Closed Sessions — Our Latest Compilation

Will Schube gives us a look at the BoatHouse-starring comp.
By    February 21, 2020

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Will Schube had the craziest All-Star Weekend fit.

The aptly titled Our Latest Compilation from Chicago indie rap staple Closed Sessions is ostensibly fulfilling the goal of its title, but it’s really a showcase for the versatility of the label’s rising artist, BoatHouse. Featuring a bevy of emcees of different talent and success levels, the thing holding the project together―it’s heartbeat, really―is the hometown producer made good, threading the project with beats that move from lush to minimalistic to boom-bap inspired to emo-inflicted and back again.  A label’s job is to spot talent and then put that talent in the best position to succeed, which is exactly what they’ve done with BoatHouse.

The rap features range from competent to stellar, but the versatility in voices presented allows BoatHouse to be the only singular object of desire.

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The first track (and the comp’s first single) is the Mike Eagle-led “Whiskey & Push-Ups.” It’s a great song. I wrote about it for this very site before. You don’t succeed as an indie rap label unless you’re exceedingly smart. Mike Eagle is a safe bet to get ears towards your compilation, and algorithms-pending, towards lesser known artists. That’s exactly what has happened with “Whiskey.” Mike is an unimpeachable star, immediately giving the tape a level of power and gravitas the younger artists are unable to provide. 

Kemba spits over trap horns and narcotized synths on “Lord Knows.” He peddles in the half-rap/half-sung flow Mike Eagle’s become a sensation with, fitting nicely into the album with a catchy chorus that lingers past the track’s runtime. The song’s lean-induced outro gives the track a variety that would otherwise be missed, perhaps another example of BoatHouse’s intuitive approach to production. With so many producers honing in on a specific sound and repeating it into oblivion, it’s refreshing to listen to a beatmaker like BoatHouse, who tailors his aesthetic to the emcees he’s working with. It reminds me of the Kenny Beats school of production, but BoatHouse seems more interested in asserting his style into the music. It’s the most exciting part of Our Latest Compilation, and that’s exactly as it should be.

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