Written by DeRa Brinson
This is part one of a two-part series of albums released in the past two years that the Sonic Breakdown has not yet reviewed but that we recommend. All of these albums have qualities that make them stand out for lyrics, production, or concept that elevates them above the rest of the albums.
The Roots: …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin.
This is a unique and innovative album from concept to sonic properties through musicality and the use of live instrumentation that only The Roots can provide. Black Thought again has many key moments that showcase is undeniable lyrical prowess. I do wish he was featured a tad bit more, but that might be my bias for wanting to hear more of his excellent word play combined with substance in content. The album progresses like an opera due to the sophistication of the production and the multitude of atmospheres, creating scenes for the ears. This hip-hop opera could be hackneyed if put in the wrong hands, but luckily this group has the proper delicate hands to cultivate and stimulate this concept. This is a wonderful and very daring album that lives up to the standard set by previous Roots albums. This is a must listen and must have for true lovers of hip-hop that want to continue to see its evolution and growth.
El-P and Killer Mike as Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 2
This is the follow-up to a very good album, Run the Jewels, and it lives up to its predecessor. From the beginning of the album to the end, it is laced with hard-hitting intense and aggressive production matched lyrically by Killer Mike and El-P. The production has many different influences from jazz to rock to experimental, combining interesting sounds and maintaining the essences of hip-hop. Both MCs play off each other extremely well, sometimes giving the feeling of a symbiotic relationship, pushing each other to increases their lyrical talent. They also discuss social issues affecting different communities, which is something Killer Mike has never been afraid of addressing. The way that they finish each other’s lines continues the somewhat lost tradition in rap that Kanye and Jay-z used on the Watch the Throne album that was once commonplace during the infant stage of rap becoming a genre. This album has me excited to see the continued progression, and I hope the group continues to produce albums of this quality.
Logic: Under Pressure
This was my introduction to this artist in the aspect of a complete album. The entire album has a very clean and polished feeling that is pleasant sonically to the ears. A very introspective approach is used, exemplified by the divulging of Logic’s father on drugs, his sister’s boyfriend abusing her, and his dependence on nicotine. Logic’s cadence and tone alters to fit each beat and emotion to envelop and add to the atmosphere. He makes you feel as though you have grown up with him and you are part of his inner circle. There are portions of the album where you feel as if you are getting a sneak peak into his life, as if you are watching from a fly-on-the-wall perspective. The album has high replay-ability because it is enjoyable for an auditory experience.
Check back next week for the remaining three albums on the list.