In looking back through the annals of Hip Hop, it becomes apparent that few artists these days bring flavor. Although Hip Hop has expanded to a global platform, much of the commercially released music fails to elicit excitement from fans in search of an original experience.
Enter New Jersey emcee 8thW1. With the help of production duo 2 Hungry Bros., 8thW1 is out to serve up a fresh dish of Hip Hop. Unfortunately for the listener, however, 8thW1’s lyrical capabilities are undercooked throughout most of the project. Yet what saves the album from disaster are a number of key guest features and the 2 Hungry Bros. fantastically funky production.
When it comes to spitting rhymes, 8thW1 is no top chef. Although he displays a number of moments of lyrical finesse on the album, the majority of his bars are unrefined and almost amateurish. The anti-sugar anthem “Short and Sweet” is perhaps the most telling moment, as 8th trades his normal sing-songy flow for a club footed delivery, spouting insipid lyrics like “Kids turn fiends before they turn teens / Cavities a tragedy, get your teeth cleaned.” But 8th does have moments of brilliance, namely on the more braggadocio oriented cuts. The album’s opening track “Say My Name Right” is a testament to his lyrical abilities, finding the emcee spitting a tongue twister of a second verse that utilizes internal rhyming to the fullest extent.
Sadly, the quality of the album’s content lacks the flavor necessary to elevate the dish beyond tasting like day-old Burger King. He awkwardly tiptoes the line between rightfully conscious minded and overly sanctimonious, making No Room For Dessert a somewhat irritating listen. Songs like “Short and Sweet” drown in their own self-righteousness, while cuts like “Poppers” and “Skywriters” try too hard to observe the elements. Other songs like the insipid “Be On You” and the wholly grating “More Go” fall flat right from the get-go.
But 8thW1 does manage to craft a number of killer cuts. The song “Everyday” is a fantastic and insightful ode to the grind, while tracks like “Talkin’” and “Stupidface” are tight exercises in crafting punch lines. In addition, 8th seems to function while collaborating with others, as the songs “Can’t Win ‘Em All” with P.So and Fresh Daily and “No Harm” with Reef The Lost Cauze, Von Pea of Tanya Morgan and Homeboy Sandman fare the best of all the album’s 11 songs. The latter of the two in particular works the best, as Reef and Sandman save the track with their lyrical dexterity.
Although the album’s lyrical qualities are lacking, what holds Dessert together is the 2 Hungry Bros’ fantastic production. From the sparse and percussive “Poppers” to the funky, horn heavy “Say My Name Right,” the Brothers cook up the style of sample-heavy sonic masterpieces rarely heard in modern Hip Hop. To pinpoint the duos’ shining moment on this LP is wholly impossible, as tracks like the booming “No Harm,” the quieter “Skywriter” and the Large Professor-esque “Stupidface” all prove to be musical masterpieces.
At the end of the dish, however, a handful of expertly crafted beats can’t save the album. Dessert tries it’s hardest to be both positive and entertaining, but ultimately succumbs to lesser lyricism. There’s definitely room for dessert as this meal generally fails to fill.