Halloqveen by Qveen Herby
22 Oct 2021
How long did it take me to realise the V in Qveen Herby is pronounced as a U? Too long. Was I therefore also pronouncing the name of her latest EP, Halloqveen, like a moron? Indeed I was. Let's see if I can claw back any of the credibility lost with the rest of the review.
Qveen Herby, if you didn't already know, is not a queen like Latifah. Nor is she a queen like Victoria. She's somewhere in between sitting with a hardback in the window of an artisan coffee shop. That said, as a rapper, she is actually significantly better than you expect her to be.
Halloqveen opens with a tolling bell and a suitably spooky melody. Obitchuary? Abracadabra? Bats in the Belfry? Are we looking at a Halloween themed record? Unfortunately, I think that was the intention here but it has been poorly executed. Some of the lyrical content of the tracks could have been mapped out better to maintain that concept and the production doesn't do enough to play on the theme. A criticism of the subject matter in relation to the theme, however, is not a slur on Herbys actual lyricism. She is clever with her words and has a refreshing flow that feels positively 2003 before trap seeped its way in to mainstream hip hop. I assume Missy Elliot's This Is Not A Test has been stuck in the Herby household's stereo for a number of years.
Love Me and Bats In The Belfry prove she knows how to write a good hook and throughout the album Herby cleverly maintains rhyme patterns within tracks which is greatly appreciated. Thanks to this and a defined song structure we move through the EP smoothly and organically but never losing where we are. If anything about Qveen Herby's rap game gets a little trying it's her lazy overuse of the word Bitch but since overall she is being creative and adventurous with her writing I will let this slide.
The beat production on this EP is where things fall apart a little. The whole experience is very surface level and lacks depth, not only to carry the theme but also to provide a justified backdrop for the Qveen's rapping. There are some good ideas dotted throughout like the intro to Obitchuary which sets the record off with some promise. Other areas though like the off key siren behind Prada Or Nada or anything in the penultimate track Violence feel under worked and like something off a pre career demo.
On the whole this is a smart, fun record with enough lyrical character to allow us to easily forgive any lackluster production. The theme is loose but it doesn't matter. The rhymes are good and the hooks are catchy and what more do you want from a 7 track EP. It's out now so please take a listen and let me know what you think.