AfterLyfe Music, 'AfterLyfe Volume 1' | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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AfterLyfe Music, 'AfterLyfe Volume 1'


Published June 26, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

AfterLyfe Music, AfterLyfe Volume 1 - COURTESY
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  • AfterLyfe Music, AfterLyfe Volume 1

(AfterLyfe Music, CD, digital)

Everything in the music business takes longer than expected, but some projects are decades in the making. That's very much the case with AfterLyfe Volume 1, a compilation album that celebrates the long, industrious career of DJ, rapper, producer and VT Union mastermind Nastee. He's been a giant in Vermont's hip-hop scene since the early 2000s, both as a genuine trendsetter and as a mentor to dozens of local artists. He's also been an in-demand mixing engineer since the '90s, running the boards for legends such as Big Pun and Mobb Deep. Along the way, he's racked up 10 platinum plaques and two Grammy nominations.

So when he started AfterLyfe Music, back in the upheaval and confusion that was 2020, it seemed destined to succeed. Few people have Nastee's experience or extended network, and fewer still can match his obsessive work ethic. Four years later, he's fulfilling that promise in dramatic fashion. Fresh off the triumphant release of Boston rapper Termanology's 50th album, Time Is Currency, the AfterLyfe team is back with another stunning piece of work: AfterLyfe Volume 1.

The opening act is perfection. Things kick off with "Afterlyfers," a dark anthem with a powerful performance from Nastee's longtime collaborator Konflik. Leading with such an introspective cut is a clear declaration: Hip-hop — and, by extension, the album — is more than entertainment to them; this is a culture with a code. "Different Time" is a nod to that same proud lineage, uniting New York City rap stalwart Smoke DZA and Juice Crew legend Craig G over some pure '90s boom bap.

It's clear that Nastee is aiming to make noise on a national level. Volume 1 is a lean, relentless statement of purpose featuring a big cast of East Coast heavyweights. Everyone brings their best, but there are some surprising standout performances in the mix, including Philly spitter Scholito ("Ego") and the Connecticut-based tag team of Trey Tuck and Charles Tyson ("We Made It"). Konflik is in peak form throughout, appearing on no fewer than five songs, but his collaboration with New Hampshire rapper Raw Deff on "The Kitchen" is particularly potent.

Nastee has always provided opportunities for Vermont talent, and he spotlights some of the 802's finest here. Charlie Mayne's solo track "The Grapevine" is a soulful, impeccable slice of storytelling rap. Album closer "Star on the Beat" is a posse cut featuring Yung Breeze and Mavstar alongside some serious New England talent.

Since Konflik dropped his Back to Basics LP in 2021, AfterLyfe has built a brand around top-notch hip-hop. AfterLyfe Volume 1 suggests the label is shooting even higher from here — and it's got the firepower to make it happen.

AfterLyfe Volume 1 drops on Friday, July 5, at That same night, you can hear some of the tracks live — and buy an actual CD! — at Rap Night Burlington, located in the basement of Drink.



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