“All I got is this paper and pen”

For many artists, music is an opportunity to unearth emotions laid low deep within and vocalize them to a larger audience in an attempt to connect and inspire. One of the great things about writing for Smile Politely is the chance to discover these musical anecdotes from the Champaign-Urbana area, and the latest comes from a new name in the local rap scene. Patrick McDaniel is an Urbana-based independent artist and a graduate of the University of Illinois. He remains in the CU area, producing “217’s newest hip-hop sound” under the pseudonym Patrick.

This past Halloween, he released his latest EP Monsters in a Monte Carlo, a deeply personal project that takes on issues of relationships, isolation, and growth in the span of five cutthroat tracks.  Patrick tells SP that Monsters is a concept album, one that “starts off with me waiting on my figurative monsters to pick me up in a Monte Carlo to take me on a journey through my darkness, in order to save me from it”. 

The opening title “Faded” speaks of lost-love from the past, while numbers like the title track tackle the prospect of moving on from personal demons that have weighed him down throughout his life. The closing track “New” is an affirmation of both the struggle with the "monsters," as well as his endeavor to move on from them, stating with finality, “yeah, I’m letting go”.

When it comes to musicality, Patrick showcases an ability to switch from melody-driven hooks in cuts like “Some Other Girl” to quick-fire flow in his rap, each word seamlessly snapping statements of brutal honesty. We participate in this journey with Patrick as he gives insight into his personal life, all the while leaving the listener to draw conclusions on their own “monsters”.

Patrick notes on his website that some of his key influences include Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Banks. While it’s true that these influences are present in his production and flow, the one element that I hear in these songs that all the aforementioned artists do impeccably is their ability to let it all out emotionally in their lyrics. Monsters is Patrick’s musical expedition; a 5-track trek that stands tall, lifting the demons that try to pull him down while weighing his own anchor into the sea of the CU rap scene.

Take a journey with Patrick and give “Monsters in a Monte Carlo” a spin for a ride into the mind of one of Champaign-Urbana’s latest hip-hop artists. The rap scene here has proved to be prevalent, growing, and (most importantly), brutally honest.

“No more fear, no more holding back
I'm a monster, they can never hold me back
They can try, but they'll die
Cause I'm new”

Monsters in a Monte Carlo is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and Soundcloud. For more information, visit Patrick's website here.