Friday, February 25, 2011

Less Ranting More BASS

I've decided to review some of the Independent musicians of which I am a fan. Today I am going to review rapper Craig Smith's newest release titled The Mace Windu Project (available for free at )

For those not aware, Mace Windu is the name of Samuel L. Jackson's character in the newer (read:worse)  Star Wars trilogy. I first heard of Craig Smith when he was featured on Tech N9ne's Collabos: Sickology 101 on the song In The Air. I found his simple but intelligent sounding rap technique pretty interesting so I looked him up and have been following him on Twitter for over a year and downloading all of his music. I would definitely consider myself a fan.

The Review: (after the jump)

Track 1: The Answer
The song opens with a pretty killer guitar riff. I don't immediately recognize it (Craig Smith plays guitar so it may be original and not a sample) The first verse is unusually moody and dark, but not in an off-putting way. Includes the typical Craig Smith mentions of religion.

Verse 2 includes some more angry political lines as well as one of my favorite rap lyrics of all time. "It ain't all fiction, not make believe. You either a hero or need saving." awesome.

Overall rating: B

Track 2: House Call
Song opens with the hook "Doctor doctor, I've been shot, doctor doctor, the force ain't with me no more" A reference to Star Wars, the nerd in me loves this. The hook is well sung as well as well auto-tuned.

Toward the end of the song Craig Smith sings some very high parts, it's not immediately obvious that it's pitch corrected. Pretty creepy effect to it.

Overall rating: A

Track 3: Lovin Me
The most notable part of this song is the chorus. Another very well done chorus.

Overall: B-

Track 4: Terminator
The intro makes me visualize floating in the clouds, then the beat drops. The chorus is once again beautifully done (hasta la vista haters, I'll be back cuz I'm a terminator). Craig sounds pretty passionate throughout the whole song. It's basically about rising above the hate, but despite the name it seems like a really upbeat F-You.

Overall: A-

Track 5: American Dream
The intro is some crazy flanger synth over top of what sounds like a Lo-Fi political speech. The first verse reminds me of Eminem, in the most complimentary way. The second verse is a bit more steady, almost shouting, style. Verse 3 Craig Smith does 2 things that would be career suicide for another rapper, admits he has never been a criminal, and references Dragon Ball. Another good F-You track.

Overall: A-

Track 6: Moves
Starts out with the hook, beautifully sung by a woman who's identity is not immediately known. Not sure if it's a really long sample or an original piece. Rapping starts close to the 2 minute mark in a smooth talking rapid fire style. Good love song type rap. Reminds me of Nelly without the singing or the twang.

Overall: C

Track 7: Rocket Man
Somewhat humorous, introspective song. The kind where the introspection leads to bragging. The chorus reminds me of rap rock, except good.

Overall: A-

Track 8: The Weekend
Awesome party track. Probably not as much bass as most people would like, but good chorus, funny lyrical content, shout outs to his home town and a good beat. By far the most radio friendly track of the album.

Overall: A

Track 9:  Work
This song is about the work Craig Smith has done to try to become famous. Still manages to have a very party like feel to it though. The beat is a bunch of cool bitcrusher type effects over drum and bass, very fun.

Overall: B+

Album Rating: A-

It's definitely worth downloading and putting on your iPod or burning to a CD to share with friends.

Edit: Craig Smith mentioned on the Strange Music blog as a potential signing, this would be HUGE

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