Cochise – The Inspection: Review

Hyperactive and jubilant, Florida rapper Cochise can deliver encapsulating performances filled with bravado and slight corniness, especially over trancey hip-hop productions that expand his space. As evident from his album, Benbow Crescent, Cochise has shown us the influence of the enigmatic and erratically vibrant flows from artists like Playboi Carti; the only difference between the two is that Cochise focuses on spacey, more culturally pertinent styles. He’s crossed genre borders, bringing sonic influence from sounds he’s grown with, which isn’t as new or nuanced in hip-hop. However, It’s still vibrant as he creates some great bangers, displaying that despite not having the strongest bars in hip-hop, he’s still capable of making consistently fantastic work. It continues to be evident with his follow-up, The Inspection. It has solid production emulating from its array of percussion styles, and Cochise brings the energy emulating into a fun listen, albeit the drawbacks.

Benbow Crescent opened the floodgates. We begin to hear some dancehall-reggae percussion patterns, allowing Cochise to hone in on his ability to switch up flows. It laid the groundwork for what to expect through his vocal and lyrical side of the music. He glides through productions with ease, making way for one of the strengths of this style and allowing the energy to consume you profusely. It’s a style that isn’t for everyone; it’s constructed through the lens of a songwriter instead of an emcee. And that’s okay, as the emcee style can be equally derivative, but there is something to Cochise’s high-pitch stop-n-go that gives it a different palette. It’s especially the case on his new album, The Inspection, overlaying some introspection and flexes as Cochise raps over some crisp pianos and shifting drum patterns. 

Playboi Carti gives us headbanging, mosh-inducing chaos that has us, as some would say, die-lit. Cochise is luminously captivating, using the high pitch to counteract the nihilism of his peers, like Carti and Trippie Redd. In some ways, it’s a parallel to the cloud-melancholic-centric subgenre of hip-hop but within the realm of trap music. The only difference is that Cochise isn’t coming across burned out or stoned. Instead, he brings the energy and flows through beats that dance with unique sequences. Throughout The Inspection, Cochise continues to surround himself with varying production styles created by himself, 808iden, Harold Harper, Nonbruh, Paradyse, and Ransom (Producer), to name a few. It offers enough to have a consistent flow, but lyrically, Cochise can get stunted; some verses bleed too closely to the sounds, and what’s left are his enigmatic choruses and quirky anime references.

“I’m no longer trying to be an artist; I’m trying to be a trumpet on the beat and solo for two minutes. We’re reaching a whole different frequency with the music and production. It isn’t just about lyrics. It’s about the cadence of the sound. It’s about how your voice alternates. It’s about how the beat is dancing up and down.” 

– Cochise

Taking into account that quote, it’s evident in the subtle fun had in the song’s creation. From the pertinent flows in tracks like “Hunt” feat. Chief Keef and “Don’t Run,” which contains bleaker production contrasting the emotional cadence of the strings and jubilant flow on “Finally.” They acquiesce within the big picture–i.e. front-to-back listens. Cochise’s flows make it feel a part of the production, rounding out how he wants us to vibe with music. There are certified bangers like “Megaman,” “Halo,” and “Do It Again,” which illuminates his tenacity to shift from these more crisp headbangers to more introspectively driven “Finally.” There is a lot to take from them, specifically the grooves created. However, he isn’t at his peak. Having your voice get too entwined with the production makes way for some tracks to become forgettable. “Nice” feat. Yung Nudy and “Jet Flex” don’t offer enough to entice return, as they emulate these weak conventions in trap music and become feeble versions of tracks made better by artists like Future and Lil Yachty.

Cochise understands the most important thing about hip-hop as a genre, identity. There are a lot of great qualities in his craft. He shifts the parameters of what one is to expect from this style, specifically when comparing and contrasting with his contemporaries. He gives this style some light while maintaining composure and exploring techniques akin to others, like “Hunt” with Chief Keef, a certified banger. The Inspection carries some repeatability, even if it isn’t all there. There are high hopes for Cochise as he continues his journey, especially as he is now apart of XXL Magazine’s Freshman Class of 2022.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

The Inspection – Out June 24th, 2022 via Columbia Records.

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