Shivastep – ODE TO THA GRIND Review

Shivastep Ode To Tha Grind

If you give Shivastep a chance with either of his EPs, you’ll find yourself initially skeptical…and then it will hit you.

Track Number Records, 2013

9.1 / 10.0

Call me Title Man. I’m always interested in how artists label their work. The Shivastep EP didn’t reveal any of its juices besides the producer’s knowledge of Hindu deities. It was a good thing because I was very surprised by the dark, muddy, suspension rocking trap. Now we have ODE TO THA GRIND, a title that either screams pure gangsta to me, or some ambivalent tongue-in-cheek wink towards hip hop and dirty southern rap that conveys respect alongside the mockery. From what I’ve read of Shivastep’s interviews, I guess the latter. NOW TO THA GRIND!

This release’s title track grinds real fuckin’ hard. Each dirty bass blare feels like it precedes an ass clap. As per Shivastep’s style, the background vocals riding the bassline are interrupted by a softer vibraphone wub. Here, it ripples like a raindrop in a river. Drive down the street with your bass at max and windows down listening to this one. Up next is “ON LIKE THAT”. Its synths that kick in at 2:55 are sexy, to say the least. His masterful juxtaposition of genres is so subtle, and that’s why understanding it is even more gratifying. At first, most of his songs throw me off, but they tease me just enough to introduce the transition into genre-fluctuations; that is his signature skill.

He’s a boss, because he says so on “BOSS”. Its line, “I’m da bawss”, bounces off of syncopated cymbal beats. This track doesn’t really take off like the rest, only showing signs of climax at 2:50, then receding back to the even pace. Most of his tracks end similarly to how they start, but with enough nuance to tell that we’ve gone somewhere. “BOSS” has the most synonymous beginning and end. Girls are likely to start stripping with the following track “GALAXY”. Seriously. This song is sex, and I guess it’s also in space. It oscillates between dirty basement sex after a private lap-dance and a mass dance-floor orgy. If this hasn’t accurately illustrated the song for you, you need to work on your imagination and analogical abilities. Oh, and if you pay close attention, you’ll hear “SUPERBASS,” a track from his first EP, playing background singer.

“BADBITCHZ” is the fastest BPM track on the EP. The slowdown at 1:14 is a nice change of pace, and gets revamped at 2:29 with a Mortal Kombat techno feel. This is the song that gets you off your chair and taking a stab at some fancy footwork. But you probably fail, so sitchyo ass down. Shivastep closes ODE TO THA GRIND with what could be his masterpiece — “BIG”. He made no mistake in naming this song. The Gregorian hums at 1:10 are fucking godlike. Shivastep enjoys slipping some darkness into the mix and that does the trick. What follows is eargasm. This piece’s identity shifts constantly and I love the transformations. Trap to bass attack, then dark lyrics backed by chanting, followed by a breakdown, which then introduces a tip-toe towards a drop, and then…2:28. It hooks me and sinks me. The verbal onslaught at 3:20 just continues into an orchestral climax of awesomeness. This song boosts the EP’s score into the ‘great’ realm and stands as my favorite of 2013 so far.

If you give Shivastep a chance with either EPs, you’ll find yourself initially skeptical…and then it will hit you. But above all, if you don’t give “BIG” a listen, you are a fucking idiot. But seriously. Buy ODE TO THA GRIND, because Shivastep deserves an ode…of green. So he can keep on grindin’.

Listen: “Galaxy”

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