In 2008, Masta Ace, Wordsworth, Punchline and Stricklin formed eMC. The self-proclaimed supergroup debuted The Show to high praise but subsequently put the brakes all activity after an international tour. Now, following a sufficient hiatus, they’re back.
The Turning Point is smartly structured. Deviating from traditional EP format, the album contains arguably superfluous skits interluding each track. Masta Ace has frequented them over the years as a way of aurally cinematizing his work. Four of the six are phone calls between Ace and the rest of the group. Their comedic antics display their personalities and are also good for some laughs. Wordsworth, for instance, is the head of a dysfunctional daycare when he gets his call from Ace about the group getting back together.
None of the emcees have lost a step since The Show. Powered by the fleeting presence of ‘90s inspired Hip Hop, each member has a bone to pick with the Rap game today. Perhaps the sentiment is best expressed by Punchline on “Verified” when he says, “This era makes me want to blow my brain like Kurt Cobain.” As four lyricists who cut their teeth on the underground circuit, they’re abundantly lucid in their disdain for the current state of Hip Hop. On “Sweet Potato Fries,” Masta Ace raps: “Everything we spitting is accurate / Immaculate, most cats lack on the track when they rapping after it / Try to duplicate but you hate ‘cause there’s no matching it / You can try to race and chase, but there’s no catching it / There four cats are smashing it / This game ain’t the same, and most of you lames won’t last in it.” Asserting his and his crew’s clout, Ace is still on point at 47 years young. And he, Punch, Words and Strick are still unfazed by the competition.
Production is handled by Pav Bundy, 14KT, DJ SCIENZ, Deborah’s Son and Quincey Tones. All of the producers succeed at making classic East Coast flavored beats with a new school touch, and each one is precisely mastered. On “The Coolest,” Deborah’s Son skillfully intertwines Reggae with Hip Hop to create a truly infectious beat. They all sound different, but the beats admirably capture the vibe of eMC.
The lone takeaway from The Turning Point, however minor it may be, is the hooks. While the beats and verses are consistently great, the choruses are at times peculiar; either uncharacteristic of the group’s true essence (“Stay Busy,” “The Turning Point”) or just out of place (“Verified”). Being that a good chunk of the album is a critique of contemporary trends, it’s a a bit baffling the crew chose to utilize soulful hooks on the former two. Nevertheless, every other aspect of the album trumps this small caveat.
Overall, The Turning Point is very good. For an EP, six tracks and skits make for a generous listen altogether. And everyone has their moment in the sun. The group also establishes an effective comedic angle between the skits and the screaming Dave Chappelle sample on “Charly Murphie.” Jokes aside, if the allusion to an upcoming full-length album and tour—as mentioned in the “AMG-PSA” skit— is true, then fans should be quite excited for what’s to come from eMC.