Coming in with a smooth intro, as if you need a moment to prepare for whats about to drop. Demo Ramirez & SaveOne come together to create nothing but hits on their collaborative album MERCILESS, going back to back on 10 tracks and a few instrumentals. Set up like an audio movie, it has its highs and lows, introspective and hype lyricism, and even skits to really settle the vibe. Having been in the game for a minute, they have perfected their message and delivery.
To understand their message, you have to know where these two minds come from, right here in the city of Chicago, where life travels in many degrees. Drawn to Hip Hop by their environments, Demo, who gets his name from the Greek word demoz, or “for the people,” got into graffiti at the age of 8, which goes hand in hand with Hip Hop culture more or less. Started rapping at 10, performing live at 13, and pumping out albums by 18, this artist is his own influence, making moves straight from the get go. He has earned and maintained the title, the Future of the Bario, for a reason; his ambition taking him as far as opening up for Wu Tang Clan‘s Raekwon.
SaveOne performing as early as 2014 has some respect & recognition from the hip hop community. Frequenting the mecca of hip hop in Chicago’s underground, Subterranean, to bust out some freestyle chops. With releases going back 5 years, collaborating with local artists like Dreamtek & Doomsday, he also brings another talent aside from his lyricism. He figured if he can kill it on the mic, he can kill it on production, SaveOne exercising both of his talents on MERCILESS with Demo.
Preparing the listener with a instrumental to start, because VINTAGE comes in hot. Demo fires in, and true to his Mexicano heritage, ties in some Spanish for some extra spice, going back to back with SaveOne boasting braggadocios lyricism. They go even further with NO FEAR, “What makes you think that I fear you? I can hear your heart pumping everytime I get near you. It won’t take much to disappear you…” Followed by SaveOne describing his street wisdom, “My pops taught how to run the streets and be a felon, the number one rule in the game is don’t be tellin‘.” This is even followed up by a skit, an altercation ending up in shots fired, a real audio metaphor for the savage aura of this LP.
Creeping back in with over the piano without hesitation, “Fuck is wrong with me? The Fuck is wrong with you? We can cook up the beef what the fuck you wanna do, ni**a I got gunners too…” The lyrics actually get more merciless from there, to really capture the energy of SHIT IS REAL, you have to listen and immerse yourself in that beat produced by SaveOne; also producing JUST RHYME, the 13th track. A turning point for the LP as it climaxes into its title track MERCILESS, a collaboration with Aliaz UnknoN beautifully harmonizing for the track.
Getting into the more introspective and melodic tracks, boasting lyrics like, “How the fuck can we love built on survival, lookin for whats next, has got us all suicidal, following these false idols, ignoring whats in the bible, we’re reaching out for revivals in a world that’s homicidal.” NIGHTMARES is a favorite, for its amazing acoustic instrumental and its deep thinking lyricism. Giving you another breather before getting into deeper retrospection on EVERYTHING I’VE EVER KNOWN, singing in the chorus “This is all I ever wanted to be, since a kid the microphone has been haunting my dreams, and as exhaustin’ it seems, I’m still caught in a scene, trying to make it out the basement with a thought and scheme“
Altogether, the album is meant to be listened to continuously in order, but each song can still be picked off individually. Listening to it in its entirety feels like you have experienced a movie. The efforts that put this masterpiece together are credit to not just SaveOne & Demo, but the talented collaborating artists Emcee Prototype, Brown Lucci, Juan Zarate and Aliaz UnknoN. Of course you cannot forget the quality created behind the scenes with production by BugNBeats, aside from the two SaveOne tracks, and having the project recorded at Beetle Studios. This LP is definitely a standout project for 2020.