Handful Of Dust is a collaborative EP, which brings Los Angeles based emcee/producer Blu, and Duke grad, Wall Street trader turned emcee, ANTHM together. Those who haven’t heard ANTHM’s Joy And Pain, or any of his earlier work, and are checking for this project based the appearance of Blu’s name on production will be pleasantly surprised that ANTHM doesn’t just hold his own; he clearly shines on Handful of Dust.
The project starts off on one of its highest points, a track revolving around dealing with life’s lows, in “Freefall.” While the beat definitely sounds like something off HerFavoriteColo(u)r, ANTHM’s voice is reminiscent of Blu’s, and the sing-songy hook brings back memories of “The Narrow Path.” But as soon as ANTHM starts flowing, he sets himself apart with a flow, and lyrics that bear no resemblance to the Los Angeles emcee handling the production. On “Nina” Anthm spits “Picture heaven above these overcrowded arenas / Watching us fall, as we try to balance like ballerinas / I’m ‘bout to blast / Couldn’t quite figure how to grasp / Me watching my sand pass, through my hour glass…” Throughout Handful Of Dust, ANTHM seems at home dealing with racial issues. On “Self-Esteem’ he rhymes, “Society’s got me feeling like Atlas / World on my back, finally trapped us / Like southern Baptists, surrender arms up in the atmos / Phere / Fear in my heart of living like captives / They redefine blackness / I re-enact Nat Turner’s tactics…”
With the longest track on Handful Of Dust, “Debbie,” ANTHM celebrates his relationship with his little sister. While the track is definitely unique, it points to one of the main problems of the album. Of the seven tracks, “Debbie” is the only one over four minutes, with two either under two minutes or close to it. Handful Of Dust is a collection of great tracks that feels incomplete, even for an EP.
Not enough of a good thing is surely a better problem to have than too much of a bad thing. However, if Handful Of Dust has a glaring flaw, it’s definitely the fact that it seems to end as soon as you get into it. For those who believe dope beats, and dope rhymes is all takes for good Hip Hop, you’re given that at least five times, as Blu’s production falls short on a couple of tracks. Handful Of Dust is a great collection of work, however as soon as you start to nod your head it ends, leaving you anticipating the next release from ANTHM.