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Album Review: Rocktee shines in ‘1998’

Joel Puente, a student who goes by the stage name Rocktee, is the creator of “1998.” James Hartley/The Et Cetera
Joel Puente, a student who goes by the stage name Rocktee, is the creator of “1998.” James Hartley/The Et Cetera
Joel Puente, a student who goes by the stage name Rocktee, is the creator of “1998.” James Hartley/The Et Cetera

“1998” is a personification of a near 20-year lifespan expressed through rhythm and melody.

Joel Puente, who goes by Rocktee, is an Eastfield student who in his free time produces beats.

Most staff and pupils may not know Puente, but people should check out Rocktee.

“1998” is his sixth project.

He also has multiple standalone tracks on the side that you can check out on his Soundcloud or YouTube channel, “Rocktee.”

The entire EP is nearly 22 minutes long and entirely instrumental.

As the songs progress, you notice the distinction in every track.

The mixtape covers a variety of music, but it still works.

Despite the lack of words, the EP clearly reflects ideas that resonate with the process of growing up whether it’s about encountering ephemeral endeavors, self-value and being more appreciative for these things that happen.

It does this through its track titles and the subsequent moods that each track conveys.

It’s fitting that the first track of the EP is named the date of birth of the young artist. The song begins with a muzak vibe that slowly ramps up energy with bumping beats.

There are other tracks that tell a story through their melody such as “Ones That Matter” and “The Real Friends.” These two touch on the acceptance of fair-weather friendship.

The rhythm of “Ones That Matter” paints a picture of friendship and good times.

The track ruminates on what matters to a person and that sometimes people matter a lot more to us than minimalistic expenses.

Bouncing off that idea of the individuals who truly matter to us, we slide into a disheartened actuality of “The Real Friends” who muster up genuine value in our existence.

Both of those songs have similarity in the idea of friendship and in song title but are diverse in sound. While one is cruising with the music pulses on an afternoon drive, the other is the opposite with a gloomy tone.

The transitions go back and forth by heading from a boisterous beat to a slumped tone. The music troughs and timbers but overall represents the happiness of an individual’s life.

“Live Life Long” is my personal favorite because of the collaboration of having an acoustic guitar flow with hip-hop. The entire EP is hip-hop based, but the elements used for this song, from the tempo, the vibe and beat, are a great culmination to the final product.

On the topic of using multiple instruments to spark a fun tune; “Personality Overall” starts off with a beautiful bass guitar then transitions to a bouncing drum beat and the tag teaming of a saxophone with Rhodes keys. If you are into jazz, you’ll be amused by this track.

The last five songs are buoyant and structured with confidence.

“Bye” is the best way he could have ended the album. There’s no more room to tell stories with the ephemeral sounds that were produced on a computer to entertainingly express the life of an individual.

This song is the fourth piano track on the EP and the energy is enhanced but also evaporates into the end of this homemade compilation of music. It’s a bittersweet sensation, for me at least, because of wanting to hear more from the artist.

Overall the tracks are great and each is unique. They all unite for a unique sound that’s sure to satisfy the audience.

Puente’s productions have passion, professionalism and purity of thought all over it.

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