Fully formed and deeply felt, He Left Nothing For The Swim Back is one of the most dynamic and honest hip-hop albums of late, the culmination of a career’s worth of hard work and dedication to pushing the boundaries of what emceeing and producing can be. It’s also a deep trip through the recesses of SKETCH185 and Jeff Markey’s shared consciousness, showing what happens when two artists without musical boundaries communicate with one another and sonically manipulate each other into something more than they perhaps originally intended.
SKECH185 is one of rap’s most furious emcees. His lyrical acrobatics are completely inextricable from his life experiences and as such his music always has an underlying current of genuine grit and honesty. For his part, Jeff Markey may not be a household name, but he is someone who’s made notable contributions to the rap world. While his contributions have been few and far between, they’ve all been notable—he produced the opening track (“Native Sun”) for Armand Hammer’s first mixtape and recently released a fantastic solo album entitled Sport & Leisure.
On He Left Nothing For The Swim, SKECH185’s voice is as sharp as a blade and his ire matches the intensity of Jeff Markey’s production, which manages to perpetually put you on the edge of your seat. Whether serving up stories of growing up in Chicago or poetics on surviving in his current hometown of Brooklyn, SKECH185 rips through Markey’s intricate, abrasive and experimental beats with wiry and surgical precision.
In the end, He Left Nothing For The Swim Back is an album that defies any attempt at categorization and delivers an explosive collaboration that grabs listeners by the collar and never lets go. With it’s mix of deeply personal stories, social commentary and hypnotic beats, SKECH185 and Markey have crafted a masterpiece that will be talked about for years—an uncompromising, in-your-face deluge that may leave you perplexed as to how you can possibly ever listen to another rapper/producer duo again.
Listen/buy: Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify