Seamlessly straddling infectious hip-hop and whip-smart spoken word, AndrewS’ debut album “Guilty Birthdays” documents a decade-long struggle with – and ultimately triumph over – addiction. Stacked with streetwise advice and uplifting messages wrapped in dark, sometimes desperate scenarios, it is truly an album that speaks volumes.

Coming up in Long Island, New York, AndrewS’ journey into cathartic music began at age 8, when a friend played him Eminem’s “Marshall Mathers LP.” Two years later his parents divorced. He began writing mostly negative poetry and soon was using marijuana and alcohol.

“I followed a dark crowd that developed a dark cloud,” AndrewS recalled.

Lost and confused, by age 15 he was shooting heroin (“that ruined my life”). Struggling to become a productive member of society, or even of humanity, AndrewS knew he had to make a radical move. A one-way flight to West Palm Beach, Florida with just a phone and a few bucks in his pocket marked the turning point.

Over the past decade, AndrewS has been documenting his self-medication struggle through a distinctive flow and deft wordplay influenced by Immortal Technique, Atmosphere, Jedi Mind Tricks, Kendrick Lamar, and still by his original inspiration, Eminem.

“I fell in love with writing to instrumentals because it allowed so much emotion onto paper, through words,” he recalled.

AndrewS’ debut album, “Guilty Birthdays,” was recorded in halfway houses and apartments across the U.S. Each song reflects a moment on his journey to sobriety, from the lowest lows (“Overdose” memorializes a friend who passed away) to significant victories (“My Herowins” serving as a goodbye letter to his former drug of choice).

“It’s pretty amazing to see the different mindsets I was in,” he said. “And the flow and wordplay get better as well.”

Striving towards a new life through both fulltime work and ongoing education, AndrewS met his fiancée in an algebra class in 2015. Three years later he became a father. All this has only refocused his writing, rhyming, and rapping, making “Guilty Birthdays” an inspiring and ultra-authentic arc from rock bottom to reborn and beyond.

“Every day, as I get older, I just want better for my daughter,” he said. “I want the album to just be a story of someone who struggled with addiction and was able to pull through.”

“Guilty Birthdays’ is currently available in “raw” form, with a remixed and remastered version dropping on July 25, 2022.

                      PROFESSIONAL REVIEW