Friday, February 11, 2011

Album Review: "Brother From Another Planet" by MC Elijah Black

1. The Mystery (Intro)
Mellow sample really sets the mood for this album and Elijah’s style.

2. Arrival
The beat has a weighty bass and crisp snare with a soothing piano melody. Sci-fi imagery is entertaining. Solid chorus. “Hard to seize.. stormy sea” – slurred and ran out of breath a bit. “Kill time/hourglass/wind blew” dope segment there. “The end so close to beginning times”. His delivery could use some more personality and flavor. It’s good but could have more of an impact if it varied more.

3. Take It Back
This beat is on a mellow tone as well, but layers some grittiness on it with the key-bangin’ piano melody. Vocals could use more EQ. Liked the delivery on “sweet night incense”. The chorus is a refreshing jump in tempo from his usual flow. “Nothing is fact, all we have are opinions”. “If my mind falls off the track”, this tribute has been done before a lot but it’s well executed at least.

4. Body Rock
Nice beat, a lot happening here. Cool story being told. A lot of samples so far in the project that tie in the tracks to the overall “sci-fi soul” theme. The chorus/outro is lackluster and feels incomplete.

5. Trust (Let Go)
Opens with an authentic 90s flow and delivery. The chorus is kinda quirky, but likeable. “Calls me a joke”, subpar. Doubles are off. Nice rhyme scheme. I can appreciate that Lost Boyz reference.

6. Death On A Platter
Funny intro. “Greasiest spot in the hood”. Great concept. Pronunciation is much clearer here than in the other tracks so far. The chorus was too basic and plain. Could have had more lyrical sugar.

7. Earth Girls Are Strange
Really tight beat Elijah melds perfectly with. Tight chorus. Black builds his delivery up precisely with the melody. At around 2:30 Elijah reaches the point where he has officially sung too much. The chorus is dragging, feels like filler. Decent outro, kinda long though.

8. Space Ice Cream
Funky beat. “Spit this in circles/goes around”, could have been setup better. Catchy chorus. “One cup of that space ice cream”, haha. Very abstract content.

9. Didn’t Cha Know (Venusian Princess)
Black’s emotion and mic presence is brought up a notch here. Tight flow all over. “Can’t regret your life away”, NICE. After the chorus, it’s allllll the female vocalist who is dope... but that’s not who we’re here to see.

10. No Sun
Great topic. “That’s what I call perfect timing”, ok. Elijah is oftentimes too abstract. Drab chorus. Again, the back end of the song drags. Looping an already weak chorus for over a minute is not the look.

11. Mad Machinist
Opener is ear-catching. “These cats is ‘soul plane’”, tight. Quirky chorus, this one was decent. “They just Napoleon”, ok. Nice concept. This one could’ve used a 3rd verse.

12. So High
Takes a while to kick in that first verse. “Time flies/Time lies”, not bad; original. Time/Movie metaphor was cool. Pleasantly lighthearted tone. Another really short song.

13. No Sun pt. 2
Flow switches a plus. Heavy multisyllabic rhymes. “Part of her constellation”, tight. 2nd verse a slight step down from the first. Dope beat.

14. Beach Whale
This beat is probably the biggest departure from the feel the others have set throughout the project, but still fits when you wait for the verse to drop. “Fish out of water”, simple but well placed in a catchy rhyme scheme. “Chains on ya mind, change ya mind”, ok. The singsong adlibs add to the track.

+ Good beat selection.
+ Excellent overall concept and theme.
+ Very, very cohesive.
+ Good flow and ambitious lyrical complexity.
+ Nice lyrics, but it sounds like he's holding back.

- Pronunciation could be crisper.
- Some cases of redundancy. (Ex. We don’t have to visit Atlantis in every song)
- Cavernous gaps in song structure. Many tracks have only 1 verse and one too many tracks let the beat ride for half the song.
- For the most part, mic presence and emotion remain too low-key for my tastes.
- Elijah's singing was very hit or miss.

Compatibility/Appeal Rating:
Underground: 90%
Mainstream: 10%

Favorite Song: Mad Machinist

Face Value: 7.9/10


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