Although it’s initially a little understated in terms of texture, the bassline that we encounter in Shaheed and DJ Supreme’s “The Art of Throwing Darts” is indeed the agent of evocation it should be in an ambitious trap track, albeit one that plays second fiddle to the lead vocalist’s dark linguistic release. Shaheed and DJ Supreme are haunting the shadows of this beat, but as good as they are at concealing their ominous intentions, they’re not capable of obstructing the natural talent they bring to any given performance. There’s a lot of tension in this single, but it’s being appropriated in such an efficient fashion that it never feels like it’s pressing against this duo’s capabilities. They’re in their element, and there’s nothing strong enough to shake their confidence in this performance.
“The Art of Throwing Darts” isn’t built around a hook, but instead the fluidity of the lyrics its creator spits before us. They’re really careful to avoid leaning on the percussion as their sole point of guidance in this track, but at the same time, they aren’t scared to let the drums overpower the bass when they make their delivery sound a little sportier. One of the best qualities Shaheed and DJ Supreme have going for them is their ability to swing with a groove rather than simply establishing it with a bass part, and this is a single that doesn’t just spotlight their versatility – it exists because of it. I respect the flexibility of the aesthetics here, but there’s no pushing this song into the same pile as the other hybrid content coming down the pipes right now.
With regards to the production quality, I think it was especially smart of Shaheed and DJ Supreme to piece together the mix DIY style rather than going with something more streamlined and commercial in tone. There’s nothing wrong with wearing the old school grit on your sleeve when it supports the substance of your performance as much as it does in “The Art of Throwing Darts,” and despite what some of the competition might think, there’s a big difference between making a throwback and employing the same ideals as your predecessors in the name of making something as epic as the OGs did. The latter is what’s transpiring in this release, and anyone who says otherwise clearly hasn’t been listening to the beats found here.
I’ve been getting a lot pickier about the trap that I put on my stereo these days, and the biggest reason why are players like Shaheed and DJ Supreme. There’s just too great a gap between the quality of this piece and what some of the less-than-erudite forces in the mainstream half of hip-hop have been producing in the last five years, and as long as Shaheed and DJ Supreme continue to put out content as thrilling as what we’re hearing in songs like “The Art of Throwing Darts” and “World of Water,” they’re going to find themselves soaking up a lot of lucrative fans drifting away from the watered-down beatmakers on the FM dial. “The Art of Throwing Darts” is a straight-up gem, and I like what it says about the men managing the microphone.