Chemistry is the key to being successful for anything in life. While many artists opt for the solo approach, they still need to have chemistry with other artists they have featured on their songs and producers who make their beats. Finding another artist that you click with from the beginning isn’t an easy process. We hold duos to a high standard thanks to the timeless music we’ve received from Gangstarr, Mobb Deep, Outkast, UGK, 8Ball & MJG, and more. Many fans of the Hip-Hop genre have fallen in love with Killer Mike & El-P as a result of this. Run The Jewels is fantastic and have excellent chemistry but many Hip-Hop fans have been sleeping on a duo that has an even better dynamic: Don Trip & Starlito a.k.a. Step Brothers.
2011 is the official inception of Step Brothers as Trip and Lito teamed up for a mixtape that took listeners by surprise. The way they created that mixtape was the audio version of a 2-on-1 fast break. Trip would lob a verse for Starlito to slam home only for Star to flip the verse behind his back for Trip to lay it in. Six years later, the duo have perfected their fast break rhymes and showmanship to go for the three peat on Step Brothers Three.
Things haven’t changed much between the two as Trip and Starlito kick off the project with ‘Yeah 5x’, a record that serves as pre-game warmup. The Brothers take turns kicking clever wordplay while thumping bass cuts through your ears. What sounds like an exercise is really a record that has deeper meaning; Lito mentions the harsh life he lived growing up while Trip recounts a time where he would rather die than to let you take his stash. Everything comes full circle as Lito raps, ‘you can see the pain all in my eyes cause I don’t cry much.’ The basketball metaphors for this review were inspired by ‘Boomshakalaka’, another record that has Lito and Trip running the two man weave with punchlines galore.
“Pistol on me like I’m Pete Maravich, shooter like I’m Stojakovic, you would think I’d play for Gregg Poppovich/moral of the story, you ain’t robbin’ s**t” – Starlito on ’Boomshakalaka’
You have to applaud Trip and Starlito on how well they work together. It’s been reported they only work on songs while they’re in the studio with each other; no emailing or sending songs at all. You can feel this chemistry throughout the project but it’s exceptionally noticeable on the storytelling records such as ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’. As they did on Step Brothers 2 with ‘Caesar & Brutus’, they go into detail on a subject that will hit home for many people. ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’ examines two sides of the police force as “Craig” is a black officer and “Bart” is a racist white officer. I won’t spoil this for you but the way they blend the story together feels cinematic and could easily be adapted to a Hollywood film at some point.
In the past the duo have used guest features but this album is feature free with the exception of singer Robin Raynelle on ‘No Rearview 3’. Step Brothers 3 shifts moods every three-four songs, a move that is commendable and shows Trip and Lito have been working on album structure to give us something different for the third installment of this excellent series of music. The beginning of the album is designed for those fans who love punchlines and fun bars. This transitions into more storytelling for the second quarter of the album before Trip and Starlito show a more emotional and vulnerable side for the final act. If Step Brothers 3 were a basketball game it would start out with the razzle dazzle we love before ending with a game winning three-pointer for your favorite team. You can’t win a championship without chemistry and this is why Don Trip & Starlito have secured the three-peat in the form of Step Brothers 3.
Repeatable: “Yeah 5x”, “Good Cop, Bad Cop”, “25th Song”, “Remember”
By Joe Coad