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Finale: A Pipe Dream and A Promise


Detroit hip hop is something, ain’t it? Seriously, how much great music have they brought out in the last 3-4 years? No longer is New York the hot spot for great lyricism and production, the D is holding down its own purpose and maintains a heavy focus that might be jaded from in the Big Apple. Fresh from the Motor City comes Finale, a relative unknown to most, but the skill and lyricism of a savvy veteran that will surely make him a mainstay in hip hop. A Pipe Dream and a Promise is his latest craft, and on this project he brings along a handful of Michigan producers (Dilla, Black Milk, Ta’raach, and Wajeed) while bouncing in some quality hip hop music in the process.

The fascination with Finale began with the ultra-unique production by Black Milk on “One Man Show,” and Finale’s mellow, soft spoken tone. There’s a hunger and vision that Finale evidently shows as he fights off an otherwise overpowering beat. Black continues his hot stream with “Motor Music,” a headringer that has a goal of striving home the point that this is indeed Detroit hip hop; carefully constructed like it was done by the assembly line that the beloved state of Michigan pioneered.

Look to the Dilla connection on “Heat” to see that Common isn’t the only one who can rock over a Jay Dee song of that title. Finale seems to keep his best for this, and his passion, excitement, and ferocity is all over it. Dilla would be proud and honoured, especially after hearing how Finale pays homage to him over Flying Lotus’ sampling of Gap Mangione, as Dilla did for “Fall N Love.” Not to be outdone by the fury of Michigan producers, M-Phazes comes from Down Under and delivers a gem of Chipmunk soul on “What You Mean to Me,” a joint Finale claims is one of “the realest songs [he] ever wrote.” He isn’t lying, the track is deep.

It’s hard to speak negatively about the production, because there really isn’t a bad beat on this 15 track album. Not to say that Finale couldn’t survive without it, because he could. Evidently, on “Issues,” Finale speaks about the difficulty of putting his skills on display during a rough time in hip hop. He turns a laid back guitar riff on Kev Brown‘s “Style” into a jolt of energy and even gets militant with his microphone on the Nottz produced “Jumper Cables.”

To get nitpicky, there are conversations on the album that discuss the title, A Pipe Dream and a Promise. While the extra effort is much appreciated, these drops kill the momentum of the album. It also slams home a point that Finale states lyrically on just about every track anyways. Once again, that’s being picky, but it’s a falter that can easily kill the flow of 3-4 tracks that would otherwise string effortlessly together.

Aside from this hiccup, APDAAP is pretty solid throughout. Production is impressive (including Waajeed’s beautifully used “Shiieeet” by The Wire’s Senator Davis) and the lyrical meshing to the beats given is even more sublime. The problem is I don’t think Finale needed 15 tracks to get his point across. This certainly raises the bar for his next LP, but after this, I couldn’t be more excited to hear something from him.


Standout Tracks:


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“One Man Show”

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“Brother’s Keeper”

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About Sean Deez

  • specialk

    Deez, your review is spot on. This album just came out of nowhere for me and it is already one of the top 3 albums released in 09′ for me. Great review as always.

  • ross burrell

    Finale represents the Big D. it’s amazing how much disrespect the dirty D gets. To this day most people only associate detriot with Eminem. Everyone else just lumps on theJ. Dilla band wagon, without understanding that detriot’s music scene has grown alot just within the past few years. J.Dilla and Slum Village opened up my eyes to what else was in store.

  • Tictoc

    I love the D I listened to dilla and everyone he worked with, and it really got me into sampling, hip hop and production. The dirty bassy drum beats are just so niceee, and there are some of the best rappers in the world there (like royce, and Elzhi) Now with Black Milk, (one of my favorite producers) on the beat I wanna hear a lot more from detroit.

  • Tictoc

    This album sounds really good I have to cop it

  • EOM

    hmm…i’m not too happy with this one. the beats knock but Finale’s voice can get pretty boring at times.

    but very nice review. you need to review that Diamond District. both albums are tight but i feel that Diamond District runs circles around Finale’s debut.

    [he comes clean on the album, finale does. i don't want people to think i'm saying he is wack.]

  • Ten Inch Tim

    Deez, thanks for puttin’ me on to this one homie. I would’ve been mad if I went the whole year and not heard this album. I somewhat agree with EOM about dudes voice. His voice did throw me a little at first, but it’s gotten better with a few more listens. He’s dope, and this is absolutely a great debut album. I’ll be bump Pipe Dream for a good long while.

  • Sean Deez

    yeah, I got over the voice didn’t really think it was that bad later on. Found it quite soothing and powerful on some tracks

  • Thomas

    A 90? Have to see what the fuss is about.

  • Sean Deez

    get the 90 while it’s hot Thomas

    these don’t come along much for me, or any of the reviewers on this site

  • J Fizz

    shit sounds ill as fuck….after i heard the dilla beat than the black milk i knew this shit was over.

  • Tim

    where can I cop it??

  • Sean Deez

    Tim, should be on Itunes. If not, you could probably cop it from any of the stores near you, just might need to order it

  • midwizz

    i cant really agree with what your sayin about his voice, i think its pretty engaging and unique.

    great album!

  • Arasia

    Best album I’ve heard all year.

  • Thomas

    This album is still fresh. This might be my favorite album this year. Arasia might be on to something. His voice takes some getting use to, but you get over that quick. My only issue (small one tho) is he seems to “try to rap to hard.” You know how someone makes that “voice” when trying to prove a point? That’s what he sounds like at times.

    However, that is a small issue with me. Flames from front to back.

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