Album Review: BumpsINF – Man vs. Machine
Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
Christians and transparency. There’s always this balance that people are trying to find. Some are too transparent, revealing details that may cause other brothers and sisters to stumble. And then there are others who don’t reveal anything and they make their life seem crystal clear. The middle ground is found as we grow and mature in Christ. As we grow, we become more aware of when and what to share about our lives. Not saying something is no longer because we want to look good, but it may simply be because it’s not beneficial to the people around at the time.
When God Over Money (GOM) artist Bizzle hit the scene, he let everyone know how he was feeling and it shocked the Christian hip hop community. He has definitely grown as far as how he delivers his point, but he has also developed a brand that gives out the truth without any sugar coating.
Bizzle’s first signee to GOM, Bumps INF, showed the hip hop community that raw transparency when he released his project, Pain in Paragraphs (2012). This wasn’t a happy record. It was a real record. He did a great job showcasing the trials in his life. Bizzle may be bold and upfront about the lives of others, whereas Bumps INF is bold and upfront about his own life.
It has been about three years since we’ve received a full project from God Over Money’s Bumps INF and fans are excited to hear about what has been going on. Will we hear artistic growth? Emotional growth? What will his latest project consist of?
Bumps INF released Man vs. Machine on Tuesday, February 11, 2015 and in this review, we will dive into some of the questions fans may be asking.
Has Bumps INF Changed His Sound?
When Bumps was introduced to fans, they got an earful of honesty through pain. He was candid and did not hold back about what was going on in his life. Three years later and things have not changed much.
Throughout Man vs. Machine, listeners will still hear a very honest rapper talking about the trials he is going through. The song right after the intro is titled “Prisoner” and he holds nothing back. He raps about the temptations of texting women and going to clubs when he’s having weak moments. The song follows the feel of Pain in Paragraphs. It is kind of dark and almost gives a hopeless feel – as he talks about being a prisoner of his own mind.
Also, he has another song called “Family.” This song is extremely vulnerable as he reflects on moments with his friends growing up and mentioning people that he did life with. The song sounds like a diary entry, as Bumps pours his heart about real situations with people in his life who are or were close to him. In the second verse, he mentions how hard blending a family is with his wife, and talks about struggles dealing with his ex wife. Everything about this song is personal and listeners will walk away feeling like they know Bumps a little more.
Bumps did not change his sound or style as he delivered many bars full of candid honesty. With Bumps, that can be good and bad. Some people may not want to hear about how many times he fails on every track. Some may be encouraged because they are failing and trying to keep fighting as well. The fans that enjoy that side of him will love it on this project.
Sound & Production
In recent years, so many artists put out well produced music that it has become harder and harder to depict when an album’s sound is not up to par. So for, in this part of the review, when referring to sound and production, we will be looking at how the songs are put together and pull the listener in.
As stated above, Bumps is not the rapper to turn to if you want to turn up. He has some upbeat tracks, but a lot of times the lyrics are reflective. A perfect example of this is on his third track, “Man vs. Machine.” As soon as the beat drops, the listener will be expecting to hear a story told over a straight hip hop beat. The beat for this song even has a sample that adds to the smoothness of the entire track. Bumps uses the beat to tell a story about how man is constantly having to fight through different systems that are in place in our society and culture. He did a great job marrying his verses with the tone of the music on this track.
However, the track following, “Solo Island” did a bit of the opposite. The beat was fast and that wasn’t where the song fell short. On this track, the vocals sounded like they were not mixed very well. In the beginning it almost sounds like he is recording from a room with echoes. No artist likes that sound when recording, but somehow that sound made its way onto this track. Also, the chorus did not match the energy of the music, which made this track lack for overall sound and energy.
Man vs. Machine is a bit of a hit and miss in regards to sound and production. Some of the songs sound like he connected all of the dots, whereas some sound like they may have been rushed or lacked some polishing before getting put on the album.
When an artist can stick to a concept throughout their record, it can really help the listener feel like they got a packaged project. Sticking to a concept can be the difference between an album sounding like a mixtape or not.
Bumps did a great job sticking to the theme of this album and introduced the listener to the meaning of the title early on. Man vs. Machine can sound like a narrow idea, but on the title track he explains that machine can simply mean ideals, systems and mindsets taught to us in the world.
Many of the songs on this project tackle the idea of fighting against a mindset or system and that is where he nailed it. On his track “Beautiful,” he does a wonderful job talking about how many women struggle with believing that they are actually beautiful. He talks about how so many women grow up bombarded by the images in the media and how it affects how many view themselves. This was a great way to weave in the idea of “man vs. machine,” while imparting something beneficial to the listener.
All in all, this was a decent record. Fans may leave this record wanting a little more though. It has been quite some time since fans have received a full record from Bumps and it sounded a bit similar to Pain in Paragraphs. It’s not that talking about pain and struggles is a bad thing, but fans may want something more. Especially after letting three years go by, there are some other areas of growth that may be expected in the music. For fans that follow his music, there is not a lot of change in his artistry that shows he has been growing musically.
Bumps did do a great job with some of the messages on the project and people will be able to walk away encouraged and inspired from some of the songs. Also, the features from Social Club, Gemstones and the GOM family were really good. Bumps usually goes hard when he’s with his label mates and people will enjoy that as well.
Man vs. Machine is available on iTunes for purchase.