Album Review: Eshon Burgundy – ‘The Passover’
Disclaimer: All views presented in this review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
A few years ago Eshon Burgundy captivated the Christian hip-hop world when news released that he signed to Humble Beast Records. Everyone in CHH was excited about this. It was one of the genre’s best kept secrets, teaming up with arguably the genre’s most credible label. It was supposed to be a match made in heaven. For a little over a year and one near perfect album, it was. However, Eshon shocked the CHH world again when he announced that he was leaving the label to do his own thing. This bit of news was a combination of stunning and a bit sad, because the potential of what they could do together was so high.
Eshon going back to being independent is not all that bad of a thing. His first indie run is how he became one of the most respected emcee’s in the genre. A focused and comfortable Eshon is a dangerous one. He has also proven to not be in need of a label all that much, as he has put out some classics without one. So there is no reason to believe that he can’t do that again. That’s why his latest release, The Passover, should be met with excitement and anticipation.
If you are familiar with Eshon’s past work, then you know that Eshon knows how to start an album. The “Intro” to a record is very important because it draws the listener in and sets the tone. Eshon has a history of nailing this track. The Passover is no different. He follows the same template that he has mastered and just raps. It’s all about Eshon’s bars here, as it highlights his major strength. In this case, he raps his bars over a subdued but smooth beat. The production here is highlighted by a saxophone, that is beautiful enough to catch your attention but not steal it away. The “Intro” sets the tone of this record, literally. This is a very smooth and soulful track and that is the tone of the entire record.
“Bless Ya Name” featuring Th3 Saga follows the “Intro”. The soulful vibes continue hear with another subdued beat. It’s more melody than bass. It also features a rather slow tone. Eshon matches the tempo well but it takes Th3 Saga about half his verse to sound comfortable. The slow tone hurts this track a little but it’s good to just vibe to. On “What I Prayed For” featuring ABIV, it brings the tempo up slightly but keeps the soulful vibes going, as ABIV kills the hook – which is the real star of this track. That’s not taking anything away from Eshon, who rides this beat with ease and creates the highlight of the first half of The Passover.
A soft piano laced beat provides a solid backdrop for a strong Eshon on “Dead Letter”. This record has Eshon really in his groove with his flow. He weaves in and out of metaphors and real life experiences to create a track that should do very well with listeners. “The Great Exchange” featuring Jeremiah Bligen is the most upbeat the first half of the record gets. The upbeat and unique backdrop are not the star of this record, but it’s Eshon’s conceptual lyricism that steals the show here. Eshon is talking about something that he has talked about in the past and just like those times, Eshon destroys this topic. He uses real life thought processes, to illuminate the pitfalls in seeking happiness and fulfillment in money.
Eshon keeps the good vibes going with “Gunz X Rosez”. It’s a smooth beat that doesn’t have a lot to it but it’s beautifully crafted and supports Eshon perfectly. This track is a head nodder that is full of playback value, and a smooth soulful vibe that gets the record back on track with it’s tone. It transitions nicely into the most unique track on the record, “Before I Chose You” featuring Parade. The soulful hook ties in this track with it’s predecessor, and the unique elements of the track set it apart and make it memorable.
The Passover slows back down with “Pray”. The production features some dope drums but it’s another subdued beat. That is not a negative at all here because it sets the stage perfectly for some classic lyricism from Eshon:
“My mental is heavy, I’m flowing like broken levys/
If ya heard that one before, I keep going like stolen chevys/
And if ya heard that one too, I’m colder than frozen veggies/
Hope you haven’t heard it, but if you have, well than God bless you.”
This track is what you come to an Eshon Burgundy album for. He flashes some of the best lyricism you’ll hear in CHH. We then continue to “Can’t Tell Time”. This is also classic Eshon because it is beautiful lyricism in every way possible. Each time you listen, you will find a bar that will have you shake your head in disbelief. The production is a little tougher here, which is nice, because if feels more like the Eshon we have come to know. However, it doesn’t lose it’s soulful vibe because of a cleverly made hook. So the record doesn’t feel out of place on The Passover.
After a long Lord of the Rings style silence, the record concludes with “Smoke and Fire” featuring Stef Silva. This track feels a little missed placed. Eshon’s flow is good and the lyricism is on point, but the production is a little off from the rest of the record. It’s not bad. It just lacks any sense of soul. This track isn’t a bad conclusion because by this time, the listener may be wanting a different vibe.
Overall, The Passover is a solid effort from Eshon Burgundy. It has good cohesion musically and great lyricism. It also provides great theology based lyricism. There is no guessing what this record is about or what the focus of his music is about. Each track is God inspired and God breathed. That is one of the strongest elements of this record, and really make it special. It balances good lyricism with theology perfectly, however, it’s not overpowering – so it’s a good listen for all possible fans. The Passover goes from being a good, to really good record, that is enjoyable and easy to listen to. So if you want a soulful record that is rich in theological principals and is made by one of the best artists in CHH, then you have to get The Passover.