Album Review: Mouthpi3ce – Lost and Found II: Raising The Dead
If you are a true fan of hip-hop, you have experienced the angst to see one of your favorite rappers break out. There’s always someone that you follow for a while and you cannot help but think, “Why hasn’t this guy blown up?” You know their talent is up to par, but as a fan, you just cannot see what it is that is stopping them from greater exposure.
For me, this has been Mouthpi3ce. I have been following his music since 2008. Even when he didn’t have the best albums, his tenacity and delivery on individual songs lured me in. In 2009, he released a free album called Lost & Found. This is when I became a fan. It was a solid project and had me wanting more. In 2010, he released Reborn, Renewed, Reinvented. After this album, I really wanted to see him win. He put out two projects that proved he was more than capable of putting out good music.
Fast forward to June 4th, 2013 (June 11th on iTunes), and he released Lost and Found II: Raising The Dead. This is the sequel to the project that I previously mentioned. Unfortunately, as the years have passed, Mouthpi3ce has not blown up. I think other rappers respect him, but I have not been able to witness his “break out” moment thus far. However, he is still a great artist and I am still routing for him. In this album review, I want to share what I discovered.
While listening to Lost and Found II, I was still captured by his flow. Mouthpi3ce creatively pens rugged lyrics that are full of faith. I say rugged because he is not afraid to say what others are not saying. For instance, in the song “Dope Dealers,” he mentions the different ways that people are dope dealers. He criticizes the church, the streets, and even the school systems. I admire that about him, and his approach reminds me of the God Over Money team.
Mouthpi3ce can be rugged, but he can also be full of love and grace. In songs like “Raise The Dead,” “Beautiful Girl,” “She Cold (World),” and “Watching The Son Shine” you hear a different side of him. He still handles the mic with authority, but he infuses a lot of encouragement and humility into each lyric.
Mouthpi3ce’s ability to rhyme has been consistent since the first time that I heard him. This is special because he has been out long enough to be tempted to switch up his flow. A lot of times you’ll hear traces of what’s “hot” (as far as rapping style) on mainstream radio within the CHH community. Mouthpi3ce has not been sucked into that temptation for as long as I have followed him and I respect that.
On this project, I was not blown away by the production. This was an area where I struggled. The beats were not bad. The sound was not bad. It just did not stand out. Mouthpi3ce has been around the hip-hop scene for quite some time now and my expectations for him were a little higher. For some listeners, this can be a make or break type of deal. I do not think that the production on this project will cause a listener to turn it off. I just think that it was not enough to grab the listener’s attention.
The beats on the tracks in the beginning of the album did get my attention. As the album progressed, I found myself less engaged. I’m not sure if he intended to put “hits” in the beginning and calm it down towards the end or not. It did not help my listening experience.
There are many artists putting out high-quality music in the CHH community. This makes it easier to hear good production compared to great condition. The production on this project was good.
Barriers To Breaking Out
Mouthpi3ce is a very talented artist. As I listened to this project, I asked myself, “What is it about Mouthpi3ce that keeps him from breaching his current fan base?”
I feel that stand out tracks are a must. Over the years, I’ve noticed that Mouthpi3ce does not have many tracks that everyone in the Christian Hip Hop community know him by. Normally this is not a problem. However, he has been around since 2008. That is a long time to go without having songs that show everyone what he is capable of. There weren’t any tracks that had me reaching for the repeat button on this project.
I mentioned that the production on this album was good, but not great. I think that if he wants to really break the barrier, he will need to step up the production on his projects. I understand that this may require more money, but I do think it can help more fans catch an ear to his music.
Lastly, I think that Mouthpi3ce can really thrive with a team that makes noise. He may have a team, or people that support him, but that is not what I am talking about. I think a lot of people do not know of him, simply because he does not have a team pushing his music all over the place. Having each member putting a large amount of effort to get his name out will make an impact. There is an African Proverb that states:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
I think a team with the same tenacity as his lyrics will help maximize his reach.
I enjoyed this project, but I have been following his music for so long that I was honestly hoping for more. I thought he definitely did a good job lyrically. He has a gift when it comes to writing convicting verses that speak to both believers and non-believers. I think his fans will enjoy this album a lot. I am not sure if there is a lot that will pull in new listeners. Sadly, I know that he is capable to hang with some of the best artists out there. I think that more people will begin to become fans of his music as they dive into this album. Lost and Found II may not have as many stand out moments as I’d like, but I think new listeners will be able to see the large amount of talent that Mouthpi3ce has.