Sha Stimuli, Unsung Volume 1 (The Garden Of Eden) Album Review

There’s a Shakespearean distinction to Sha Stimuli’s interim release, Unsung Volume 1 (The Garden Of Eden): a talented, privileged artist aware of his personal impediments, ultimately succumbing to an expected fate. Talented because of his lyrical prowess. Privileged because he literally grew up in the heart of east coast golden era Hip Hop, watching his brother, Lord Digga, produce three tracks on Notorious B.I.G.’s classic, Ready To Die among others. Hearing him opine for an hour and 20 minutes on the plight of under-appreciation, detailing the reasons he’s unsung, then defiantly adhering to those reasons drives home the tragic irony. Rocking a lyrical holster loaded with spirituality, extended metaphors and rewind worthy rhymes, the Brooklyn emcee’s astute personal awareness is Unsung’s unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Yeah, I drift / I sway / I bitch / I complain / I talk about brain / I over mention my name...”, Stimuli spits on “Game Over,” one of many flame-laced cypher rhymes that -- while separating him from Rap’s mediocrity -- leaves him redundantly rapping about, well, rapping. “I hate talking about rap in my raps when I rap / But sometimes I get reflective on a track,” he kicks nine cuts later on “The Garden,” explaining why he inevitably raps about Rap so often. “Saviour” and “Who I Am” drown in a flood of prolonged bars of braggadocio hopelessly working to refresh each track’s stale soundbed. Sha then cops to his garrulousness on, “Am I Different” (“And he’s still doing long verses...”).

“Am I Different” is brilliant, actually. Abnormal’s 9th Wonder-esque backdrop is one of the album’s least offensive audial offerings, and Stimuli masterfully intertwines a relationship narrative (“I touched her like I loved her / But when she was leaving I hugged her like a brother”) through a viscerally ill extended metaphor that defiantly responds to past criticisms:

“That’s why I’m doing this / No I’m not bitter / Lincoln owned slaves / Lincoln owned niggas / You looking at a hypocrite driven ignorant spitter / Acknowledge I’m the shit / So what I got you thinking hard / Driving in your whip / Waiting for the singing part / I be doing that too / Swear to God, yo, I’m just like you / don’t judge me...Tell me am I different?”


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