STYLE: Hip-Hop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 173326-27360 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: Digital Only Mini-album RELEASE DATE: 2017-07-27
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
This 2017 mini-album from Philippines-born, Seattle-based rapper DJ em-D is a masterclass in organic hip-hop that showcases the man's ability to communicate Gospel truths with pinpoint accuracy to a backdrop of laidback beats, samples and flowing grooves. After a hyped-up intro track, this approach kicks in with "Triumph '17" and finds the emcee mixing rhymes with guest artists such as Christopha 'B, Pat Savii and Shakiah whilst "How To Live" is a candid and intelligent representation of the rapper's backstory and subsequent struggles to walk closely with his God. Elsewhere, the stripped-back earworm "More To Us" is a canny comment on current social conditions which morphs seamlessly into the arresting "Complex" - a track which neatly offers up an alternative to the guns, girls and drugs approach of certain pockets of mainstream hip-hop. Proceedings take a dip near the end with the somewhat out of place gospel soul of "I Am God" (featuring Shariffa Nyan doing her best Beyoncé impression) whilst the lightweight "That's Wassup" feels more like filler than killer on this otherwise pleasing release.
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