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This past January, I released an op-ed titled “10 Boston Artists to Look Out For” list and at #9 was Haasan Barclay. With this list came a lot of praise and whole lot more criticism. The main points of criticism that I heard were that Dale Thompson shouldn’t have been on this list (although Dale’s first single just hit 50k listens on Soundcloud) and “Who the fuck is Haasan Barclay?”. This is excusable and understandable for the average “rap” fan (extreme air quotes needed) . Well for the people who are not aware of Haasan talents, both his tracks “Creatures Like Us” along with the video, and “The Exorcist” both premiered on Complex Magazine. Haasan Barclay is a musical juggernaut, an artist, a musician, Haasan Barclay is a band.

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When he got in contact with me a couple weeks ago to be one of the few people to listen to his album, I was stoked. I want to lie to you guys and say some cheesy sh*t like  Haasan brought me to a dark studio with house music in the background and 7 different types of cheeses laid out, you know, cool things that others find weird. But, that wasn’t the case. In fact we went to his home, where he records a majority of his music. With his guitars, keyboards, laptop, a mic, MPC and his bike being the standout items in his room (as I assumed he wanted it to be) the vibes were homely and intimate. It made me realize how creative Haasan is. He doesn’t need thousands of dollars of equipment to make incredible music, just give him his instruments and a mic and he’s at peace. We talked for a little bit about the album, local artists, etc and then jumped right into the music.

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He played the album for me 4 times and even gave me a link to listen on my own. “Heaven is Your Last Dream” is what I expected Cudi’s album to be”-Haasan Barclay. And he’s wrong.  Speedin Bullet to Heaven is watered down rock n’ roll. You hear influences from Indicud era Cudi, but don’t get confused, inspiration is not imitation and Haasan definitely stands apart from Cudi on Heaven is Your Last Dream.

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With only 10 tracks, the whole album spans a little bit under 30 minutes. Heaven is Your Last Dream is a roller coaster of emotion that gives you so little time to adjust yourself mentally, it forces you to leave your sentiments at the door before pushing play. The first thing that stands out about this project is it’s cohesiveness, when listening to HIYLD one thing you will notice is how lost you get in the music. Trust me that’s not a negative, Haasan placed each record’s ending to start as the next record’s beginning, so that you won’t notice a track switch until 15 seconds into the next. It truly shows the musicianship of Haasan and how he’s able to tell a story with not only his lyrics, but most importantly with his instrumentation. While we’re at it, let’s talk about the instruments used on this tape. Other than 1 sample on the tape, which is the Michael Christmas assisted track, Barclay produced and played every instrument you hear. He played the guitar, bass, keys, drums, synth, and not to mention his MPC.  Respect HIYLD for not only it’s tale but for the journey it took. Sometimes the journey getting there is more rewarding then the treasure, and for me that’s what made me appreciate Heaven Is Your Last Dream.

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The album starts you on a ride of encouragement and freedom, from the opening record “Rains”, which warps you into the love and immunity of Haasan’s brain. The album starts to gradually get higher on the roller coaster of comfort and pride, until you reach it’s peak of confusion through tracks like “Remedy” where he’s fighting temptation with the devil, and his evils, to the 6th track on the tape ‘Get You Right’ where he’s battling to keep his support system and lover to stay. It’s after track 6 where we are introduced to the drop of the roller coaster in HIYLD. The last 4 tracks are crashing down, and going 90 mph down the hill and into your face, starting with “The Exorcist”. It’s hard to adjust to the last 4 tracks emotionally due to length of the album, and its lack of time to take everything in. You don’t move on from track to track at your own pace on this album, you react to what’s being played, whether you like it or not. Haasan even brought a Michael Christmas that we are not familiar with, Christmas was able to step away from the big ass smile and get his war face on in track 9 ‘Yoshimitsu”, a feature that a lot of people like myself will appreciate and be shocked about. Heaven is Your Last Dream is an album that needs to be played in it’s entirety to fully understand its story and conflict with topics such as vulnerability, love, life, and more.

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