Thursday, January 22, 2009
ScholarMan - GameShift: The Movement (Soganic Music)
Last year, I reviewed a show at Bedrock (R.I.P.) where one of the MCs on the bill was ScholarMan, although I wasn't really familiar with his music enough to say much of anything about his set. He seemed talent, but I didn't know the songs and he just didn't leave a big impression. But his label, Soganic Music, got in touch with me later on to send me his new album, and I'm glad I got to hear it and give him a second chance. In fact, really I'm surprised I didn't hear him already a long time ago, because there's a whole lot of albums for sale on his MySpace page and it seems like he's been doing his thing for a minute.
ScholarMan is very much the conscious rapper you'd probably expect from his name and the earth-tone color scheme of the album cover, and there isn't much in the way of surprises in his lyrics. It's all very earnest and well-meaning, but he doesn't really display any kind of insight or knowledge about issues, let alone a sense or humor or unique perspective, it's all just vague 'uplifting' kinds of messages. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but after hearing that kind of thing on a hundred other albums, you almost get mad at these guys whose music has a 'message' but don't actually have anything to say. Thankfully, ScholarMan is also a producer, and his tracks totally make the album worth a listen. He has this little trick in a lot of his songs, where he waits until the 2nd verse to mix in a new sample or chop it a different way, and it really makes your ears perk up and gives the whole thing a unique structure.
ScholarMan - "Our All" (mp3)
This is probably the best example of what I was referring to about how sometimes he chops a new sample at the beginning of the second verse.