“I started out as a poet. I started out as a storywriter. My mother used to make me read the dictionary as a kid growing up so my vocabulary was always expanding and a lot larger than a lot of my other peers my age.” – Illogic

Listening to Capture The Sun, it’s easy to catch remnants of these memories. As Illogic freely admits, the expansive vocabulary and poetic style are still integral parts of his emceeing. With this skill set honed from an early age in Columbus, Ohio, Illogic built a name for himself in the independent Hip Hop scene in the early aughts. Now, Illogic has teamed up with Manhattan, New York’s Blockhead for Capture The Sun, following their two Preparing For Capture EPs.  

On Capture The Sun, Illogic exercises those poetic songwriting skills. Whether optimistic and upbeat (“Beautiful Sunday”), skeptical and upset (“Justified” featuring Blueprint) or melancholy (“Finally Free”), Illogic maintains these strengths with thought-provoking metaphors.

“There’s a gaping whole in the baskets we’ve placed our eggs in,” Illogic says on “Lighthouse.” “This explains the constant eggshell walking.” He also allows for personal introspection. “They found cancer in my retina when I was two,” he rhymes on “Bridges.” “Didn’t understand my blessing, thought it was a curse / Felt that God had forsaken me because I didn’t know my worth.” Later, he addresses his mother and father on “Last Breath (Family Fabric)” with a deeply personal dedication to their affectionate guidance. His start as a poet works well throughout the album, as Illogic crafts thoughtful and thought-provoking compositions to pair with Blockhead’s production.

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“I used to find samples in my parents’ record collection. I would just sit there and my dad had a bunch of cassettes. I would go through old Duke Ellington albums and I’d just find stuff.” – Blockhead

Blockhead’s appreciation for samples certainly drives the sound on Capture The Sun. From string loops (“Pillow Dreams”) to jazzy instrumentation (“One Way Ticket” featuring Zero Star) to catchy up-tempo cuts (“Live from the Horizon” and “Beautiful Sunday”), Blockhead shines as a producer. He also provides versatility in that regard. Moreover, Blockhead experiments to great success, for instance, going through an entire verse that tops the one-minute mark without drums (“Lighthouse” featuring Kristoff Krane). Block also adds to Ill’s lyrics with instrumentation to compliment his words. Check the thunder and rain on “Finally Free” and how it blends into “One Way Ticket” or the speeches incorporated in both “Justified” and “One Way Ticket.” With all of this, Blockhead shows what can happen when a producer and an emcee fuse their styles successfully.

Overall, Illogic and Blockhead collaborated on a strong release here. Detractors may complain about Illogic’s flow being unorthodox. Others may criticize Blockhead’s instrumentation for also being unconventional. However, both artists bring some of their most inspired work to date to the table with this offering. Earlier this year, HipHopDX named Capture The Sun one of the site’s “Most Anticipated Albums of 2013.” The expectation was that the duo would create “evocative music and intimate songwriting.” With Capture The Sun, Illogic and Blockhead delivered on both counts.