Harry Fraud – High Tide
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Record Label: Scion A/V
Over the last few years, Harry Fraud has built up a wide array of production credits. He has worked with Rick Ross, French Montana, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Smoke DZA, Main Attrakionz, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller; the list goes on and on. Fraud's fingerprints can be found in a multitude of sub genres of hip-hop, proving just how versatile the man is. His new EP, High Tide, displays his versatility more than ever before while showing that he's still growing as an artist.
Right out of the gate Fraud pulls a new trick out of his sleeve with a massive distortion guitar riff that opens up the EP on “Rising,” building into a heavy groove that Tech N9ne locks into while spitting his usual tongue-twisting lines. It's a far cry from Fraud's usual smoked out and hazy sound, but it works incredibly well and is a testament to his willingness to try new things. The following song, “Loopy,” is more along the lines of a typical Fraud beat, and frequent collaborators Smoke DZA and Chinx Drugs feel right at home on top of the bouncing synth line and jittery hi-hats. Harry Fraud has a tendency to bring out the best in his collaborators, and the songs on High Tide are a perfect example of this.
Fraud's use of samples is surprisingly minimal here; there doesn't seem to be a single recognizable sample in sight on this EP. Despite that being something of a staple in the Harry Fraud sound, he picks sounds throughout that are still interesting and grab the listener. “Tell Em Bout It,” possibly the best beat here, is rather minimal. It contains just a few simple synth lines over a drum pattern, but his arrangement and sense of rhythm, as well as an instantly catchy chorus, makes it a stand out.
Unlike Adrift, Fraud's mixtape from earlier this year, High Tide isn't bogged down by multiple poor guest spots. Sure, High Tide has significantly less tracks, but there's really only guest spot out of the nine that falls completely flat. I'm not sure who keeps telling French Montana it's okay for him to do hooks, but somebody needs to tell the guy that “Stay Schemin'” was a fluke. He can't hit a note to save his life and the only things stopping “Mean” from being unlistenable are a unique beat and a great Action Bronson verse.
The real attention grabber on the EP is going to be “Yacht Lash,” as it contains guest spots from Earl Sweatshirt and Riff Raff, two rappers that a lot of people often gravitate toward. Both of them do a fine job over the disorienting beat (with Earl obviously offering the superior verse), but their styles don't necessarily mesh all that well on the same song. Still, that's just a small gripe on an otherwise fantastic track.
High Tide is a perfect snapshot of who Harry Fraud is as a beat maker right now. He works with a variety of rappers and styles, but he can easily mesh with whoever he needs to. Not only that, but Fraud is showing signs of an artist still growing, hinting that we've yet to see his best. That's probably a true, and given the people he's working with these days (like Earl Sweatshirt), we better hope the best is yet to come. At this point, it would be safe to say that Harry Fraud is one of the most exciting beat makers in hip-hop right now.