Courtney Bell Returns From 4 Year Hiatus With a New Perspective on “Microdose” (Album Review)

Courtney Bell is a 29 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan who got started in 2018 by releasing the full-length debut album 1Commandments followed by the debut mixtape Poverty Stricken in the fall of 2020. As of lately though, he’s been taken under the mentorship of Royce da 5’9” & had an impressive guest appearance on Nickle’s 3rd EP The Heaven Experience about 15 months ago. They’re now looking to take it to the next level by not only helping Courtney land a MNRK Music Group contract, but even having Royce oversee the creation of his sophomore effort.

“For All We Know” starts us off with a cloudy instrumental talking about how this is Hell already & nobody might even be aware of it whereas “Westside” featuring Royce da 5’9” works in some ominous piano chords from The Alchemist so both of them can get in their hardcore bag lyrically. The title track has a summery trap flare to the beat flexing that he’s in his element on top of nobody being able to fuck with him, but then the heavenly “Issues” talks about being lost & life shit helping him figure it all out.

Meanwhile on “Feeling You”, we have Courtney portraying a sensual side to himself over smoother trap production while “Motion” brings a Detroit trap flare instrumentally flexing his hustle. Royce returns on the atmosphere bass-heavy “Banz” produced by Jake One to join his protege in calling out all the bitch ass n****s out there just before Nickel sticks around for the funky “Get ‘Em High” alongside LaRussell, Sol ChYld & Symba with Hit-Boy behind the boards so all 5 emcees can drop straight bars for 4 minutes representing 3 of the 4 regions within American hip hop (the midwest, the east coast & the west).

“Swivel” hooks up some pianos, kicks & snares talking about keeping your head on the turn while “Bang” featuring Benny the Butcher & Royce da 5’9” brings the trio together for some rugged boom bap shit killing every rapper in their way. “Word II Conway” dustily asks what’s a soldier to a fraud & what’s the love if it’s lost while “Shit” pulls inspiration from trap again talking about what he be on. “Psalms 82” flips a gospel sample & throws some hi-hats in the mix to ring the alarm that is until the closer “Walk with Me” ends the album by soulfully talking about forfeiting if life’s a game.

Being a lifelong Royce fan, I got put onto Courtney through his verse on “Ion Wanna” & my anticipation for Microdose was elevated after learning that Nickel was taking him under his wing. Lo & behold: His debut on MNRK marks his return after 4 years introducing himself to newer fans like myself & giving the people that’s already been following him an update as to what’s been going on in his life since. He presents a completely different perspective on music & his life altogether after taking that time off prioritizing his mental health & this LP will surely help others going forward.

Score: 8/10

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