HighRoller DP & LV Jon: “Joint Effort” – sprawling epics in their own right

HighRoller DP & LV Jon’s flow is direct and intense, a sort of unraveling that feels urgent and precise. It puts the HighRoller Gang in a position where their words carry a fantastic amount of weight to them, pushing them up to the forefront of the equally boisterous productions. The songs on the “Joint Effort” mixtape don’t always sound like just hip-hop songs; they’re more than that, sprawling epics in their own right. HighRoller DP & LV Jon always retain their passion for the possibilities of drum loops, but have grown increasingly attracted to rich soundscapes and bold instrumentation, too. The booming but intricate opener, “STFU”, immediately stamps the album as ambitious, all knocking drums and spacey synth lines. “High Rollers”, “Different” and “2:30 AM” form a 3-track stretch that showcases the HighRoller Gang’s all-round versatility.

“Phone” bursts out of a slow-burning beat and a lazy stoner flow, while “You Can’t Get That” bumps with a head-nodding pulse, giving it a bright musical glow. HighRoller DP & LV Jon consistently match the liveliness of the instrumentals, filling their verses with explicit detail and heart. But what really completes the mixtape, is the fact that even in spite of each song’s style, the HighRoller Gang still manage to get you lost in the music.

No matter how calm, mellow or energetic they seem, you still feel like you’re inside these smoke and pussy-filled stories. There’s just something about the way HighRoller DP & LV Jon raps that gives them a bit of a storyteller quality.

While the lyrics are fairly straightforward, the weed-filled nature of this album is the real highlight. At face value a listener could absorb most of the detail. But the listener is also rewarded for digging deeper into the mixtape, I’m convinced that there are many underlying messages, ideas, a sort of ‘unheard side’ to this mixtape as pretentious as it sounds, it may just be myself over-reaching for meaning but it is hard to resist the HighRoller Gang endearing stories and convincing atmospheres.

A large part of my conspiracy theory is derived from the beats; they are a true highlight of the album, featuring an impressive and restrained diversity of beats that are lush but minimal, allowing the soundscapes to play a large role in the actual telling of the stories. They are at their best on “Let’s Roll”, “Nose Bleed”, “Sunni” and “Get Some”.

The beats on this mixtape, made up of a lot of tapping, charismatic drums and whirling synths can only be described as natural. It is odd to call the beats natural on this recording because of the sheer diversity found throughout the songs. But the beats feel really powerful because they aren’t simply just a backing for the vocals but rather they become part of the story, building along with the songs.

“Joint Effort” is a very stubborn mixtape, it forces you to pay close attention to detail and the narratives to get the full scope, but it also leaves a lot up to the imagination. For all I know half of my theories about this recording are completely wrong, but I think that’s okay because “Joint Effort”  after all is all about over contemplating things we have no control over when we’re totally lit.

With the suggestive title and album cover, listeners could expect the album to inherit a congruent stoner theme musically; they would be right to assume so. HighRoller DP & LV Jon have the hunger of artists ready to take on the world with captivating, innovative musical creations, and they harnessed that drive and passion in creating “Joint Effort”.


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