Album Review | Sleep Sinatra – DIVINENATION

This album was released on May 7th this year. Sleep Sinatra is an MC who I’ve covered a few different times on this blog. His EP with Killer Kane, Voodoo Kit, was one of my favorite extended plays of 2020. He also has released several great albums in the past 12 months, including Routes with August Fanon, and Sleep Gloriously with Ed Glorious, both of which I regrettably didn’t get around to reviewing. Routes definitely would’ve made it onto my favorite albums of 2020 list had I heard it in time. It’s an amazing album. Anyway, I believe this is Sleep Sinatra’s first self-produced album, so that’s what immediately makes it stand out already. I’ve heard a few of Sleep Sinatra’s beats in the past, but I haven’t really gotten a good idea of what the average SINAI beat sounds like. SINAI is Sleep’s production pseudonym by the way. I’m not expecting this album to be as beautifully produced as Sleep Gloriously or Routes, but I’ll be shocked if I don’t like the music to some extent.

There aren’t any songs that I don’t care for, so I’ll write about the full album in the proper order of the tracklist. The project begins with Freedom Writer. Right off the bat, I was really impressed by SINAI’s production. I actually really loved how melodic and mellow the beat on this track is on my first listen, and that caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting to like any of the production this much. Sleep Sinatra of course killed the first verse.

Gotta be a king in my daughter eyes
My heart got wounds I gotta cauterize
Pressure ‘bout as much as I can take until the bottle’s dry

The hook is pretty good, and the second verse is even better than the first one in my opinion. He slaughtered this track. I love how jazzy and mellow the production is. This shit is dope as hell. Track 2 is called Vessel. This one has another really jazzy, piano-driven beat. I think the production here is dope as hell. The Westside Gunn ad-lib sample reminded me of something Jansport J would do on one of his beat tapes. The instrumental is just super pretty. I like how fast paced and aggressive Sleep’s rhyming on this track is. The first verse is dope as hell, and the second one is even better.

It’s more about the presence, less how you appear
But a nigga gotta be shinin’ like chandeliers
Stole the game, stole the sample if it hasn’t cleared
Paranoia got me checkin’ cameras for the cannon near
I put the work in, manifest it ’til the man was here
Was never scared to fall; one thing that I lack is fear
I’m in motion, keep goin’ when the path gets veered
Know I’m ill, so it’s somethin’ I don’t have to hear

He killed this track, and I love the production. This shit is dope as hell. It’s followed by another highlight entitled TheDownerz. This track has a soulful, sample-based beat that I really love. I love the dark content of this track too. Sleep killed this shit.

I’ve been accosted by the losses I’ve felt
I know pain in the solace of Hell
So when that gratitude rains I’m often lost in a well
Until it drains I feel the same, inside my conscience I dwell
It’s nonstop; that trauma, I keep it boxed on a shelf
Not even toxins can help
So much to unpack when all the baggage is dealt
This be the doldrums, and soul, I probably sold some
Control hung over our heads like it’s a thick noose
Kids pickin’ and choosin’ from either dreamin’ or gettin’ loose

If you know me well, you know I relate to the depressive lyricism here. Sleep really knows how to write about sorrow well. The first verse is dope as hell, and I think the hook is pretty good too. The second verse is just as well written as the first one. This is another fantastic song. I think it’s dope as hell. Late Feez has the weirdest beat on the album up to this point on the record. It’s a really cool instrumental. The first verse is performed by an artist named Rich Jones. I’d never heard of him before, but I enjoyed his performance here. Sleep Sinatra definitely had my favorite verse on the song though. I wouldn’t say Sleep completely blew Rich Jones away because they were both dope. I just like Sleep’s verse a little more personally. I loved that closing line about how he would smoke an ounce of truth if he could roll it up. That was hard. Anyway, the song is really dope to me overall. It’s followed by OldWorld. This track has another amazing beat. It sounds like the musical equivalent to the submerged part of an iceberg. It sounds cold and watery. This beat would’ve fit in nicely with Mick Jenkins’ The Water[s] mixtape. I love the way this song is structured too. Sleep slaughtered the verse here.

When all the facts get revealed
They lookin’ jaundice in the light, they type ill
I mic spill like Tyson off the toll
Cherry-pickin’ my lane, I drive ‘em off the road
Get exposed, your soul left, rose
Steppin’ on toes who can’t collect dough
I manifest hope for the downtrodden
My sound rockin’, while y’all sound just sound rotten

The hook that he spits is pretty nice too. I just think the production here is really cool, and the rapping is top notch. The song is dope as hell. Track 6 is called Hermes. The beat on this one sounds really triumphant, and kinda like something from an old video game. The first verse is performed by someone named Maze Overlay. I have no idea who he is, but he fuckin’ killed this shit. That’s probably my favorite feature on the whole album. He spazzed. To be completely honest, this track almost sounds like his song. It’s not that he murdered Sleep Sinatra or anything. It’s just that he left such a strong impression right at the start. He’s the first voice you hear, and his verse felt a lot longer than that of Sleep. Don’t get it twisted though; Sleep killed this shit too. I like how they were rapping about psychedelics on this track. I always appreciate stuff like that since I fuck with a lot of druggies. The song is dope as hell overall. The beat on Judo Ippon is pretty dope, although it didn’t blow me away as much as a lot of the preceding instrumentals did. I really like the way the song is structured; it’s just two verses one after another with no hook or bridge or anything like that. The rapping itself is fantastic as always. Since the song is so straightforward I don’t really have much to say about it. It’s just a good beat with some great rapping. I think it’s a dope track. It’s followed by Sleep’s Fortitude. This track is a major highlight for me. I love how slow paced the beat is, and the minimalistic approach to the percussion makes it sound like something Ka would rap over. I think the beat here is legitimately amazing. Sleep’s rapping over it is great too.

Searchin’ like I’m Roy Ayers
My bloodline is more player than these instigators
Don’t need favors
Vibes predated to times less fickle
They fear me like mortality, I’m rhymin’ with a sickle
Gatekeepers don’t own the house, my knock’s official
If it’s cloudy, I ain’t rockin’ with you
Bitch niggas be gossiping, but ain’t got an issue
So I’ma keep my Logic on a swivel
It’s the only Sinatra gainin’ props that’s original

That reference to Logic and his Young Sinatra alias was tight. The verse is fire, and I even like the sung outro. This song is dope af. It’s followed by EzekielsCraft. The vibrant production here has a nice contrast to that of the preceding song. The first verse is performed by another artist with whom I was unfamiliar prior to listening named Davis the Dorchester Bully. I know I said Maze Overlay was my favorite feature on the album, but it’s not like he didn’t have some stiff competition. The verse Davis spit here is really great.

This Earth is a cacophonous cocoon
Separatin’ your bein’ from the void, the stars, the moon
Sun’s wisdom pierce your retina, you choose how to dress the wound
Growth stunted and they spreadin’ evil from the womb to the tomb

Sleep comes in right behind Davis and kills it too. I feel like they were neck and neck here, so I can’t say whose verse I prefer. The song is really dope. Track 10 is called Rubble. I really like how dark and jazzy the beat on this one is. The song contains two verses, both of which are very good. I just don’t have much to say about the song itself since nothing about it is particularly different. I still do like it though since everything is well done. The beat is nice, and Sleep killed both of the verses. The song is dope. A lot of I said about Rubble also applies to Technicolor. The main difference is that the second verse on this one is performed by Amir Bilal. I think he’s the only feature that I was familiar with prior to listening to this album. He killed this shit too. I loved that line in which he threatened to slap his audience members for clapping wrong. That was cold as hell. Sonically, the song features one of the more traditional sounding instrumentals on the project. I think it’s pretty good, although far from my favorite. It does feel like it lacks a sense of urgency that I would have liked. The song overall is really dope though. The final track is called BrokenHaloz, and it has one of the dreamiest instrumentals on the whole project. I really like the way this song is structured. It’s just one really great verse followed by a nice sung outro, which sounds pretty good.

Gain wisdom through the knowledge of mistakes
That’s all it takes; they tryna get on, I’m tryna be great
Paradigms shiftin’ ’til the policies shake, I make it vibrate
Checkin’ your aura right out the gate
I equate wins to feedin’ the ones I love
You equate wins to hypebeast motives, you lookin’ dumb

He killed this shit. The song is really dope.

This album is really great. To be honest, it’s even better than I was expecting it to be. The one thing that I have to emphasize is SINAI’s production. Not only are these beats sufficient, but I’d actually say that they are a selling point of the album. Sleep is one of those MCs who I can always count on to kill every verse, so the quality of each song is really dependent on the production choices. I have no consistent gripes with this album. I think every track is worth listening to. Don’t sleep on this project. It’s dope as hell.

Favorite Song: Sleep's Fortitude
Least Favorite Song: Judo Ippon

Score: 86