Symbolyc One & Illmind
The Art of One Mind
Beautifully scored beats, dynamic instrumentation, a host of creative verses – those are just a few ways to describe the brilliant collaboration album of hip-hop producers Symbolyc One (S1) and Illmind. The merger of Illmind’s grimy East coast underground spices with S1’s southern peaches makes for a delicious hip-hop cobbler. Such artists as Ghostface (“Milk’em”), Little Brother (“Right Here”) and Kenn Starr (“Guitly Pleasures”) lend their hip-hop genius to this album. Jazzy riffs and soulful samples trailed with piano love make every moment worth nodding your head.
Bizarre was a clown on the microphone long before he joined the group D12. His first album “Attack of the Weirdos” is considered by many to be an underground classic. His second solo release, “Hannicap Circus,” may not be remembered in the same light, if it is remembered at all. Bizarre had the opportunity to recreate himself, separating himself from Eminem and friends. Instead, he employs the same antics and silliness from his albums with D12, just in greater length. Songs tend to wear thin after one verse. While his beats are solid thanks to Mr. Porter, Eminem and Erik Sermon, it’s his abuse of goofiness that lacks thump. “Bad Day” is a funny at times, and fans of “My Band” will like “Rock Star”.
The latest release by Bow Wow is a vast improvement over his previous offering, but it’s still not good. The young rapper has reunited with the pop-inspired ideas and production of Jermain Dupri, helping regain a signature sound. While the beats sort-of knock with that certain southern something, the mood stays too teenybopper. His voice has become more mature, making his performance of love songs more respectable. Yet, his lyrics remained Bubblicious throughout the album, even when he attempted to sound tougher. Check out “Like You” featuring Ciara.
The First Lady
Faith Evans walks away from Bad Boy Records to join Columbia, and she never misses a step along the way. On this, her first release on the new label, she remains true to her singing ability. With the disco-type funk of “I Don’t Need It”, Faith’s smooth vocals recreate the coolness of a roller skate jam while embracing the fluidness of traditional R&B. Escaping the easy hip-hop radio-influenced path to hits, Faith lets her voice carry the album. You won’t dance because the beats are bumping, you’ll dance because it makes you feel good.