I first got put on notice of Aloe Blacc in 2002 when, as Emanon along with partner Exile, he released an EP (“Anon and On”) on Ill Boogie’s Ear Plug series. It was one of the year’s best EPs and contained one of the year’s best songs (“Do You Know”), featuring one of year’s best verses, courtesy Mr. Blacc. I was sold, I went digging and found some other rare Emanon releases and just kept asking myself how I slept.
I’ve had this EP for likely around 6 months or so and while I usually have a stack of 40+ CD’s to review at all times, it usually doesn’t take me that long to review something. Especially when I listen to it a lot. For whatever reason, I just preferred listening to this album rather than writing about it. But I gotta give Aloe the shine he rightly deserves, so here we go. “The Aloe Blacc EP” is just what it sounds like, an EP of Aloe Blacc; he wrote every song, he produced every song, hell, he even designed the cover artwork. The 8 track, 6 song EP clocks in at a brief 23 minutes, one of the few setbacks of the album. The EP’s brightest spots bookend the album, bringing the message in a contrasting manor. “Get Blacc” opens the album, a broadly scoped and thought-provoking song challenging the listener over a militant beat. “Stay Blacc” closes the album bearing similar content but delivered from a micro perspective. Blacc takes a comparable approach in addressing the opposite sex. While far from the misogyny of NWA’s song bearing the comparable name, “Not The One” delves into the uglier side of his female relations. “Close To Me” instantly flips that as Aloe presents his love song.
Throughout the EP Aloe airs out his personal relationships and his struggles, as you may be able to figure out from titles such as “Personal Business.” The difference from most is that Aloe is able to apply one concept to a bevy of situations so that his personal issues are presented on a platform that others can easily relate to. On “Real Homeys” he relates the story of a drifting friend while he details what makes a real friend. Unfortunately in this case, the song could use some work as the beat is dope, but doesn’t lend itself to being rhymed over, and the hook could use some work. Emanon’s “Anon and On” is still a better jump off if you are unfamiliar with Aloe Blacc, but this EP should still work to make anyone a quick fan; in just 23 minutes!! Dope stuff from Aloe, as always.