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Album Review: HeeSun Lee – Stereotypes

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.

There has always been something intriguing about a female emcee. Maybe it’s the rarity of their presence behind the mic, or just the change of pace they provide in the genre. Either way, female emcees have always been something that grabbed my attention. Now, when you take that female emcee and add some aggression and presence behind the mic, then she has all of my attention. Throughout my history with CHH I have been a huge fan of these types of female emcees.

From artists like Shawna to Lil’ Kim, MC Lyte to Remy Ma, I’ve loved what these ladies have done behind the mic. The presence, aggression and skill that these ladies used opened my mind to something very special that I may have otherwise missed. There has even been precedence for this type of female emcee  to be considered in the elite group of those that are considered the best to do it (MC Lyte, Lil’ Kim). If this type of female emcee is rare in secular hip-hop, then they don’t really exist in CHH (at least at a prominent level).

Several years back, when I was still relatively new to CHH, I was introduced to a song that had a profound impact on me and my relationship with CHH. “I’m A Christian” that featured Seda, Heesun Lee, K-Drama and Ruslan peaked my interest because I was a big fan of K-Drama at the time. The impact this song had on me was rooted in the fantastic message that I needed at the time, and it introduced me to one of my favorite emcees now (Ruslan and theBreax), but it also introduced me to a female emcee that instantly had my attention and fandom. HeeSun Lee killed that track and (I quickly learned) whatever else she touched up to that point. Her aggression and confidence behind the mic, matched with her lyrical ability, made me an instant fan.

It’s Been Awhile

The last full-length album we got from HeeSun Lee was “Re: Defined” and that was in 2008, and last we really heard from her was a couple years back with the I’m A Christian mixtape. Overall, it’s been a pretty long time since HeeSun Lee gave CHH some work. So needless to say, fans of hers have been clamoring for her new project Stereotypes for a long time. The wait is finally over and anticipation built up for this long can usually drown an artist, but HeeSun’s performance on this record wouldn’t let anything overshadow it. The genre has changed plenty and music itself has changed so much, it’s hard to imagine an artist coming back and dropping an album after five years. HeeSun did that and she showed that she’s only getting better with time. Fans of HeeSun Lee had to wait awhile to get this project but I know that it was well worth the wait.

First Thing that Stood Out

One of the most frustrating things for me as a fan of hip-hop is when an artist or album is predictable. If an artist just follows the same pattern of music over and over again it can get boring. Versatility is a skill that is very underrated. HeeSun Lee has come to master this skill and Stereotypes is that skill done at a mastery level. The production, sound and tone of the record are constantly changing throughout. That makes Stereotypes unpredictable in a very good way. This record has tracks for all types of hip-hop and music fans.

2 Other Things I Liked

Production:

The versatility on Stereotypes was incredible, but the only way that can happen is if the production team and artist work seamlessly to create that sound. The production on this record was outstanding. It provided a beautiful backdrop for HeeSun to perform over and a fantastic sound for listeners to enjoy. There were head bobbing bangers like “Life’s Too Short,” to the fast paced “I Get In” with the EDM feel. The wide variety of production is nothing short of amazing. Not only were the beats great but the sound of the record was great as well. It was a crisp and clean sounding record that proves that the beats and rhymes aren’t the things done at a very high quality. Anyway you slice it, Stereotypes sounds amazing.

Consistency:

This is another trait that is unappreciated, but recently this is a skill that most artists don’t even bother to master. Hip-hop now seems to be more about individual moments as opposed to full-length albums. With that change in the genre, consistency doesn’t really matter too much. Thankfully HeeSun Lee ignored this trend on Stereotypes and took the time to put together a great album from start to finish. Each track provides something different for the listener, but more importantly, each track is done at an excellent standard. There are no holes on this album. It is an easy and enjoyable listen throughout. You get all your money’s worth with this record.

My Overall Impression

My overall impression of HeeSun Lee’s project Stereotypes is a great one. I thought that this record was really well done and thought through. It had some really great elements to it. It had some memorable moments and great features. Lyrically, this record is strong. It rounds out Stereotypes very well and makes the record much more than great production. As impressive as this record was, the most impressive part was the content. There was so much good content that it will take multiple listens to digest it all. HeeSun’s honesty and transparency made the record personal and allows the listener to peer into his or her own lives. Then she eloquently points us to the savior. Everything about this record is great. Stereotypes is a must have record.

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Aubrey McKay has a strong passion and love for CHH, and he uses that to write album reviews for Wadeoradio.com. He is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland Florida. He currently resides in Lakeland and teaches middle school. Twitter: @ajmckay24

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