical onslaught from Don Péri. Whichever of his qualities suits you best doesn’t matter, because they all find their way through this song.
‘Dynamic Duo’ ft. Freakie TC is the longest track on the project with an unusual five minute plus runtime, and plenty storytelling to get your teeth stuck into. This takes us to ‘TILL THIS DAY (Skit)’, and the mesmeric chanting of, ‘That’s ‘Erryday’. The album closes with the catchy and inspiring anthem, ‘Let Up’.
Overall, ‘The ChessMate’ is a triumphant album that showcases Don Péri’s growth as an artist and a person, as he sweeps through its tracks like a raging storm. It’s a body of work that’s not only technically impressive but also deeply personal and relatable. Don Péri has delivered an album that’s sure to resonate with fans of hip-hop and beyond.