As an affiliate of the Likwit Crew, and a current member of Strong Arm
Steady [click to read], Phil Da Agony
has been a rapper embedded on the West Coast since his start in the
mid-90's. With most of his work done through collaborations and guest
verses, Agony finally released his debut album Aromatic in 2004, which
centered on his interests of women and weed. Nearly five years later,
Agony follows up with Think Green, which despite initial intake, is a
title based on eco-friendly change rather than marijuana.
is evident on the title track
[click to read],
featuring fellow-Blacksmith rapper Talib Kweli. Over a solid melody,
the two rhyme about the steps people are taking to better the
environment. Adding a few suggestions, Agony asks his listeners to,
"carpool a ride, take a deep breath of fresh air, it's beautiful
Besides that record, Think Green is really a means
for Phil Da Agony to showcase his lyrical skills than to barrage the
listener with tips on how to become a better recycler. Enlisting SAS
member Krondon and Fresno emcee Planet Asia on "Thousand Dollar
Omelettes," the three left coast lyricists go to work on a beat laced
with horns and hand claps galore. Then, going the solo route, Agony
provides a theme of unity with "Stick Together" which subsequently
becomes his personal highlight on the album. With words of wisdom, he
rhymes, "No matter if you're black and white/you'll appreciate the hard
work and the sacrifice/Struggle and the motivation, space shuttles and
starvation/Your cape gone with inflation."
Production on Think
Green varies throughout, with some beats contributing and others
hindering Agony's performance. The latter becomes clear on "Time,"
where Agony finds himself ahead of tempo on a laid back beat. Likewise,
despite the potential social context that could have been generated on
"Black History," Agony's delivery seems uninspired as he is unable to
find the right groove of the record.
Along with that, the
multitude of features on Think Green take away the sincerity of calling
the album Phil's second solo project, especially when he gets upstaged
on a handful of tracks. This is most noticeable with "Hunters," where
Kweli's verse sounds near-perfect over lush piano chords. Agony's
efforts on "Think Green (Remix)" fair much better, however, his
triumphs are short-lived when Mitchy Slick comes in next to rip a sweet
sixteen. In the end, the performance makes one wonder if Agony will
ever surpass his fellow SAS crewmen in rhyming.
As a whole,
Think Green proves Phil Da Agony still has some work left to do in
order to become a bona fide lyricist, but with a great supporting cast,
he is on the right path. For every verse he spits that's unconvincing,
Agony has another one up his sleeve that is sure to wow the crowd. And
plus, he's planning on planting a tree for every album sold
[click to read].
Now that's dedication.