Friday, September 2, 2011

Albums2010 #48: By The Throat

As a onetime inhabitant of the Medium White North, I frequent the Star Tribune website quite a bit, which is where I first heard of the hip-hop artist Eyedea- unfortunately on the occasion of his death, but there were hints of an extensive hip-hop/rap scene in the Cities that, once I had secured Spotify I felt was worth exploring a bit.

Happily, it's a journey well worth taking. Eyedea's album By The Throat starts with a growl and doesn't let up- there's a hard edge undercutting his rhythms that seems a trifle unusual at first but quickly endears itself to the listener as the depth of Eyedea's talent at the microphone becomes clear. His gift for lyrics are on fine display with tracks such as 'This Story' which grabs your attention immediately with the opening stanza of 'When I was young I was a single celled amoeba/then I learned how to go to war over ideas/now I'm stripping Mother Earth of her resources/waiting for the day when today is considered prehistoric.' Another track- one of the first ones that immediately grabbed my attention was 'Burn Fetish' with it's refrain of 'Empathy is a poor man's cocaine/and love is just a chemical by any other name/I like the way your pheromones make me sleepy/this far this far away I still smell you inside me.'

His overall sounds carries a touch electronia to it that reminds me a little of Beck- but his lyrics and his, well, I guess you would call it 'flow' are scorching. If there is such a thing as mid-20s, Millenial apathy and cynicism, Eyedea managed to capture it perfectly. That hard, cynical edge that underpins this album makes it work and actually shows a full range of talent that Eyedea puts on fine display. Unlike his more commercial contempories such as Eminem who seems to have had two modes toilet humor and boiling rage (now adding a third, pissed off redeemed ex-addict) in his repetoire, Eyedea manages to communicate the complexity involved not only in life, but in some of these emotions as well which is a rare feat indeed.

All in all, this album showcases Eyedea's massive talent- his range (which Eminem doesn't really have) his lack of ego (which Kanye has too much of) and his music blends a touch of Beck style electronica with hard-edged rap beats and flows all of which makes for an interesting and ultimately unique album.

Overall: I'm sorry if I didn't have anything too profound to say, but this album was awesome- Eyedea had mad skills, talent and a gift for crafting interesting and thought provoking lyrics. I'd say ***.5 out of ****- this is one hip-hop album that left me wanting to hear more- and it's a shame that with his tragic death at the young age of 28, the world didn't get to hear more of him.

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