My first listen to the album had me wondering what in the world I had gotten my hands on. Please note that the album didn’t have my full attention for the first listen, which is my customary “Let me just take a sip to see what I’ve got” kind of experience. When I turned up the volume and got focused for the “true” first listen, all was made clear. What first sounded weird became appropriate when I realized from the first track, this is Nureau Ink. All of a sudden the musical style, the content, the flow of the album, and even the, “Back to the Future”, title made perfect sense. Indeed, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. The “Menace Tree” is back. That’s not a cut down, by the way, it’s a shout out using there own terms from a past project.
Normally when you hear someone speak of abstract art, they are talking about a painting. This album (and other Nureau projects) is abstract art to the hip-hop realm. The production sounds like all the ingredients you normally like in your music are tossed like a salad and put in different places just to mess with you in the name of innovation. This album is Picasso on wax. Every song isn’t to this extreme mind you, but you will either like it, or you won’t. It’s raw and unapologetic. That’s just the style to expect here. With all of that being said, I didn’t like this album. I forgot to mention that the intro and outro sound like a soundtrack for a movie, unfortunately it is totally unrelated to the rest of the project.
Applejaxx doesn’t really do anything lyrically that impressed me or made me smile. In fact, I was crying foul when I heard “805” feat. Kimme where he recites lyrics (8 bars worth) that were originally spit by Tonex at least 10 years ago, almost verbatim! True enough, Applejaxx comes from the same camp. I assume he had permission and he probably did it as shout out to pay homage or something. It just rubbed me the wrong way, knowing the average listener has no clue where it came from and it appears to be original when its not.
The content is there, but it’s almost in code. Through slang and second and third meanings you will find the message of Christ or something uplifting. Only a few songs portray the gospel plainly. Outside of a few songs, Applejaxx puts just enough spiritual punch-lines in each song to remind you that you are actually listening to a Christian album and that’s about it for the most part. Just like the cereal, Applejaxx hardly gave me any nutrients to chew on. Seriously, if you’ve ever heard someone rhyme on one of Tonex’s songs in the past, you just need to copy that and paste over and over and you have this album. I wasn’t surprised by anything. The abrupt switch to the smooth sound of #9 (which was nice), then a drop back into the otherworldly concoctions of the crew was all expected. Does different cease to be different if it’s predictable? Maybe not, but I sure felt like I had heard this all before. That’s not the bad news. The bad news is, I’ve heard a good representation of the Nureau Ink style, and this wasn’t it. But hey, everybody is a critic. I’m just the guy who wrote the review. Peace and much love.
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Review by: E Pluribus Unum
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