8thW1, No Room For Dessert Album Review
As far as the AOK Collective goes, 8thW1 is a bit of an aberration.
Since releasing his stellar debut album, LoveMoneyAndMusic (2008), the Show And Prove Alum has been nearly invisible. Outside of select guest appearances (Fresh Daily’s The Gorgeous Killer In Crimes of Passion, 2 Hungry Bros‘ My Crews All Thinner, PSO’s Moontones for example) and the four one minute and forty-four second long snippets from his upcoming collaborative project with PSO, Suicide By Jellyfish, 8th remains in the shadows. It’s rare to see him lingering at any of the plethora of Underground showcases littering the NYC music scene. And judging from the events calendar on his website (lovemoneyandmusic.com), it’s even more rare to find him rocking anywhere. With a total of 8 shows, June 2009 was his busiest month in over a year.
The irony is that, on the low, many wondered whether 8th may be the nicest member of the AOK Collective. The indelible nature of LoveMoneyAndMusic — where he ingeniously conceptualizes three of the most generic topics in Hip-Hop (love, money and music) without straying from the blueprint or ever coming close to cliche — consistently intriguing guest appearances and a comparatively low profile inevitably added to his mystique. The assumption was that he was in the kitchen cooking up the dope, never that he wasn’t dope enough to rock more often. After nearly two years, 8thW1 returns with his second full length offering, No Room For Dessert.
Produced entirely by 2 Hungry Bros. (Ben and Deep), No Room For Dessert feels like a throwback Hip-Hop album — break beat heavy, simplistic hooks, light on conceptual consistency.
8th spreads the content in all directions. His ability to tackle common topics from a fresh perspective through easily accessible yet clever lyrics is a large part of his appeal. “Short And Sweet”, for example, attacks the high sugar content in nearly everything we consume, brilliantly flipping KRS-One’s epic bar from “Sound Of Da Police” into it’s hook: “They claim we selling crack / but you be doing that”. “Stupidface” — with it’s tales of broken friendships — somehow manages to be equally introspective, corny and hilarious. Opener, “Say My Name Right” clarifies his often mispronounced moniker. “It’s 8th-One / Not 8th Wonder / Call me 8th, that’s if you can understand that”. “Poppers” uses a “King Of Rock”-like beat and a Run DMC borrowed hook to address the masses that claim quality rap music no longer exists:
“My Hip-Hop ain’t wack / None of my rappers suck / That’s why / I don’t really wanna bring nothing back / I just wanna bring this up / And I know the radio ain’t that poppin / But it’s all good cause you got other options / If there’s more stores for you to shop in / why complain about the things you coppin? / Don’t do what they say do / The truth’s right under your nasal / So don’t let the mainstream take you / to where the masses are so ungrateful”
NRFD’s most potent cut is undoubtedly “Everyday”, and unfortunately one of few instances where 8th is able to resonate as strongly as he does throughout LMAM. Over 2 Hungry Bros sublime soundscape and angelic sample, 8th opines on appreciating the ups and the downs of whatever life tosses your way, kicking insightful bars such as “I learned more from sinning than sitting in church / and it makes me wonder which one came first” and “if you wanna get closer to God / go live in a cave”. It’s the type of track that follows you through everyday life, providing relevance in even the most mundane situations, allowing you to lean on lines like “I don’t wanna get over / I just wanna get through / I don’t want all of it / I am good with a few”. And ultimately, that’s why music is important: to provide distraction and inspiration and motivation. That’s why LMAM is a great LP. And that’s where NRFD falters.
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