Hex One’s Words Worth A Thousand Pictures is a smoky time capsule back to 1995.
His second full-length album - and his first since 2014’s Hologramz - evolves the boom-bap sound he explored on his first record, which had him paired with producer 5th Element. Words Worth A Thousand Pictures features a darker, more low-passed production style than his last effort, on which chopped-up soul records were the basis for most of the production. The new style is undeniably more minimalistic, and leaves more space for Hex’s always-dense lyrics to shine, especially since there are very few features on the project. It’s a powerful choice of aesthetic, and it elevates this project above his previous work.
The sample selection - handled by a range of producers including Devaloop, KLIM Beats, and Type Raw - is nothing but quality. Lush rhodes keyboards, moody piano riffs, and wailing saxophone lines creep in and out of the mixes in each song, and the drums are sourced from a range of rare and punchy breaks. As far as vocal samples, the album draws from a range of mid-90’s classics, including The Pharcyde’s “Runnin” on “Where I’ll Go”, Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” on “Leave it All Behind”, and Channel Live & KRS-One’s “Mad Izm” on “Peep the Steeze”. Mixed with the hazy sample sources, these nostalgic vocal chops help to really immerse listeners in the throwback sound.
The genre of hip-hop is currently evolving in a myriad of directions, but Hex shows that no matter what, it never hurts to go “Back to the Boom”. This one deserves a listen.