Old School Rap Songs - Al Burrell
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Published on Jun 15, 2012
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Al Burrell is an enigma of sorts; one that I do not believe is by design. A left-click onto his Bandcamp page will take you to a very minimal landing page, with a white background, black text, and not much else. The album artwork dose not look like rap music!, though not offensive or hard to look at, does little to hint toward what the listener should expect from the music itself. The only hints I could gather were the couple search engine tags at the bottom of the page, "Old School hip hop / Old School Rap / rap music and Old School Rap Songs. Fair enough, I suppose.
Old School Rap
In a situation such as this, what's the only valid path to take? Just listen to the damn music already!
The opener, "Intro," hits with immediacy, and has an incredibly high-tempo, good old school feel to it. Full of shout-outs, big claims, and some braggadocio, it really whets the taste buds with excitement for some dope lyricism.
Burrell doesn't disappoint. The first actual track, "Something Gonna Happen," hits with another incredibly well-sampled beat, and then pushes nothing but intelligent and introspective lyrics into the listener's head. This isn't run-of-the-mill at all. This isn't your friend with Fruity Loops making beats in his basement. At least, I don't think it is. If so, Burrell is doing an extremely good job of hiding it.
I really have to give a big nod to the production. It sounds like some of the best parts of your favorite Talib Kweli or Mos Def records. The use of sampling is respectable to say the least, and wicked awesome to say the most. My only complaint is that I really wish grooving tracks like "Wreck Shit 4 U" and "I Use To Love Her" would last just a little longer.
"Steel City" is another great pensive track, which effectively paints a picture of some of the many horrors of the streets, and also gives Burrell a sufficient outlet to reveal his perspectives on gang and race-related issues as well as how rap music is used against us.
The album ends with "Murder Syndrome Old School hip hop music," an in-depth story track that commendably keeps your attention throughout, and rounds out the album really well.
In the end, I think the minimalism of the Bandcamp page is intentional, in order to leave me expecting little and receiving much, much more.
Seriously, if you like old school hip-hop in any way, shape, or form, there's a very strong chance you'll enjoy Al Burrell's "My Promise Vol. 1."
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