San Quinn - The Rock: Pressure Makes Diamonds
The Rock: Pressure Makes Diamonds
Deal Done Entertainment
Produced by: Sean T, Cozmo, Steve Vicious, Davey-D Cohn, E-A-Ski, Traxamillion, Mac Pacino, Left, Maxwell Smart, Mista Royce, T.B., Box Kev, J-Moe
Featuring: Ya' Boy, E-A-Ski, Big Rich, Seff Tha Gaffla, Hoodstarz, Mike Marshall, Allen Anthony, Selau
San Quinn could have taken the easy route and jumped on the hyphy bandwagon since the prevailing opinion (if you believe the internet) is that hyphy music will be the savior of Bay Area hip hop. Luckily he stuck to his guns (as he did with 2004's I Give You My Word) and delivered a solid album without constantly talking about goin' dumb or scrapin' or :insert played Bay topic here: like way too many other songs in the Bay. It's nice to hear someone stick with what got them where they are, but all the while improving on their formula.
Sean T has a habit of crafting anthemic opening tracks (for example: check "Intro" from Sean's last album, Ain't Playin') and he does it again here for San Quinn with his work on "Frisco Stand Up (Checkmate 2)" featuring Ya' Boy. Recently I've heard people claiming that Quinn doesn't rap as "hard" or "gangsta" as he used to, but his verse on this song alone should silence that noise. Starting off slow and then steadily building towards an aggressive crescendo, Quinn delivers darts the entire way. Ya' Boy follows suit and more than holds his own. I have no idea who Maxwell Smart is, but I need to hear more of his production based on what he came with on "Planet Fillmoe." It was pleasing to hear Seff Tha Gaffla guest on this track as I haven't heard too much from him in recent years. Quinn's life is chronicled on "Look What I've Done For Them" and the combination of Quinn's heartfelt lyrics and Cozmo's soulful production put this song on another level. "Butterfly" was a wildly popular song on Quinn's previous album so he smartly did something for the ladies again this time around. It's called "So Young" and it could easily find a place on the airwaves based on its subject matter and the demographics of urban radio. The backing vocals are done by Mike Marshall who is an exceptional singer which will also help push the song to radio.
"From A Gangsta Like Me" is Quinn at his finest. He portrays street scenes with ease, but rather than just glorifying the lifestyle he's reflecting it with thoughtfulness and actual emotion as he does on numerous cuts on this album. That's hard to come by these days and I feel that San Quinn is one of the best at it. Also it doesn't hurt that Cozmo once again creates a perfect backdrop for Quinn to use. Ya' Boy joins Quinn on "The Hunter" where once again he stands in direct opposition to the argument about him not rapping as "gangster" as he used to. "Holdin' Back These Years," produced by Davey-D Cohn and Box Kev, utilizes a great sample from Simply Red which was a nice choice. I'm glad to see producers diggin' in the crates to find new and different things to incorporate into their creations. With this track Quinn again effectively goes back and exposes his life and the lives of those around him to the listener. When I first saw the tracklisting for this album and read the song title, "Way More Than They Can See," I knew it was going to incorporate George Benson's classic, "Love Ballad." It's a great old song to use as the basis for a rap song. I'm interested in hearing more production from Davey-D Cohn if "Holdin' Back These Years" and "Way More Than They Can See" are any example of what he does on a regular basis. Quinn spits street heat over the course of all three verses and with the production being so solid, this is a strong contender for best song on the the album. Some other standout tracks on The Rock: Pressure Makes Diamonds that deserve mention include "Put My Mind To It," "Kick Yo' Ass" and "That's Beef" featuring Big Rich.
I want to congratulate Quinn and Deal Done for a very high quality release in all aspects. From top to bottom this is a well put together package and you can tell that they went all out. From Quinn's rapping to the top notch production all the way to the very polished and professional packaging from Shemp at Photo Doctor Graphics, this release screams "major label worthy." In a way, I wish that this album had been pushed back until after E-40's upcoming album so Quinn's album could benefit more from the wave of hype that 40 is going to create for Bay Area artists. That being said, I do still feel that The Rock: Pressure Makes Diamonds is many steps forward from San Quinn's previous work and places him in a well-deserved position to bring some shine back to the Bay Area. Like I said in a previous post... 40 will open the door, but it will be San Quinn who becomes the first new nationwide star from the Bay in many years.
I posted it before, but once again here is the video for "Look What I've Done For Them"...