Monday, December 5, 2011

4trk Mind

by Exile

Exile is one of the best producers working in hip-hop today.  From his start as part of Eamonon, to his album-length collaborations with artists like Blu and Fashawn, he has carved out a name for himself as a producer who makes rapper-friendly beats that are also progressive.  Had he stopped there, he could have been one of the greats, but then he went ahead and released his masterpiece, Radio, an instrumental hip-hop album sampled completely off the radio.  This led to a follow-up album album that had various artists reworking or spitting over those tracks.  The path to independent stardom was assured.

And then, he gave us 4trk Mind.  Sigh.  There needs to be a law about producers wanting to rap.  A law with severe punishments.

It's not that this is a terrible album - the beats are great, and there are some decent tracks - it's just that it would have worked so much better as a beat tape.  An instrumental beat tape.  Exile continues to lay down some jazzy tracks, he just kind of ruins them by spitting over them himself.  Much of the content here is hopelessly juvenile (rapping about having three dicks), mawkishly sentimental (I don't understand the need to sample from so many children's entertainers), or kind of embarrassing (the first three or four tracks).

When Exile gets serious, as he does on 'Younger Days', '4ever (Friend Zone prt. 1)', and 'Momma Song', things are pretty bearable.  On most of those tracks, he kind of apes Blu's delivery, which could be why they were an improvement.  Blu shows up for 'When Nothings Left', and it is predictably the best track on the album.  The worst?  '2039'.

I kind of hope that Exile has rapping out of his system now.  I'd much rather see him do another album with Blu, or find us a new rapper like he did Fashawn.  I just would prefer he stay behind the boards (oh, and never work with the person who designed this cover ever again).

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