Razor Tongue Media

Bruce Leroy Strikes Gold On New EP Minerals

Cover for Bruce Leroy EP "Minerals" shows a classroom of high school aged teens in a class room.

It’s always nice when an artist can send you down rabbit holes with their art. I enjoy the feeling. The illustrious Minerals EP by Bruce Leroy is definitely a shining example of a project that can do so. Within a short run time of just over 23 minutes spanning 6 tracks, it is able to deliver quality narratives and is jam-packed with enough references and proficient wordplay to make the replay value skyrocket.

The simplicity of the aesthetics is deceivingly mirrored in the audio. The cover follows a simple, clean design scheme with neutral colors. Audio-wise, each track is pristine and clear. Mr. Leroy goes on to show technical acrobatics, especially on tracks like “Pay Me”, and takes on the challenge of delivering blunt narratives on cuts like the previously released “4 AM”, beckoning listeners with the crisp delivery he is known for. Production does play a role in this, which I will discuss later, but I thought this was noteworthy of the project, and I think that it is necessary for a project with bars that you need to think about.

While the simplicity of the sounds make for a pleasant timbre, the content is where this project really begins to shine. There is a plethora of references, multiple entendres, and witty one-liners. While reading through the aspects I do decide to highlight, keep in mind that to experience these moments in their full glory, you must listen to them on your own. That being said, aside from the obvious movie reference of (Stanley) Kubrick on the song with that title, there are movie references sewn into pretty much every track. From other movie titles to subtle references of particular actors/actresses, these were done with tons of flavor, as well as wittiness to ensure that the line satiated the setup.

Mr. Leroy, in fact, sort of gives us a disclaimer in the hook of the intro track “Cuban Link (Minerals)” with the nod to ‘silver screen & centerfolds‘. Another clever bit arrives in “4 A.M.”. In the track, Mr. Leroy relates a story of a night involving a female character in the narrative. Describing her, he says ‘Sittin’ in the 6 with insomnia like Meg Ryan‘, a reference to Sleepless in Seattle. This is conjoined with the fact that the narrative tracks on the project all play out like a cinematic piece, like the aforementioned “4 A.M.”. You can sit there and see the image that Mr. Leroy builds bar by bar while juggling the tone and mood of the piece. It’s almost like he is directing a film of his own: setting scenes and capturing pockets of emotion within anecdotes.

The references don’t end at movies, however. He also directs our attention to numerous musicians and artists like Salvador Dali on “Pay Me” and Freddie Mercury and Inspectah Deck on “Queen’s Gambit”. He makes a clever reference to Soundgarden on “Deja Vu” by saying ‘We was in Seattle like Black Hole Sun’. “Black Hole Sun” was Soundgarden’s biggest single, the track named after the sculpture out in Volunteer Park. Another notable reference that was sort of forecasting current events was the line in “Kubrick” where he says ‘Gold medal; light the tree with the Olympic torch‘. While I’m pretty sure it was a minor reference to Michael Phelps, with the recent events of Sha’Carri Richardson and weed, this line takes on more relevance. Keep in mind that while Minerals was released on June 11, 2021, Mr. Leroy dropped “Kubrick” as a single two years prior to that on June 3, 2019. Insert mind-blown meme here.

Another aspect I’d like to touch on is the guest choices on the project. Production-wise, local legend TrussOne takes the reins and doesn’t disappoint. His sample choices (I’m pretty sure I heard some Frank Dukes in the mix; good luck trying to pinpoint the sample) and the choices of chops he creates within those samples are ingenious. He doesn’t overproduce, which compliments the simplicity that I brought up at the beginning of the article. His beats work in harmony with Mr. Leroy and that is the best symbiotic relationship you can ask for between a producer and an artist. A prime example of this is within the track “Pay Me”, where there is a moment that Mr. Leroy makes a reference to magic mushrooms. The beat halftimes and almost gives the track a ‘whoosh’ effect. With the combination of the distorted adlibs, it made for a cool moment that had context within the track and project.

I need to also point out the scarce number of guests. This made it so that each feature was impactful and made for interesting contrast or perspective. Phinisey, also a local legend, blesses the tracks with his vocals, but once again, simplicity seems to be the gorilla glue that holds this all together, as he is mostly backing vocals or creating a melody with lines that need emphasis. Porter Ray’s verse on “4 A.M.” gave the track texture, as Mr. Leroy and Mr. Ray’s vocal tones are vastly different. It also made for a different perspective on the subject matter of the song, as well as different styles of wordplay, which worked out well with this particular track.

I want to hear more from everyone involved with this project. I’d definitely recommend, once again, that you give Minerals a listen if you haven’t already. I am looking forward to what Bruce Leroy has slated next on releases, though I am sure I am still going to be finding rabbit holes to get lost into with this current project. And there is nothing wrong with that.

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