Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
Take it or Leave it
Hip-hop is becoming a place where being able to do just one thing isn’t good enough anymore. Rappers are producers. Producers are DJ’s. Singers are rappers. And everyone is in on the business side of things. This is especially prevalent in the independent scene where it seems like you have to be able to do everything just to get on. This versatility has progressed the music and allowed people to get out there, that normally wouldn’t have the same opportunity.
Out of the producer/rapper mold comes a relatively new artist, Black Knight. I say relatively new because he’s been around for a little bit but the release of his new record “The Break In” hopes to put him on in a much bigger way. His signature “It’s the Black Knight!” before his neck-snapping tracks has gotten his name out there, literally, as a producer. Now he’s looking to turn heads as a rapper, and I’m going to tell you if you should “take” this record or just “leave” it alone.
Take It – Production
I’m not real familiar with Black Knight, but from the little experiences I have had with him I know one thing: he’s a solid producer. This record reinforced that idea. The production throughout this record was great. Each beat seemed to take on a life of its own. He had your head nodding and your ears satisfied. The production was the star of this record. You could really see the talent that Black Knight has in his production. He is starting to make a name for himself in CHH and “The Break In” is evidence as to why.
Leave It – Lyricism
I have a confession to make. Before listening to “The Break In” I didn’t know Black Knight was a rapper. The only times I heard him was on the production side of things, so I was a little surprised to hear him rapping. He surpassed my expectations on the mic, but there was still a little left to be desired. Lyrically it just wasn’t that strong. His rhyme schemes were simple and there wasn’t much depth to it. With that being said, the album didn’t call for much depth lyrically. It had more of an up tempo/party feel to it, so the lack of depth is excusable. Overall, I wasn’t impressed with him lyrically.
Take It – Variety in Sound
This could probably fall into the “Production” section but either way the diversity in this project was nice. There were songs all across the hip-hop genre. He had some tough hard hitting tracks (“My Beat Bang!”), slower more melodic tracks (“Lifejacket” feat. Json & Shamaya) and even some rock infused tracks (“L.O.L.” feat. SPZRKT). His variety shows off his production chops, but it spoke more to his creativity. Black Knight has an amazing level of creativity. Being able to transition between a variety of sounds is difficult, but he made it seem easy and seamless. The variety of sound on “The Break In” opens the record up for any fan of music. There is something for everyone on this record.
Leave It – Concept
The concept is an important part of an album. It is the listeners first introduction to what that artist is trying to say. It ties the songs together. It creates a complete project and it gives the listener something to take away from the project. So the concept is something I always look for when listening to a record. I didn’t find one at all after listening to “The Break In.” It felt more like a collection of songs, than an album with a clear direction. Without a concept I was left searching for more than just a tight beat.
Take It – Content
The most important part of a record is the content. What the artist is saying is important because if he’s not saying anything why listen to the record? Black Knight had a really good content. Throughout the record there was strong Christ-centered content throughout the record. What I appreciated the most was that he was able to take up tempo/party songs, that usually lack deep meaningful content, and infuse some meaningful themes into them. “We Do It” featuring Milliyon and Kadence is a good example of that. He was able to take a song where the beat alone would get you excited, and used the content to get you hype about what they were saying. Black Knight made “The Break In” about much more than music.
Leave It – Overall Album Quality
An artist gets listeners with great singles, but an artist gets fans with great albums. A big part of an album’s greatness is if the album is great all the way through. This is another area where Black Knight lets the listener down. There are some really good, maybe even great, moments but there are also some gaping holes in this album. Some songs where tough to take in and even with great production were quick turns. Black Knight brings a lot of energy to his music. It is very difficult to keep a high level of energy up throughout an entire record. The production was solid throughout but the song quality dips, and makes “The Break In” tough to listen straight through.
Black Knight is a talented artist. He is one of the up and coming producers in the genre and he has crazy amounts of creativity. All of that was showcased on “The Break In.” There were definitely some high moments, and songs that just kept bringing me back for more. The playback value was high for songs like the lead single “Swerv” featuring KIDD, Jor’Dan Armstrong & Jesus Geek. That just wasn’t the theme all the way throughout the record, and I felt myself getting disinterested at times. As an young up and coming artist in CHH I would definitely “take” Black Knight. “The Break In” on the other hand, I would “leave.”