In a bid to bear his soul, E delivers a 13 track project that touches on a variety of subjects such as growing up in the crack era, 80s & 90s; being addicted to ‘the life’, Can’t Get Enough; and an ode to his mother, Letter To Mommy. Coupled with the rather aptly titled tracks Sparta and Fight Music, you get a body of work that doesn’t stray too far away from the typical conventions of street music. E curates beats from producers like SciFi Stu, Kyo Itachi, Wonder Boy and Gav Beats resulting in crazy guitar riffs, soulful vocal samples and jazzy piano keys being used as the soundtrack for a joyride through the mind of a veteran emcee.
Bearing in mind that Ethemadassassin has ties to North Carolina, New Jersey and most recently LA, the project doesn’t sound anchored to any particular geographical region, but it does ooze the 90s giving it the potential to sound dated to ears not old enough revel in the nostalgia this creates. The most impressive thing about the album by far is that 11 of the tracks are entirely featureless. A bold move meaning he has no choice but to win us over with his lyrical prowess. Luckily he has this in abundance and the years spent honing his craft shine through. Tracks that leave their mark for me on this front are What It’s Supposed to Be, 80s & 90s, and Tiger Blade.
Young & Foolish is the first track that Ethemadassassin decides to enlist help with in the form of Veteran Eye (fellow Veteran Assassin), Sherman Way and Martin H. If I am completely honest I would say it’s a miss. Not only does E rap his cohorts off the track, the vocals on the hook are super annoying. This song is like an unwanted intruder at what was an otherwise cool party.
My only criticism of the album is I feel he has held something back. He plays it a bit safe which is a shame since independent releases have the ability to be everything and anything a major label wouldn’t allow them to be. That said, I like it for the most part and would say this is still an album worth having in your collection if you expect hip hop to have more than just rhyming couplets and a catchy hook.