Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Album Review: "Inches" by 1221

1. Intro
Dope beat, monks singing. 1221’s voice vaguely reminds me of DMX’s. Emphatic speech with meaning. Explains the theme and name of the album, powerful.

2. More
Vocals are just a tad low, making it hard to make out some of the lyrics. Feeling his delivery. Nice use of vocabulary: “Survival of the fittest, livin’ frivolous, no lack of inhibition”. “Moralist/More or less”, nice wordplay. Pretty good chorus. Traversing through history in his content, I can dig it. Deep historical content.

3. By My Side
His steady-to-burst flow is well-tailored for this beat which is pretty tight in its own regard. This guy is a very positive-minded artist. I don’t think I’ve even heard a single curse yet, admirable. Good use of multi-syllabic rhymes.

4. Confessions of an MC
“Even my dutch calls me master”, tight. This beat’s got a steam-punk+funk (steam-funk/funk-steam?) vibe going on. Smooth chorus. 1221’s punch progression seem random and disconnected at times. Varied flow that changes up at proper times.

5. I Don’t Need Nobody
Hype chorus. First emcee was alright, good emotion. I dig the beat-boxing bridge. The second emcee sounds like the last person on Earth who should be dropping N-bombs… “Layin’ lines like a plumber”, eh. 1221 droppin’ a bit of knowledge on here. “A man is his own island at times… In every man there is a calling for a king, but whether you answer the call depends on the shoulders of ya’ll”. Just noticed the chorus starts with “blaze with an infamous team” when the song is about not needing anybody. Also, this is a collaboration track. Am I wrong to think that’s hypocritical?

6. Lockdown
Cool intro. The beat is spooky. Chorus is simple but the beat compensates with heavy church organs that enchant the listener. It just occurred to me that his flow strongly reminds me of Pac’s. Nice use of sound clips.

7. Dead or Alive
The beat and sang-chorus raise this song to an epic level. The burst portions of his flow can muffle the pronunciation sometimes. Ear-catching doubles and accompanying vocal effects.

8. Lovin
“I fucking hate you!!!” Compelling start to a love song. Trippy beatswitch on the bridge. Some of the imagery is cliché. “As I turned my head, she stood there with a piece of my heart”… “As our bodies pressed together, it was almost like I stole a piece of heaven”. 1221 definitely makes it a point to segue the end of his verses directly into the chorus such as is “Lockdown” and “Dead or Alive”.

10. Unknown Soldier
Dynamic beat. Airtight flow. Lyrics are sterile and very straightforward. The effort is there in production, mixing, delivery, and flow, but the rhymes themselves lack replayability and depth. Good use of vocabulary.

11. Set Me Free
Eclectic beat, a lot of different sounds working well together. First verse sets the positive tone of the track. Nice vocal effects and use of echoes in particular. Solid delivery and chorus.

12. We Want The World
This rock-infused beat sounds appealing. “One nation under a beat”. Interesting bit of talk on the bridge. “Left to die in the streets like pariahs and theifs”, nice. Some of the lyrics sound a little too straightforward and less poetic than they could be. Great message.

13. Dreams
The jazzy beat on this track is a welcomed change in instrumentation. 1221’s delivery on this one is too strong and forceful for the beat. The featured artist on the second verse sounds something like Ice-T. The feature on the second verse has a basic flow and elementary lyrics.

14. Shots
“I’m guessin he never knew that brothers of our color could be red-handed too”, tight. Funky beat. “Many men”? Really? Lyrics too similar to the 50 Cent song. Vocals on the verses sound a tad low.

15. Where Is The Love
Feelin’ the chorus, pretty catchy. 2nd verse is very focused content-wise. No standout lines though. I like the feature’s voice on the 3rd verse. “Think up a name for yourself”, very true.

16. Party Track
Not the most creative name for a song. The beat is definitely something for the club, and it’s TIGHT. This joint is live. The chorus is great, I love it... “GET FUCKED UP”! The track should have come earlier on in the album which for most of its entirety was somewhat monochrome. The British-accented feature added some lightheartedness to the track, wish there was more of him in there. The last verse was generic.

18. Jersey Bounce
Diggin’ this flow. “Insane is playing charade with Stephen Hawking”, hehe. The chorus is decent at best, annoying at worst. Random content. “I’m tryna live, man”, ok.

19. Wild Things
First artist is bland. Chorus is pretty good. 2nd artist is also bland. The features in this album so far have been very hit or miss. 1221 starts off really strong. “Some people deal with personal pain by little missiles equipped with criminal liquids and stick it in their vein”. Nice flow switches. One of his best verses in this album, if not THE best.

20. You Would Have Seen
“When you hold on too long, I guess a part of you dies”, nice line but I think more could have been done with it. Missed opportunity for a good metaphor or simile. I like the dramatic “but you left” before each chorus.

21. Stringaa
Dope beat, very epic, but overpowers the lyrics. The lyrics don’t flow concisely. Thoughts are extended through a bar too many with not much poetic pizzazz to carry it through.

+ Powerful delivery and standout voice.
+ Varied and hard-hitting flow.
+ Top-tier production throughout the album.
+ Positive subject matter and direction.

- Hit or miss featured artists.
- Lyrics were often bland and generic. It was somewhat of a challenge finding above-average lines.
- While his flow and delivery were excellent, they also sound VERY similar to Tupac.
- His voice sounds a lot like DMX, and the Bible-thumping didn’t help this distinction.
- The album was waaaaaaay too long. At nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes with little variety until the end, this project could have been much shorter.

Compatibility/Appeal Rating:
Underground: 35%
Mainstream: 65%

Favorite Song: Confessions of an MC

Face Value: 7.7/10




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