Monday, August 8, 2011
Albums2010 #45: Third Eye Vision
Props to The Quiet Man for introducing me to the awesomeness that is the hip-hop collective, Hieroglyphics. Their debut album, Third Eye Vision, grabs you by the scruff of the neck, shakes you around a bit then invites you to sit back down, pack a bowl and smoke up with them. And it's glorious. I'm not usually one for hip-hop, to be totally honest with you. I know all the major titans that storm across your local radio station but have never really attempted to explore the full range of the genre, including the more underground, independent hip-hop artists, such as Hieroglyphics.
I'm happy to report, the decision pays off in spades. This is hip-hop that I can get behind- nice beat, smooth flows and oh so mellow. It's not loud or angry or self-indulgent. It's just rap over a jazzy, funky-fusion type of a beat and it makes for great listening and more to the point, it leaves you wanting more.
The album opens with a great track, 'You'll Never Know' and seems to blend seamlessly into a smooth mellow ride for the rest of the album- tracks like 'Dune Methane' and 'Oakland Blackouts' also standout. And the great music only overshadows the group's fiercely independent commitment to their music, launching and releasing their albums from their own record label to building a following through live concerts and podcasts (Hierocasts)- as well as their super cool three eyed, straight lipped smiley face type logo, that I'd really like to find on a t-shirt someday.
There are also associated acts that you can check out as well- Souls of Mischief and Extra Prolific are two of the associated acts of the group and while I've never heard Extra Prolific I have heard Souls of Mischief and their great album '93 Til Infinity (which I have on CD somewhere, also courtesy of The Quiet Man- am going to have to dig that up so I can review that as well) and it's just as good as the original Hieroglyphics.
Special Bonus: Check their website out- http://www.hieroglyphics.com
Overall **** out of ****: I don't know what the epitomy of West Coast hip-hop is, but if it's smooth, funky, jazzy and as mellow as Hieroglyphics is, then I gotta find me some more of this stuff, because it just kicks ass, hands down, no question. This is raw, amazing hip-hop at its finest.