Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
Life always provides great moments. These moments come in plenty of different packages. Some of these moments are unexpected and some of them are heavily anticipated. With the latter, there is a certain feeling that comes with them. I personally experience this all the time. One of the most frequent times is with movies. With some movies, I’ll wait months and sometimes over a year to see them. That kind of wait breeds impatience and excitement. Also at some point, I get this bittersweet feeling. It’s a feeling of excitement and disappoint. Now that thing I’ve been wanting is finally here, the anticipation for that specific thing is gone.
Beleaf has been a big part of CHH for a long time now. He has been apart of two different (and exceptional) groups, and was a part of arguably the best mixtape series (theBREAX Over) in all of CHH history. He has his own classic album and has now made himself a popular YouTube personality. Beleaf has had a career unlike anyone in the genre. Even though he has already achieved more than most could dream of, it still seemed as if he had so much more he could do.
He released his first solo project, Red Pills, Black Sugar, a few years ago and it garnered plenty of critical acclaim. Beleaf looked to be at the height of his career. Which is why him announcing that In Fatherhood would be his last album, has made this record very bittersweet.
I mentioned before that Beleaf has had a career unlike anyone in CHH. Beleaf is also a rapper unlike anyone in CHH. He is an insanely talented emcee and lyricist, who brings the ability to be quirky, creative, and unique to the craft. Beleaf will literally rap about anything. He proved that time and time again on the “Breaxover” series, once even rapping about his baldhead. He also has the one thing that anyone who has ever been great at anything has: confidence.
Beleaf is incredibly confident behind the mic and that fuels everything else he does. It harbors back to that old saying, it’s not what you say but how you say it. Beleaf has a lot of that in this game. Everything he says drips with confidence and oozes self-assurance. All of these great attributes are showcased through In Fatherhood.
There is nothing about this record that is usual or predictable. From the album artwork to the track list, this record is truly one of a kind. The thing that is so masterfully done about this record, is that it doesn’t feel odd. A great example of everything that I have mentioned so far is the song “Tribe” featuring the Chocolate Babies. This is a song that offers a tribute to Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest; it talks about his family and features his kids. I dare you to find another song in CHH like this one. On paper this shouldn’t work, but it’s one of the best songs on the entire record.
The unique aspects of this album don’t end there. Beleaf also narrates the record with post track interludes that are light and fun. The last aspect that makes this record different from most out there, is what most of this record is about. It is a very grown up record. He talks about being a parent and a husband. He speaks on what is relevant to his life right now. This is a record for adults. It’s real, relatable, and honest. There is nothing wrong with this; it’s just different. The uniqueness of this project sets it apart from everything else.
One thing that is not unique or unexpected, is that Beleaf has bars. He is a true wordsmith. Beleaf rose to the lofty status that he’s at now because he is a rapper’s rapper. Any time Beleaf raps you will get an amazing display of lyricism. This record is the epitome of that. At times. In Fatherhood is a tutorial in lyricism and all its different aspects. “Intro” shows you delivery. Beleaf changes his flow a few times throughout the track. The part that takes it from great to out of this world, is how he uses the inflections in his voice to emphasize certain words or punch lines.
The next lesson in delivery came on “No Chill”. Beleaf swags all over this song. The first verse has a slower tempo delivery but it drips with confidence and charisma. With all of that swag, it doesn’t matter what he’s saying because you can’t help but love it.
The lyrical tutorial continues on “No Chill” with his wordplay. The second and third verse of this track are just incredible. He casually flips words with a beautiful artistry that is truly one of a kind. A perfect example is how he opens the third verse:
“I throw a snowball at a snowman
Frostbit on both hands
I bow down to no man
That’s ice on ice violence
ISIL ISIS, sky silence
Avalanche a native land
I’m Abraham, I found a ram”
This incredible wordplay elevates this song to a whole other level. These are just a couple of examples of Beleaf’s incredible lyricism. You can honestly go to any track on this record and be blown away with some aspect of lyricism.
Beleaf’s In Fatherhood is an incredible album. It has heart because it is about real, everyday life. It motivates and encourages listeners as you leave this record with the desire to be better. It sounds great because the production is thoughtful and matches Beleaf’s lyrical creativity. It’s fun because he is having fun, so listening is easy. Overall, this record is just dope. It has everything and anyone can find something in this record to enjoy. The grown up message in most cases would limit the reach that this record has, but that is not the case with In Fatherhood. His talent overcomes this because you can vibe to anything he says. Beleaf’s In Fatherhood is truly for everyone.
It is sad to know that we will never get another album from Beleaf. He has made such an impact on CHH and on the fans. He has left his impression on the game and has changed it for the better. He will definitely be missed. With all that being said, he left on the highest possible note that he could. This is a great record that has definitely cemented his legacy as one of the greatest emcee’s CHH has ever seen.