Five Steez is an emcee from Kingston, Jamaica who has been releasing music for over a decade now. In that time, he’s made collaborative projects with the likes of Mordecai, J-Zen, and SonoTWS, just to name a few. In 2020, he teamed up with Nomad Carlos and The Sickest Drama as The Council of the Gods to release an album called Trilogy. That album featured production from Sawandi, Time Cow, and a producer from Montreal named Son Raw. Now Five Steez and Son Raw have paired up to make a new album, Re:DEFined.

If you’ve spent the time with Five Steez over the years, you know that despite being from Jamaica, he’s not making hip hop that leans heavily on dancehall, dub, reggae, or anything else you might typically think of when you think about music from the island. Instead, he mainly focuses on East Cost boom bap as his preferred style of hip hop. What makes Re:DEFined especially interesting in this regard is that in working with Son Raw, the two investigate this a little bit further than previous projects. This might mean some subtle sample flips from Son Raw that work to bridge the gap between these Jamaican music styles and that classic boom bap, demonstrating how the genres are closer together than you might realize. There is also the ways in which Steez takes to the mic to talk about the direct Caribbean heritage of early hip hop in New York, and how he sees himself in lineage and in dialogue with those artists. This is all very interesting, but it’s also only one piece of the puzzle. Looking at the larger picture of the album, you have two artists with established chemistry further exploring their sound together, and it works out really well. Steez is a veteran emcee at this point, and when he’s comfortable and in the zone like he is with Son Raw’s production, he can deliver on multiple fronts, taking you through a well-rounded journey through politics, romance, hip hop culture, spirituality, and more. Son Raw is right there with Steez, delivering these beats that are easily accessible, but also nuanced and with a lot of musical depth that you can keep noticing all of these gems spread throughout the album with each listen.

Re:DEFined is exactly the album you want out of Five Steez and Son Raw. It bumps, it’s fun to listen to, there is great chemistry between the artists, and there’s a lot of musical and lyrical depth.