Since its very inception in the 1970s, hip-hop has possessed the innate ability to to take a particular story and transcend it into universal language. It’s no secret that some of the greatest rap music ever has been born out of adversity and the necessity to overcome obstacles, a timeless sentiment that resonates on a deeply human level. Denver MC Paradox and UK producer-rapper ReFlex the Architect breathe life into this very premise on their new collaboration “Persistence,” a motivational boom-bap cut that seeks out growth amid struggle and hardship.
Swapping aggressive bars as they ride over a crisp drum break, both ReFlex and Paradox sound hungry and out to draw blood. Paradox especially revels in a “always-hustle” mindset, snapping off decisive one-liners like “The worse the impediment, the better I get” and “I don’t know when or how to throw in the towel,” to further signify that his game knows no quit. ReFlex paces him step for step, dropping jewels like “I just smile, show ’em how I got these scars” with a smooth and husky vocal cadence.
The waning horn inflections on the track’s back-half add a classy finish to an otherwise menacing cut, but the song’s rocking beat sticks with you long after it fades out. Paradox and ReFlex don’t merely nod the importance of sticking to the grind, they demand you understand its vitality to the survival of their craft.