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Gems – “Road 2 Damascus”
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Oz’el Varese
Rating:  6.3 (of 10)
[xrr rating=6.3/10]

I’m a sucker for soulful samples…

As this art form we love so dear evolves time after time, it’s refreshing to take a pause from the triplet tom rolls and 1/32nd hi hats and settle in with the faint cry of a voice filled with pain, love, and/or desperation repeated ever-so-cleverly over the backdrop of the boom and the bap.

This was the first thing that stood out to me while reviewing Gems latest project “Road 2 Damascus.”  This South East Londoner brings his UK flavor and style to the microphone starting this mixtape off with the title track describing who he is and where he’s from.  Comparing his journey to that of the Apostle Paul, Gems describes how he started proudly strolling down the broad road on his way to destruction.  He then tells how he moved from “hurt to healed, pain to peace, stress to joy, and death to life.”

On “Welcome 2 London” Gems gives us a window into the life on his stomping ground.  Being that this is a mixtape, Gems has his own versions of “beat jacking” by dropping lyrics over some familiar tunes and samples.  “Have Mercy” discusses the struggles that not only Gem experienced, but a variety of issues that cause stress to the masses.  He asked for God’s mercy to help us make it through.

“Da Truth” is filled with metaphors describing the salvation message, giving much deserved props to Jesus Christ over a driving recognizable track.

The album isn’t overly “spiritual” or overly “non-spiritual” (whatever that is) but has a pretty nice blend of a solid message of transformation through Christ without being over preachy.  I enjoyed the familiar track selections that he chose to freestyle over.  Gems’ lyrics won’t blow you away, but he is very consistent with his message – and at times often too consistent.  A combination of a repetitive theme along with the uniqueness of his vocal tones made the 23 tracks on this mixtape blend together from time to time.  I would have liked to have heard some variation with his flow/delivery and maybe even some variation in his message, but overall, Gems delivers a good product for the listener.

Comprehensive Ratings:

  • Music – 7 of 10
  • Flow/Delivery – 6 of 10
  • Lyricism – 5 or 10
  • Content – 7 of 10
  • Creativity/Originality/ Relevancy – 5 of 10
  • Credibility/Confidence – 7 of 10
  • Personality/Character – 6 of 10
  • Presentation Quality – 6 of 10
  • Overall Production Quality – 7 of 10
  • Potential Impact – 7 of 10
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