After falling out of love with Hip Hop for many a year, it is nice to be reintroduced back into the game by Rhymefest’s new album, El Che.
The good thing about having time away from something you love is that when you do come back, you approach it with an open mind, relatively new eyes and new ears, a certain rejuvenatedness. On my first listen I wasn’t expecting El Che to hit me off and catch me off guard like Illmatic did or Raekwon’s purple tape. I just wanted this album to do
what good albums do, entertain and get my attention. And get my attention it did.
With a name like Rhymefest one carries a certain expectancy level to one’s prose from the off and I’m glad to say that this Chicago native delivers on several fronts on this album. Don’t get me wrong there are bum notes here and there, just like on any album, for example ‘Chocolates’ or ‘Say Wassup’, which is not my cup of tea at all. I’m not one for love songs. I will listen to Marvin Gaye if I’m ever in the mood but that rarely happens. In saying that, I don’t find the smooth and reggae influenced ‘Agony’ offensive at all. In fact I quite like it.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/11-Agony.mp3″ text=”Rhymefest – Agony” dl=”0″]
But the high points, the good songs, the strong aspects to this offering, far outweigh the low points. As I mentioned before about having a name like Rhymefest, I would not have been surprised if the brother had gone all Canibus on us and let his lyrical prowess dominate and overpower those small elements that make for good songs like structure, content and a good hook. All that and
more is here, in good measure and I make no apologies in saying that fans of Common, Q-Tip, Kanye and Lupe (maybe Kid Cudi as well) might like this album even though ‘Fest does his best on ‘Chicago’ and ‘Truth On You’ to distance himself from that lot. I suppose Chicago is getting pretty crowded nowadays and fairly or unfairly, Rhymefest will be linked to Kanye West for a long time yet regardless of the protestations or who writes what for whom. The problem that comes with providing material for worldwide successful artists is that if you then present similar style or substance yourself, the perception to ordinary folk is that perhaps you are walking a path already travelled on. The quandary thus remains. Rhymefest reminds me of Craig Mack, just less charisma and a little more lyricism. I’m not saying this as a bad thing, I like Craig Mack.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/15-LAST-NIGHT-MAIN-1.7.mp3″ text=”Rhymefest – Last Night Main” dl=”0″]
At first I thought El Che was a concept album but then listening to the songs I doubt it is. There are a few mentions here and there of Fidel Castro’s best mate, that freedom fighter, revolutionary, murderer (take your pick) Che Guevara, but it’s all rather decorative than substantial. And if you were expecting El Che to be full of communism, blood, guts and tears, you will be disappointed. That’s what the album doesn’t have but what it has are the sentiments of a man needing to vent and to clear the air and on ‘Talk My Shit’ he does exactly that. We learn a few things about Rhymefest, the usual gay
bash, braggadocio rants and sexism that’s synonymous with Hip Hop and also that his leave of absence from the music scene the last couple of years was enforced. In other words dude broke the law so dude was in jail. Rhymefest, like most rappers, is not averse to gossip mongering, typical rap beefs, he said, he said and I said ….