Perhaps this album is not yet old enough to be classified under our ‘Archive’ section, but it’s not exactly new either, and embarrassingly it has taken a handful of months to finally listen to Capo Plaza’s debut album, 20.
My first introduction to Capo Plaza was through the song Serio by fellow Italian rap artist, Emis Killa who I had been following for a few years previous. Capo Plaza’s heavily produced vocals however made an impression, and eventually I ventured into his discography and found the single, Tesla which features Sfera Ebbasta and Drefgold. By this point, everyone seemed to know who Capo Plaza was, and upon the release of his debut album, he was straight to number 1 on the charts.
Having overlooked his debut album to continuously repeat Tesla was bound to get old at some point, and eventually Capo Plaza was featured on the song Trap Phone by Gue Pequeno which was yet another reminder that it was probably time to actually get stuck into the album, 20. You can read more about my thoughts on Trap Phone in the dedicated post here.
Now that I’ve listened to the album front to back a couple of times, my thoughts are mixed. I had pre-formed my opinions which were ready to go into this review, but I realised I had overlooked a pretty important detail, and that’s regarding the actual style of this album and many of the other albums and singles from up and coming ‘rap’ artists from Italy.
As a simpleton I had just classified this as a rap album, but one that was heavily produced and synthesised, but in fact, that perfectly suits the actual and technical classification of this style, which is Trap. It is a style that has been a niche up until recent years and is characterised by heavy use of synthesised sounds and often discusses topics relating to street life. In Italy this style really started to boom with the latest wave of young Italian artists, including Capo Plaza, and this album has encapsulated the style well.
With that said, I think this is a strong debut album, and it is clear that it’s not just me who is of that thought. The album reached number 1 in Italy, and many of the songs off the album were scattered through the Spotify charts well beyond the April release of the album.
Alternatively, I can also see why this may not be a hit with everyone. The music is most definitely targeted more to a younger audience as the highly synthesised sounds may allude to musical laziness for those who aren’t accustomed to the Trap style. At times I did feel that this album lacked diversity in its melodies, and after listening to the album just once, it can be hard to discern one song from the next.
Having now listened to the album a handful of times, some songs are emerging as favourites, while others aren’t quite to my taste. Here are some of my highlights:
The title track is also the opening number of the album and instantly caught my attention from the first listen. It’s both dark and theatrical, and proves to be an epic opening for the songs to come. The verses have a smooth melody but especially from the second verse, there is an overall sense of tension. At the end of the song we see the song slow as if to end, however it returns with a reduced tempo for the remaining seconds of the song, which is a memorable end to the title track.
The jury is still out on the second track of the album titled Giù da me. I find the melody to be quite similar to the single Tesla with some parts of the song indistinguishable, but other parts of the song sound quite jarring. I think this is one of the songs that will grow on me the more I listen to it, and strategically, it blends well as a transition from 20 to Tesla.
And that leads us to Tesla which was released as a single off the album. This is one of the most commercial songs off the album, hence it being one of the singles, and probably one of the most catchy. The inclusion of Sfera Ebbasta and DrefGold give some dimension to the song which at times can be monotonous but yet intoxicating. This is also the most played on Spotify, surpassing 58 million plays, which is pretty impressive.
Following the order of the album, I feel a bit indifferent to the songs following Tesla up until Interlude (Ora è la mia ora) which really does act as a break between the previous and following songs, J$ JP and Ne è valsa la pena. Interlude swings back into the more commercial, radio-friendly sound that was lacking specifically in J$ JP.
Arguably one of the best songs of the album is Ne è valsa la pena which features Ghali. The song is definitely more radio-friendly than Tesla even, and that could probably be credited to the almost tropical sounding beat backing Capo Plaza. The melody catchy and addictive, and unlike some of the previous songs on the album, it’s easy to identify this song amongst the others. Judging from Spotify, it seems that I’m not the only one, as this is one of the most popular songs on the album.
After the high of Ne è valsa la pena, nothing really seems to catch my attention until the final track of the album, titled Giovane Fuoriclasse. This song ends the album in the exact way it began – dark, theatrical and epic. This is definitely one of the more punchy songs of the album that feels like more than just an album filling song, it feels significant. The verses are intense, but the choruses are catchy, and it is easily one of the best on the album.
Overall, I think the quick way to decipher if you will like this album is to just simply listen to one song, and if you like one song, you’re likely to enjoy the entire album if not most of it.
Listen to the album on Spotify below: