AOTY 2020
Ryan Benis - Goof
May 20, 2020

DISCLAIMER: This review is not self promotion. While I am appreciative of the praise this EP has been getting, and I do give positives to the sound that I am proud of in this EP, I have distanced myself so much from Goof EP since I released it that I honestly feel like I can view this critically without the context of when I recorded it. Another thing this isn't is me putting self importance onto this EP. My score reflects my actual thoughts listening to this EP. This is what I genuinely would have given it if I had heard it with no context. What my goal for this review your reading is to (to an extent) give the insiders look at this EP more in depth, the background of its recordings, and what I feel about the EP months after it's release as a retrospective.

So...lets start at the beginning. What exactly is Goof EP?

Back in the day, I was working on a project called BRONKHAMPTON - SATURATION 4. It was a fan made project trying to make a album through discord. And while I was a part of that project (the project being the first time I genuinely tried to rap), some people said that I had a really nice flow, specifically on the track ASSAULT/BATTERY. And so I decided 'OK well, why don't I make my own EP?'.

And from there...I kind of got side-tracked. I started thinking I wasn't worthy of any type of genuine praise, so as self protest I made a trilogy of extremely mediocre and frankly embarrassing attempts at 'Comedy Rap' mixtapes titled to 'House EPs'. And Jesus Christ, those were so bad that I had to delete a good majority of the tracks off of AOTY and Soundcloud. They were just unfunny and outwardly aggressive, with content I have no interest in nowadays. I hope none of you find those tracks. They were REALLY BAD y'all.

So, after that...moment in time, I had started understanding how to construct the EP I had originally set out to make, making sure to pay attention to the flow and attention to detail lyrically. Now, during this time in my life, I was finishing up high school and basically deciding what I wanted to do with my life. Was I going to continue with music, do my dream of going to film school and becoming a film director, or just hop on the office job train the rest of my family set in stone for me? It was a huge change in my life, and I was honestly scared of change. I wanted things to stay the same.

And with that, as a creative in a utilitarian household, came a period of time where my home life was getting disgustingly toxic. My relationship with my family started to fall apart, my friends were leaving to go on their own journey in life, my depression and anxiety (as some of you may recall) was worse then ever, and while I don't want to dwell too much on this ever on this site or in real life, I was having a lot of s*icid*l moments, tendencies and sadly, actions involving a bridge I seriously don't want to talk about, even if i'm open about it in my music.

Yeah, not good and I seriously don't want to clarify about it if that's alright.

I thought my life was falling apart, and instead of trying to pick up the pieces of what my life was at the point (which I am now starting to do), I thought of just taking a snapshot of this moment in my life in a confused, scary and horrible state of mind and transferring that through the 'comedic' tone I had set up for myself in the 'House EPs'.

And I think in writing this EP, it was very therapeutic. While some songs have less meaning then others (moshpit is literally just a brag rap track y'all. Nothing else to it.), there were others that at the time hit home to me that i'll give a brief overview to.

While some people have thought Nice To Meet about my inability of human connection, it's really me trying to describe myself in a very self destructive, down to my rapping ability and sexuality. I wrote the hook before writing anything on the EP as a mantra to repeat at the start.

Salty was lyrically confronting my relationship with jealousy and self confidence that I was lacking at the time (a topic I wanted to talk about based solely off someone telling me I shouldn't do stand-up, for some reason).

GODDAMN! was me at my most self destructive, just me telling everyone in my life is shit, I wasn't capable of love and that I would truly never be satisfied in my life.

Ice Pack is necessarily a track talking in shockingly blatant terms of my depression, and the want to 'cool down' and go back to a childlike state of mind.

Trashcan/Home was very specifically about my discontent and pure hatred toward suburbia and my family in comparison for my need for things to stay the same.

And Goofin... is basically just me just owning up to the sadness and discontent with my life up to this point and saying 'Fuck it! I'm gonna do well!' and have a boost of confidence in my life, while also referring to every track on the EP.

By the end of the EP, I was so goddamn ready to record this that I forgot about my equipment...which was none. No producers, no audio equipment and just someone I had to mix and master the EP, who I also begged into doing a verse for me for Salty. I had one friend in New Zealand who helped me produce some tracks, but then basically abandoned me with the beat and no stems, making it a fucking asshole to mix. And that was only for one song, so to fully realize the vision, I spent hours upon hours traversing through YouTube 'Type' Beats to place my vocals on.

Yes, really. That's why this was delayed so many times. By the time the thing was out, I was just done with the project. I told myself that if I ever played live, i'd never play any songs of this project.

So, with all of that in mind: what do I feel about the EP now?

Honestly? I'm not a huge fan but understand the appeal.

The verses on this EP and the rapping in general is just really sloppy from my end. The flow, delivery and overall vocal performance only really shines in the hooks of this project and maybe some key verses. I love Willy4m's verse on salty (Jesus, he's the best part of this EP!), the ending verse of GODDAMN! and home has a lot of emotional potency to it, and the ...Goofin verse wraps up the EP up really nicely. But while I like the writing of trashcan/home, the delivery is just too slurred and fast for me at this point in my career to really have the effect I wanted.

Which is the biggest reason why I don't like the recording of these tracks. I like the writing, but it's just really lackluster recording, I can't sing for shit and the verse at the start is just boring as sin to listen to. It's a good EP at heart with clear intentions and ideas, but just not the know-how of how to articulate those points effectively in a track. It's so close to being good but my verses are too slurred, the production on moshpit and ice pack are just too simple, plain and empty for what it's trying to do. I just needed to learn how to rap and choose beats basically.

But if I can toot my own horn: I fucking love the hooks on this EP! Salty's hook is something that I genuinely am super proud of, reminding me a lot of something BROCKHAMPTON would do, and the 'hook' of Trashcan/Home is probably my favorite moment that I made on the EP. If I can give myself any kind of credit or moment of arrogance, it's that the songs are at lest ear-worms to some extent!

Idk. I think that it just needs re-recordings, proper production and just a fixer-upper on the vocal front. Aside from that, I honestly think it's mixed well, has great features and trashcan/home is probably my favorite song i've ever made up to this point! And that's my honest opinion.

If I had to play any songs off of this EP live, definitely Salty and trashcan/home, but probably not much else unless I re-did the beat for moshpit and re-wrote the verses for GODDAMN!, but that's just George Lucusing the project just a touch. It's clear that i'm not all that jazzed with the final outcome, but I do feel like this is the most honest I've been creatively since...well, my next project that I am currently working on right now.

So yeah. That's the skinny of it. Enjoy it if you want, hate it if you do, for me, i'm just gonna go work on something better. Goof EP everyone!

Favorite Jams: trashcan/home, salty, ...Goofin (Outro)

Lest Favorite: moshpit, ice pack
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