What was the difference between 2Pac and Biggie smalls? For years, hip-hop fans have been lining up and taking opposite positions on who was a better rapper. However, all the rap nerds know that it is not as simple as that. Sure Pac had the great, introspective lyrics and those low riding beats but Biggie was notorious for one thing. His flow. That heavy voice spitting double and triple vowels into one sentence birthed the famous east coast hip-hop scene. So am I comparing Ali Rozet to Biggie? That would be sacrilege for many of my fellow rap nerds. No, what I heard on The Irene Niau Project was the dying art of ‘flow’.
Ali Rozet is a relatively new emcee to release a project, but on my first spin I thought he had released other projects before, as he sounded so confident. Equipped with a unique voice, he wields it effectively and comes with a tight flow, which is missing in today’s CHH scene. There are new comers such as KB and canon who are effectively resurrecting this essential facet of hip-hop and Ali is building on that groundwork. Just take Money & Fame, with deep lyrics that touch on deep matters of race such as,
“I aint impressed with a particular race, color or skin, God created all men equal and susceptible to sin, so what’s the pride in my pigment, does it make me more religious, or intelligent and ignorant, does it make me more a Christian? Physical state shouldn’t define your mind state or incline one’s faith to be determined, just wait.”
Now that is much needed in today’s scene. Another highlight of the album is the deeply reflective track, I Wonder where you are, which sees Ali reflecting on his life, from his times as a young’un and traces his life to the moment of his regeneration.
Of course, Ali would never be able to weave his flow without a good tapestry. And that is exactly the problem. The tapestry is just not great. That made me even more impressed with Ali. The fact that he came with such great flow and candor over very average beats is something to admire. The beats are very simple and sound dated. The best beat on the project was Legacy, with an atmospheric synth accompanied by great percussion but features the same common synth drops and is greatly reminiscent of this song.
The biggest problem with the beats is actually the mixing and the mastering. The very average quality of mixing fails to make the beats ‘pop’, so to speak. The beats sound muddled and when a lot of elements are present on a song like I Can Tell, they all fuse together into background noise. The vocals often sound hushed and the listener would have to strain to hear make out the words.
With just 10 songs on the album, it is a little on the short side but Ali Rozet deserves respect for his skills as a rapper. I would love to hear him flow over better production, as it would give his talents, time to shine and ultimately bring more Glory to our Creator & Savior.
1. Music – 4
2. Flow – 5
3. Creativity / Originality – 5
4. Relevancy – 5
5. Content & Character – 5
6. Credibility & Confidence – 7
7. Personality – 6
8. Presentation Quality – 5
9. Overall Production Quality – 4
10. Potential Impact – 5