Dirty Needles – Finally [album]

36-year-old Youngstown, Ohio, native Dirty Needles (fka HipKnoTiC) has released his debut album, Finally. The title serves as a tongue-in-cheek nod to his relatively “late” entry into the game, but his talent belies his status as a newcomer. Now living in Cleveland, the rapper blends introspective reflection with self-deprecating humor to cultivate a relatable, entertaining style that sets him apart from others in his class. From shouting out video-game character Bowser in the intro to referencing his being chastised for being “too nerdy” in the closing track, the self-effacing introvert manages to create a body of work that is resplendent rather than reclusive. He coins Finally as being “Underground Boom-Bap Soul” and its tone ranges from braggadocious rapping for rapping’s sake to addressing suicide. Throughout it all, he maintains his witty streak and clever raps.

On lead single “Finding Peace,” he settles into a semblance of happiness with visceral imagery, as he raps “Now I done dealt with a lot of sh*t most people couldn’t fathom/battled addiction this boa constricting around me becoming too much to handle.” Now a victor over depression, he begins to stake his claim for his dreams on “Bedroom in Aries,” freeing himself of dark clouds and instead fighting for happiness. As he explains, “We all wake up every day and go help someone else become wealthy. Meanwhile, we push our own dreams to the side. If we do pursue them we’re often met with detractors, an idea highlighted in the bar ‘Grow the fck up you Peter Pan ass n+++a /Stuck in Never-Never Land with Michael Jackson ass n*.’” With the album’s culmination, “Full Circle,” he addresses his first love and his frustrations. “‘Full Circle’ is about my frustration with Hip-Hop and how I walked away from it,” he says. “I’ve tried the whole ‘just being a fan’ thing and I couldn’t do it. I figured instead of complaining about the current climate, I’d do something to change it. As cliché as it sounds, this album was therapy. It allowed me to tackle my demons head-on. Kinda like Kevin McCallister did with the furnace in Home ———-Alone.”

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