by Alex P80 Parks
On Crystal Pianos, DNTE (1/2 of Toronto rap duo Falcon Crest) drops his polished solo album full of varied production from top-notch beat makers. Symbolic of grand opulence, a crystal piano is one of the most priceless and renowned musical instruments, with only a few in existence. Fitting that DNTE spared no expense to craft this glossy album which included having a large painting commissioned to use as the cover art. DNTE blends tales of drug pushing with flashy imagery and descriptions of financial aspirations.
The Intifada Beats-produced track “The Plaza System” feat Wyze Wonda opens the album with a darker glimpse into DNTE’s world, while the self-produced “MK Ultra” sports a droning piano, slightly out of tune, with reggae hook to complete the hazy vibe. Check the video for “MK Ultra” here:
On tracks like “Symphony” feat Wyze Wonda, producer DrkTheLegend layers synths, a full orchestral sample and a slick sample of Ghostface’s “Wildflower” on a robust beat for DNTE to talk his shit. Statik Selektah puts down elegant flutes and skittering percussion on “Boeing Carrera” feat Adichi evoking a luxurious feel in the beats. Throughout the album DNTE stays heavy on the references with lines like:
“Victor Newman’s with the vests
Paintings on my wall like my wall is playing Tetris”
Futurewave shows his first class production on “Rhinoceros Horn” feat SullyNomad. With his relaxed yet focused flow, PenClemente bodies his verse, while DNTE comes in to clean up over crisp drums and tumbling piano notes. “Moschino” feat Wyze Wonda is an uptempo joint with bouncing synth bass and slight piano riffs. Wyze and DNTE seem to play well against one another with Wyze’s aggressive flow and DNTE’s relaxed smooth delivery. The duo of FalconCrest unite on “Washing Machine,” as Falcon Outlaw drops by on this Pastor Wesley beat with a lush feel, juxtaposed against the criminal endeavors of money laundering.
Embodying a large heist with grand orchestration on a loop courtesy of Dirty Diggs, “Diamond Panther Bracelet” feat Billie Esco provides vivid descriptions of living the lavish life. “Once Upon a Time” produced by Camoflauge Monk is a dope mix of a piano slide and creeping subtle horns. DNTE provides plenty of magical references, while name-dropping virtually every fairy tale character imaginable on this concept record.
A slight speed bump on the ride, “Winston Cocktail” seems out of place both sonically and lyrically as it plays like a dancehall beat. DNTE falls into some cliche territory here with superficial rhymes about money, women, pushing drugs and blowing big smoke. While those topics play well enough otherwise on the LP, the track exposes those trite lyrics on an off-course beat.
More big features contribute to the quality finish of the project as fellow Toronto natives Daniel Son, Saipher Soze and DNTE’s partner in crime, FalconOutlaw connect on “Drop Acid” produced by Nicholas Craven.
Standout tracks like “Goldvish LeMillion” feat yet another T.O. emcee, Lord Juco, who lends his bars. DrkTheLegend flips Johnny Pearson’s “Crisis” sample slightly different from Sebb’s Infamous Mobb version, but creates an enjoyable beat, regardless.
On Crystal Pianos, DNTE adheres to a sonically cohesive vibe, with a high contrast between the extravagance in much of the production and the visceral street imagery. Excellent beat choices and elite features uphold the production value of this album as well. A solid project with only a couple low points, this album shows the depth of talent in Toronto from the FalconCrest duo.
cop the album here:
The album is available everywhere to stream including iTunes: