Apr 21, 2008 - 8:30 PM
With his distinct, smooth tone floated atop melodic yet raw beats, the album creates a unique, laid back listen that will appeal to a variety of hip hop fans. Delivery and flow are both spot on in this release, and anyone down with his previous projects won’t be disappointed. With a combination of socially conscious lyrics, artistic rhymes and clear passion for self-expression through music, this album ranks highly among recently released indie hip hop albums. His talent as a song writer has developed and clearly shows on this disc as his topics range from the personal and familial (“Breath,” “Bring it Back”) to humorous ("Artsy) and sociopolitical (“Mom and Pop Killer”).
Though he’s been busy doing various work for the Bay Area bred, L.A.-based eight piece, Living legends, he has finally found time to produce a truly standout album on his own.
“The Bay to L.A.,” featuring Murs, is one of many notable songs on the 15-track disc, a song that explains The Grouch’s love of both Northern and Southern California and his commitment to both music scenes over a hyphy beat. He dismisses the “plastic” image that many Nor-Calers associate with the dominant “Hills” and “Orange County,” and also explains why Oakland native has made L.A. his present home.
Also a standing out is The Grouch’s ability to diversify his beats throughout the album. Diverging from the standard banging bass, Show You The World employs acoustic guitar, horns and melodic singing to lay the foundation for his flows. “Hot Air Ballons” sounds something like Earth Wind and Fire, Louis Armstrong and Jamiroquai crunched into one head banging rhythm.
In one of the final tracks, The Grouch gives listeners a glimpse into his personal life and his responsibilities as a father and husband. Titled ‘Breath,’ the song is another notable track on this disc. A father since 2006, it seems the humbling and joyous experience of becoming a parent has embedded a new passion into The Grouch’s flow—definitely for the better.
Pick this album up; you won’t be disappointed. He sums it up perfectly on the fist track, “It’s all too relevant, raw yet eloquent.”
Darren Chapel is a 22-year-old Journalism student at SF State with unending musical tastes. He hopes to make a break into the freelance magazine writing world after earning a Master's degree from Cal Berkley or SF State.