Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O
What do you get when you combine a well respected DJ, a producer with a heartbeat of east coast hip hop, and a legitimate emcee? You get – Descendantz. This group, comprised of rapper Eddie Nigma, producer ELPro, and DJ Morph, harkens back to the golden age of rap, not just with the way their group is put together, but with their style as well. These brothers came together once again to release their newest project ScatterBrain. For me, even though their names were familiar, I had never heard any music from them together or individually before, so I treated this as a “first impression” piece. What I received from playing this album over a few times made me put it on my iPod. Allow me to break it down.
When the intro “Here We Are Again” dropped, I was amazed at how the track alone made me feel like I was listening to pure New York hip hop. I was completely shocked that these brothers are from Florida. ELPro’s production style is, for a lack of a term that summates the issue without debate, “Real hip hop”. Hard, head nodding boom baps, breakdowns with DJ Morph scratching like crazy, and sampling that makes you listen in to what the rapper is saying. And speaking of rapper, I think we can throw that term out of the window for Eddie Nigma. This brother is an emcee; a lyricist. Overall, this dude can spit. I have rarely felt comfortable giving someone this title within the CHH arena, and a few others that I feel this way about are featured on this project, so in my eyes, this gives credibility to my belief.
I had a difficult time picking my favorite line to quote for this review, so I came to the conclusion to pick my favorite structured song. I’d give this title to “The Skinny”, a track dedicated to the city they reside in Florida. It starts out with the traditional introduction of the crew for those who know 90’s hip hop are familiar with. The verses are dedicated to the issues that plague the city in a style of vivid storytelling which creates a mental picture for the listener. I love any song that can make me envision what the artist is talking about.
I know I selected “The Skinny” as a my favorite structured song, and it is, but there are a few standout songs in general on this project that just kind of blew my mind with their authenticity. Being from the North east tri-state area, I grew up in the “golden age” of hip hop and lived in the area that most of it was being produced out of. So, many of the sounds of that era had a feeling of head nodding, rewinding to hear a line over and over, and a song that made you think of rapping on a New York street corner just by the beat. For this reason, I just couldn’t stop playing the “King Kong ELEMIX.” The beat is so raw and you’ve got rappers on it like Young Joshua and Sean Slaughter, who come out the gate blazing. This has the essence of a cypher on a track, something that I miss in today’s music.
There are a couple of smooth tracks on ScatterBrain, “Phenom” and “Fresco” (featuring Rigz), that show the diversity of the crew’s artistry. Both of these songs are laid back and great for driving around to, and the Descendantz were able to switch up the style without abandoning their dedication to lyricism. I also have to note the song “Day At A Time” (featuring Eshon Burgundy and JuanLove), as what appears to be the norm of the CHH realm, any track with Eshon Burgundy on it automatically becomes a heater.
One thing that has been a cry of concern for many lyricists in the past, both Christian and mainstream, is that they can spit 138 bars of heat, but are hard pressed when they need to create songs. I don’t know Eddie Nigma at all, but based off this album, it seems he and his group mates are very capable of putting together well thought out concepts in song form. While the title “ScatterBrain” may sound like an album full of random topics, there was a direction that the concept of being scatterbrain was being driven. From what I could glean, the Descendantz crew wanted to address and discuss the many issues that they see in there city.
If you were to talk to someone deeply caring for their city, you may feel that they were scatterbrained in how they would jump from topic to topic. The topics may interact with each other, they may not connect at all, but they are all issues that are causing the hurt in the city. It is clear that Eddie, ELPro and Morph are all dedicated to sharing the Gospel in their city through this particular art form. So, I felt that this album made sense in its desire to bring back quality music that represents the Christ they serve and represents the artists that they uniquely are.
Descendantz free album ScatterBrain is an homage to “real hip hop” in every sense of the term. This has everything that the boom bap purist will love and has things for the newer rap fan that will educate them on the ways it has always been. Eddie Nigma has the mindset of a lyricist, someone who puts a lot of thought into his metaphors and similes, DJ Morph is a very talented DJ, and ELPro has a great ear for making tracks that have that feel of “reap hip hop”. If you get hype off of well crafted lyrics, then you are going to have a lot of fun with this project. My eyes were opened to what these brothers have to offer and I’m very excited about the future of this reunion.
The Descendantz ScatterBrain can be downloaded here: http://noisetrade.com/descendantz/scatterbrain-album