Jon Boling AKA Skatch MC - Sincerity: The Soundtrack to Life (Album Review) - Cover

Jon Boling AKA Skatch MC has summoned the ancestors of hip-hop/rap music on his debut release Sincerity: The Soundtrack to Life. The eight tracks contained on this album are diverse, and while heavily rhythmic (as is the nature of rap music in general); it incorporates many melodic elements both in terms of melodic vocal lines and instrumentation to round out this sound in a rather unique way.

Upon my first listen, I was instantly floored (in a good way) by the sound of this album. Skatch MC comes across as a blend of Linkin Park/Fort Minor’s rapper Mike Shinoda and the underground rap artists in my personal favorite rap/hip-hop act Jedi Mind Tricks. With this in mind, let me continue into the real “meat” of my review of Jon Boling AKA Skatch MC’s debut album Sincerity: The Soundtrack to Life.


The first immediately noticeable aspect of Skatch MC’s music is the high quality production values. These tracks sound killer, and like they belong on virtually any rap/hip-hop mixtape. And unlike many rap albums that tend to be primarily dependent on bass and mid frequencies, this album is particularly diverse in that multiple instruments and samples are incorporated that fill the entire tonal spectrum. For example, the track “Ooh Child” features a blend of atmospheric synths, mid-high note piano melodies, and pizzicato violin samples. The entire sonic field is taken up, and listening through my studio headphones brought this music to life even more.

There is very little I could complain about with regards to the overall sound and production on this album. With the exception of some occasional sibilance (which itself is fairly common in vocal heavy music), this album is wholly listenable; and comparable to many underground rap albums in terms of the production.


As I previously mentioned, this album is diverse, yet also “summons the ancestors of hip-hop/rap.” As such, Jon Boling AKA Skatch MC has created music that is both very accessible; yet still in some aspects experimental and progressive for the genre. While most of the tracks are reliant on the standard 4/4 time beats and pop song structures, these qualities only lay the foundation on which Skatch MC builds a much larger atmosphere. In fact, this music comes across much more like a theatrical opera as opposed to the standard rap/hip-hop fare we are all accustomed to on the radio.

The opening track “Check it Out” sets the tone for the album, with light piano melodies, synth pads and strings, and an overall atmospheric and doom-like mood. In subtle ways the track “Coming from the Soul” branches off from this musical sound, and incorporates the percussive sound of bongos; and even during the chorus includes multiple human voices and distorted electric guitars to add that connection to the analog music world. The bass groove on “Traveling Miles” is very well done, and drives this piece forward.

As is fairly apparent, there is much diversity to be found on Sincerity: The Soundtrack to Life. Skatch MC never seems to comfortable with just doing the same thing over and over, though he does seem to enjoy incorporating melodic elements into a genre that is often primarily dominated by pure rhythmic escapades. Allowing the instrumentation to speak words unheard is a beautiful thing, and definitely heightened my enjoyment as I listened through this album. If I could ask for one thing, it would be to incorporate more live and acoustic instruments on future albums. Something as simple as an acoustic guitar, or perhaps even a flute or sitar; may just put this artist over the top in my book. But as it is, I still find Sincerity to be a worthwhile album to listen too.


What would rap/hip-hop music be without a real look at the vocals and lyrics? As well as should know, these elements can make or break an artist. Fortunately, Skatch MC’s vocal skills hold up when compared to other rappers in the industry. Immediately his voice reminds me in many ways of the white vocalist in Jedi Mind Tricks, which as far as I am concerned is a great compliment. It is a very dominant voice, but still maintains some sense that this artist is still down to Earth and emotionally aware of his surroundings. This latter aspect is seen vividly in the lyrical constructions that are busted out across these tracks.

Most importantly (to me at least) is that the vocal stylings of Skatch MC are very easy to understand. While some rappers may leave you scratching your head with regards to what they are actually saying (for better and for worse), Skatch is easy to understand a majority of the time. This is partially because most of these tracks operate at slower tempos, and the vocal style can unfold at a slower rate than faster BPM artists. I would have liked to see a little more diversity with regards to the speed of the rapping on this album, but with that said I feel the slower tempo adds much to the emotional aspect of these lyrics; and allows the atmosphere to align itself with the album cover, which features a view of Earth from space.

Vocally, my favorite piece on this album is the closer “Everyday” because of the unexpected incorporation of some female vocals. This balances out the track (and by extension, the album as a whole) and adds that certain feminine touch that this music very much needed.


I’ll be honest, there is not too much to fault on Jon Boling AKA Skatch MC’s debut album Sincerity: The Soundtrack to Life. The music is very comfortable to listen to. There are undoubtedly major influences from all aspects of the rap/hip-hop scene; from big names to lesser known, independent acts. The songs are structured in such a way that they will be easy on the ears to fans of the genre, but the larger arrangements take a few detours that are often very beautiful and atmospherically engaging. I would not say this is a very complex album (musically anyways), but it does enough to set itself apart from many other independent rap albums.

I would personally recommend Sincerity: The Soundtrack to Life to anyone who enjoys rap/hip-hop or just good, atmospheric music in general. This album is a job well done, and I look forward to seeing what Skatch MC has in store for his next album. I would rate this a 8.5/10 on account that there are a few flaws, which I already mentioned, and I feel the album could take a few more risks with changing up the song structures in a few more ways; but ultimately it is a great album and definitely worth checking out.


Jon Boling AKA Skatch MC Facebook
Jon Boling AKA Skatch MC CD Baby (you can buy the album here! It’s also available on Amazon and iTunes!)