As I sat on my couch and listened to this album for the first time, a matter occurred to me that I thought I’d suggest — why isn’t every day speech done in verse and rhyme? Would it really be that hard? Could we all get little pocketsize producers to personalize a beat and sample our favorite sounds? Now that I think about it, the album brought up many questions that I’d like to explore with you here.
I’d like to ask both Eyedea and Abilities, did you have to get permission to be this talented? If so, where can I sign up? It is an interesting feeling to walk away from a hip-hop album and honestly contemplate becoming a rapper. Only the best make you think it couldn’t be that hard….right? Eyedea has a voice like a more pissed off Andre 3000 and a vocal style like Busta Rhymes on speed. But don’t get me wrong, Eyedea has fashioned a manner all his own while settling into a definite category of the art.
Yes, despite a popular belief that all hip-hop is the same, it can be grouped and separated into bite size pieces. Let’s try stereotyping them in high school terms: First, The A-list, this would be your N.E.R.D, Black Eyed Peas, and Outkasts of the mix. They are popular, good looking, talented, and if you don’t like them it’s probably due to jealousy because they’re really not bad guys. Next a group best defined as The jocks. You know them, popular, good looking, not quite talented, and if you don’t like them it’s really because they are probably assholes. Assholes with a lot of money that would probably…scratch that, definitely sleep with your girlfriend. Must I name names? Eyedea and Abilities find themselves in a group I always knew as The drama kids. They were artists, always creating, keeping to themselves, but not in an elitist way. They were always performing. Who needed a stage? The lunchroom was just fine. They knew they were good, but they didn’t have the need to shove their talent down anyone’s throat. Their time to shine would come and when it did it would be sweet. So for the time being the pair must be licking the cake batter off of mom’s beaters, because for them it is sweet, sweet, sweet.
Back to the questioning; this one’s for you Mister Abilities, sir: do you have a social life? No really, because I’m not quite sure I understand how one could come up with all the concepts you had for this album without spending every waking hour in front of his turntables. I don’t know what I liked more: the track that started by sampling porn cuts, and ended with scenes from Chasing Amy, or the fact that on many songs I believe I heard, yes that’s right, REAL drum and piano riffs. Just remember “all work and no play…”
Now a question for the voice in the duo, Eyedea: Just how much time did you spend as a woman? Eyedea’s lyrics appeal to both sides of a relationship like he’s been there before. With all due respect to the opposite sex, I have never heard a man so accurately portray the thoughts of a woman in love.
I wondered a great deal of things while listening to this album: Do good ideas like that hurt? Where did all these samples come from? What kind of surgery to I have to undergo to be able to talk that fast? Is that a didgeridoo or someone’s voice? How does a 23 year old know so much about life?
I can’t help but leave you with a couple of quotes from the album, it doesn’t seem right to do all the talking for someone who is much better at it than me anyway. So next time someone doubts you or picks a fight try this line: Watch out there’s no telling what I’ll do, I’m 80,000 years of natural selection coming through. Also remember to be humble like Eyedea and Abilities: We keep our mirrors dirty in case vanity backfires.
Finally a question for all of us: Can we please try to speak in verse and rhyme? Just for a week? A day? How about one hour? Really what harm could talking pretty really do? It could make a star out of me or even you. So if you truly doubt the fact that hip-hop is an art, pick up this album and let the actors play their part.
Sage Francis- Personal Journals
Atmosphere- Lucy Ford