bckgrnd. reviews: CIATheArtist Aims To Place His Mark With "The Motions"

Off the rip, CIATheArtist opens the 8 track project with the title track. In it, he relays to his listeners the several sensitive personal situations going on in his life at the time, such as issues with his father & his need to mentally and emotionally refocus himself. The heartfelt track is a solid opener overall, assisted by a soulful instrumental. The next track, “Rap Cap,” introduces a more bouncy and automatic-sounding flow to the album as he details some of the previously addressed topics with witty bars & an aggressive tone. “Ghost” follows as CIA continues to display versatility in his flows throughout the album thus far. He speaks on his “boss” status and the solidarity he holds with God being the only man he fears. He challenges and corrects any claim that attempts to discredit his name in the two minutes the song carries out. CIA tops off the album’s hype with “Gems.” It features a complimenting verse from Mystory. The song is flooded from beginning to end with continuous flexing from both about their crew, women, status, and, of course, his “custom Baguettes.” Mystory’s presence stands out on this track as her flow repeatedly switches and keeps the listener engaged as she goes from rapping about being underestimated to being at the top of her class. “DopeLife” has the most southern-induced sound out of all the tracks, echoing many classic trademarks of early Texas hip-hop acts like Paul Wall and others akin to such. It even contains a chopped and screwed vocal sample as the glue of the instrumental. However, in case CIA and Freddy Mack’s dynamic back-to-back verses somehow become lackluster as you listen, the song also includes a beat switch to a much more dark, modern vibe. His voice inflections remain calm as ever as he comfortably takes a few laps around the ominous second half. “Needs” introduces a change in mood and topics within the album. The piano loop in the back assists his loving and supportive tone towards a significant other, explaining his goals to touch her soul and that he “needs what she got.” After a slight break, L x L (a duo of singers, native to Texas) come in for the rest of the song to provide a sensual and soulful feature to support the track. “Lost” is the seventh track of the album, bringing back the faster pace from previous tracks. In it, CIA explains the distress he faces in life. His goal is to maintain his focus because he doesn’t “wanna get lost in the world” with “money, hoes” or his family. The third verse features a dynamic, chipmunk mixed flow from Jo3 H3nson to end the track. The verse is short-lived but honestly adds a needed switch to keep the track engaging for the last minute or so. In the closing track “Overdue,” we hear a seemingly frustrated CIA, insisting that he’s been overlooked and very much delayed in regards to the credit he receives as both an artist & producer. Keep in mind that throughout the entire album, if you’ve paid attention, almost every track includes his producer tag at the very beginning, insinuating that he put in work as the backbone for every dope, dark, and wavy instrumental on here. He very cleverly includes a reference to earlier track “Rap Cap” as well, while displaying exactly why he shouldn’t be overlooked anymore with much of an underdog mentality that shows the real “hunger” CIA has as an artist. Overall, coming to this album as a new listener, it is effortless to get into it, seeing as the opener is something of “real intro quality.” It isn’t wasted on giving context and instead sets the foundation for the rest of the tracks to flow. The one thing that might throw the listening experience off, however, is the drastic changes in vibes after several tracks of the same caliber. Only the intro holds to “conscious rap” ideals, while over half of the songs take an aggressive or hype approach, with a sensual love track slapped between them. The second half of the album is the most substantial part aside from the title track (from “DopeLife” to “Overdue”), showcasing the most quality & diverse range of styles CIATheArtist has to offer. This album was a solid listen throughout and a cornerstone for his career.

Stream now on Apple Music & Spotify.