Upstate New York is not exactly the first place I would think of when it comes to growing hip-hop scenes. However, that is exactly what Eric Armitage is cultivating. Going by the stage name Generic Tha Character, the young artist has created a movement of other rappers and singers from the Utica area and formed the label and production company, Tha Bakery. When he is not working on the business side of things, he is in the studio pumping out mixtapes. Escape Tha City is Generic’s first official album on the major streaming services.
White rappers have always gotten a lot of heat from the industry, most of the time for the reason that they all sound the same. What feels different from Generic is that, while he doesn’t hide from that stereotype, he seems to be creating his own sound. You start to see hints of this on the tracks “Funk” and “Scenic Route.” Many of his flows just feel distinctly different than how many of the current young rappers rhyme. We often see from this crop of rising artists that lyrics and verses can be corny, talking about drugs or cars or chains, all feeling roughly the same. In “Coffee Shop,” Generic tells the story of two hopeless romantics starting a relationship over a coffee date. His topics are unique to him, clearly coming from personal experiences and emotions. It also helps when any hip-hop artist collabs with other members of their label. CASSIDI hops on the opening track “Keys” to provide an R&B vibe to compliment Generic’s verses and Kyle Partyka joins in for the chorus of “Home” using his rapping persona, Go Go Gadget Pink Packet (seriously, that is a name).
Tha Bakery did the majority of beat production throughout the 9-track album. Each track seems to give a much more laid back feel, nothing is up in your face or overpowering the vocals, which creates this lofi hip-hop sound at times. “Coffee Shop” features a beautiful sounding acoustic piece that is paired nicely with some hi-hats. Everything just feels very relaxed throughout the project, even on the tracks with faster tempos like “Funk” and “Black & White”. It adds a certain vibe and flow to the record that fits it all together.
With that certain vibe, you can’t ignore how well produced this album is. Before Escape Tha City, Generic was putting out many of his mixtapes on SoundCloud. The switch between albums and mixtapes can often be difficult for self-produced rappers, however, the Utica rapper seems to have done it pretty flawlessly. The transitions are smooth, each track sounds like it was mixed by professionals, and, as mentioned before, the album just vibes out really well. I was surprised if I am being honest. Going in, I was expecting a lack in production value, with more focus on Generic’s skills as a rapper or beat developer, however, it’s clear that Tha Bakery is the real deal when it comes to music production services.
“Black & White,” “Happy, Pt. 1,” “Happy, Pt. 2,” and “Rondaxe Run”
It’s pretty obvious to see that Generic is helping curate Utica’s hip-hop sound and culture. Atlanta has trap, New York City has gangsta rap, and California has west coast rap…I am not sure what to classify Utica’s sound as but I sure it will be Generic and his team of artists at Tha Bakery who will be the ones to coin it. With top quality production, solid bars, and good beats Escape Tha City gets a:
I highly recommend you give Generic a listen. Utica is the last place I would expect to find a rapper, but it turns out that Upstate New York may have a bigger hip-hop scene than most give it credit.