With about two decades in the game since his debut release, Edo G is hitting supporters off in 2011 with A Face in the Crowd. As a 42-year old rapper, Edo G’s veteran skills are certainly on display here as he challenges new audiences to acquire a taste for ’80s-’90s nostalgia while giving others an interesting trip down memory lane.
Edo rides through that memory lane in smooth fashion. With DJ Premier’s Midas scratch, “Fast Lane” is actually a mellow throwback, a nearly perfect Premo product. A skit later, “I Was There” has Edo boasting about a young Common giving him his demo, seeing Gang Starr’s initial years, watching Yo! MTV Raps and more. “I was there,” he rhymes, “when emcees was leaders and achievers, believers. But nowadays, they’re all divas.” “Stop It” also shows his perspective while seeing younger people, advising young men to grow up and mothers to go home to their children, among other things. Later, “Speak Ur Mind” (featuring M1) and “Life” (featuring a show-stealing Chali 2na), serve as standout cuts. The soulful vibes are then highlighted on “Righteous Way,” a definite must-hear on the album. If only the entire album had that vibe.
Instead, there are times when Edo’s album takes steps back. Skits are abundant and they are great at times, but some take away from the flow of the album. In the same way, cohesion is lost when Edo strays from the sounds that make him great. While versatility is nice, it can be a detriment to play outside of your role. For Edo, “Drink Up” puts him out of place, making his flow sound as if someone layered his vocals over a different instrumental in a blend. “One, Two” has the same effect. Edo G’s flow may be a knock for some, as well, since it rarely changes. Yes, that’s what has given him such a lengthy career but over a lengthy album, it can be monotonous at times. Perhaps the album could have been better served as a shorter offering.
For a veteran who has seen it all come and go, longevity is to be applauded. With A Face in the Crowd, Edo G shows why he can still get in a mic booth and spit more worthy bars than many competitors who are more than a decade younger. However, this album will not draw him closer to newer fans or to household name status, leaving him to many, as another “Face in the Crowd.”