I’ll admit it. I couldn’t quite take Sadistik seriously at first. With a name that sounds like a bad Linkin Park knockoff, and an album cover like something out of mid-2000’s Evanescence, I was skeptical. But once I moved past my skepticism and actually listened to his album Flowers for My Father I was impressed with Sadistik’s emotive style of rapping.
Sadistik is an alternative rapper in the vein of rappers like Atmosphere, Grieves and Cage, a unique tradition in many ways apart from the rest of hip hop. This isn’t a run of the mill hip hop album, and that is both a good thing, and a bad one.
Sadistik is clearly influenced by his forebearers and his rapping style and content reflect that. He goes for the same mix of rap and spoken work as others such as Macklemore, and lacks tight rhythmic flow often that is characteristic of many other rappers. While many will likely use this as a critique of Sadistik and his peers, I believe it is simply a matter of stylistic choice rather than artistic failing. Lyrically, Sadistik is heavily defined by his life struggles. The title of Flowers for My Father is telling, as much of the album is defined by the death of Sadistik’s father, and the crippling depression that ensued for Sadistik. But despite these very dark notes, particularly on songs like “Snow White”, “The Beast” or “Melancholia”, Sadistik manages to wax inspirational on a number of tracks. Particularly touching is the tribute to his friend, rapper Eyedea who passed away several years ago, on the track “Michael”. Sadistik narrates knocking on Eyedea’s door ready to record a song, only to find his friend laying dead inside. But far from simply being just a downer, Sadistik manages to take a tragic event, and use it as a vehicle to remember all the great times with his friend, finally proclaiming “Thanks for being someone I could come to, a friend/I hope I make you proud – I love you, the end”. While the rhyming may be a bit predictable, the sentiment and emotion in Sadistik’s voice is touching to say the least.
The same can be said for the album as a whole. Sadistik isn’t an amazing rapper from a technical standpoint. While he often switches things up and raps quickly, his rhymes and flow are a bit predictable. This leads to a number of songs blurring together. What makes Flowers for My Father memorable is the emotions and storytelling, rather than Sadistik’s actual rapping capacities. Musically, Sadistik tends towards dark, brooding tracks, again evoking previous works by alternative rappers like Atmosphere or Grieves. There is also a bit of a Kid Cudi cica Man on the Moon 2 influence on certain tracks. Many tracks again tend to blend together, as often musically songs are based around simple piano, drum and synth lines. It is not bad, and the tracks are technically well put together, but no one would claim that Flowers For My Father is particularly well produced. What can be said is that the beats fit Sadistik’s style very well, and that is a valuable trait to have.
Overall, the standout tracks are assuredly “Exit Theme” with its catchy hook and emotive verses, the touching elegiac “Michael” and the exploration of depression on “Melancholia” and “Russian Roulette”. Sadistik’s album may not excel in several aspects, but his ability to tell a story and convey emotion make Flowers For My Father a worthy listen.