It is an interesting thing to note the evolution of emceeing
since the early days of Hip Hop music. During the pre-radio years, the rapper
was secondary to the DJ – helping to keep the crowd moving hypnotically to the tunes
blasting from the massive speakers. With the arrival of powerhouse rhymesayers
like LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane and (most
notably) Rakim in the mid ’80s, the
art of emceeing has been taken to a whole another level – ultimately surpassing
the coveted role of the turntablist as being the main entity in rap music. In
addition to eclipsing the “selecktas
in notoriety, stage presence and musical contribution, rappers like Jay-Z, Ice Cube and 50 Cent have catapulted their status as
emcees towards greater success by transforming into leaders in both business
and finance.

On Carnage,
Bronx-bred rapper Chaundon promises
to solidify his charismatic presence and establish his lyrical dominance in the
dog-eat-dog world of rap music. The Justus
affiliate injects the album’s soul-inflected songs with a myriad of
energetic punch lines, colorful metaphors and impressive wordplay. Beyond the
album’s display of Chaundon‘s brilliant
lyricism, Chaundon wants the money,
power and respect that are given to more established emcees who also share a
similar drive, passion and hunger. Nevertheless, the New York wordsmith’s latest effort proves
that his aching desire for individual achievement can be at odds with his
innate ability to make musical magic with other like-minded rappers.

As evidenced by the predominance of guest collaborations, the
Bronx emcee is at his best and most inspired when he decides to share the
spotlight and combine the strength of his lyrical energies with other formidable
Hip Hop vocalists. “Three Kings” is a great posse track, with the rapper
trading clever verses with Torae and
Skyzoo over thunderous drums and a
triumphant horn sample. On “Gone,” femcee Jean
ups the lyrical ante by providing a much-needed Yin to Chaundon‘s ferocious Yang in a cautionary
tale of murder, betrayal and infidelity. It is witty and entertaining as it is shocking
and profound. “We Are Here” (featuring G.O.D.,
Sha Stimuli
and DV Alias Khryst)
is another stellar display of the Bronx native’s knack for bringing the heat
when collaborating with other rappers of his caliber and finds the four of them
waxing poetically about the desire for worldly fame and fortune while trying to
remain true to themselves, their family and their chosen art form.

These days, the job of rapping can provide endless
opportunities for individual growth and achievement, especially for those cats who
are more than confident in their lyrical abilities and driven by the need to
succeed. On his latest full-length, Carnage,
the Hunts Point native appears to have the necessary tools to make it big on
his own but he shines the most when he shares his musical output with other creative
lyricists. In other words, Chaundon might
do extremely well by aligning himself in a group with other talented emcees
that will allow him to prove his individual worth and further develop his poetic
talents to the fullest.