Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the album reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
I’ve always been a detailed oriented person. I notice and appreciate the small things. For example, I’m a teacher, and if my students were to do something like, push all of the chairs in before they left. That would completely make my day. It’s the same thing with music for me. I love the details and the little things. Obviously, an album can be full of all small things. There has to be some meat on there, but it’s the small things that can take an album from good to great.
Ruslan is the definition of an MC. He aims to make great music, as he puts time, effort and great care into his it. As a member of theBREAX, he and Beleaf have made a career of doing just that. It’s because of that, and his extraordinary lyrical ability, that he has become one of the best artists in all of CHH. So when he sets out on his own to release Carry On, I was looking for the details that could take Ruslan from a great MC to a phenomenal artist.
The First Thing I Noticed
As a big fan of Ruslan, I was real excited for this record. I was excited for the outstanding lyricism and creativity that I have grown accustomed to from Ruslan. But it was something that I wasn’t expecting that grabbed my attention first. It was the incredible quality of the music on the record. The record sounded amazing. It was a very crisp and well put together record. From the production to Ruslan’s individual performance, Carry On was polished. You could hear the care and time Ruslan put into each track. This is something that is too often overlooked. How a record sounds is very important to the listening experience, and Ruslan took the time and effort to knock this out of the park.
Two Other Things that I Liked
There is so much to like about Ruslan as an artist; he’s a phenomenal lyricist, he makes good music, and he creatively weaves theology into his rhymes without being preachy. All that is represented on Carry On, as I expected it would be. There were also two smaller qualities that I really enjoyed and appreciated.
To be a successful member of a group, you have to have a good deal of versatility. Carry On didn’t just have a good deal of versatility, it had an exorbitant amount of versatility. Each track sounded different and had a different feel to it. He also switched his flow and style up several times in keeping with versatility in the production. That shows the incredible skill and talent Ruslan has as an MC. A lot of artists have a variety in sound on their records, you kind of have to, or listeners would get bored listening to the same thing. Not many artists have the ability to switch their flow and style, and still stay true to themselves. Ruslan did this seemingly at will. His skill allows for a lot of versatility, and I really appreciate that.
2.) He Stayed True to Himself
It’s important that I clarify what I mean by this, because I don’t really know Ruslan. What I mean is that this record keeps in step with a lot of the music I’ve heard from him in the past. The honesty, diversity in sound, care put into the record and playful nature tells me that this is music that Ruslan not only wants to make, but that he wants to hear. Tracks like “Kayfuem” featuring Arsen Petrosov, “Victim of Adolescence” and “In My Heart” featuring Beleaf are good examples of what I mean. These tracks all show you different aspects of Ruslan. To be able to walk away from an album feeling like I connected with the artist is something every fan would appreciate. Ruslan does that on Carry On.
Three Tracks that I Really Enjoyed
I’m a simple southern boy. If there is a banging beat and a smooth flow on top of it, then it’s pretty much a given that I’m going to love that song. That is “Dreaming.” It’s not a “southern” track but the beat is nuts, and Ruslan rides this beat with such ease and elegance that I can’t get enough. The message is great too, but that beat…wow!
”Victim of Adolescence”
I’m a big fan of honesty and transparency. It’s just so rare in the world today, so when an artist pours their heart out on the mic and opening themselves up for criticism and judgment, I kind of gravitate towards them. “Victim of Adolescence” is a candid look into Ruslan’s life. It’s a fantastic song and something that listeners can relate to.
“Thankful Now” Featuring J.R.
I enjoyed this record on different levels. The hip-hop fan in me loves the fact that Ruslan and J.R. came together to create a beautiful record. Then I really liked that Ruslan used this track to show his thankfulness towards his loved ones. We all have people in are lives that we feel we can never thank enough for the things they’ve done for us. Ruslan and J.R. gave us a record that can almost speak for us in that instance.
Ruslan is a talented artist, and I knew I was going to get a great record from him. This was different than I expected though. This was a consistent pleasure to listen to from start to finish. Most records are like a roller coaster because there are highs and lows. Carry On didn’t have any of that. From the beginning Ruslan set a high expectation for this record and then continually met that throughout the record.
This album is a pleasure in every way possible. It’s an easy listen all the way through. It has great lyricism, production, sounds great and it’s relevant. This is a record that you can give to any fan of hip-hop (Christian or not), and they will enjoy it and be able to take something away from it.
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