Overall Grade/Rating: A-
Subject Matter: A-
Replay Value: B-
Fav Songs: “Make It Over,” “Yesterday,” The E.N.D.,”Shine Your Light,” “In Bruges”
Least Fav Songs: “Aloe Be Thy Name”
Play or Nay: Play
Critique: Emanon returns after over a decade absence with a dark, yet enlightening reentrance. The new album, Dystopia, is the polar opposite from the duo’s debut album, The Waiting Room. The latest release separates itself from the previous in the sense that the content is a lot more subversive.
Aloe steps down from his soul podium , and returns to his poetic roots with lines such as, ” it’s a new world order and we are trapped/ in this millennium armageddon’s just around the block/ who the hell is comin’ with me?/ let me throw the first rock.” Instead of serenading listeners with his signature sampling techniques, Exile delivers bleak masterpieces that aid Aloe in delivering his end is near message.
This revamped version of Emanon gives listeners a reality check much needed during the age of mumble rap and lean inspired lyrics. Aloe’s wake up call on “Death Is Fair” reminds us that mortality is real, and draws attention to the bamboozled state of society. He digs deep into the American political conscious with bars such as, “cancer patients waitin’ while senators take vacations,” and manages to go beyond domestic concerns to touch on foreign affairs in a short 3 minutes.
The aren’t many turn up moments on Dystopia, the one time the album shifts gears is with “Aloe Be Thy Name.” The cool Busta Rhymes voice samples intertwined throughout the Bachesque organ based track makes the song the most upbeat out of the others. What makes up for the lack of tempo fluctuations is of course the content and Exile’s execution as producer, but also the few features on the album add to the appeal.
Westcoast favorites Blu and Co$$ both make an appearance on the album to support Aloe on his lyrical marathon. This is a formula that wasn’t present on the Emanon debut, but definitely works here. Exile takes listeners back to the sound his fans would be more familiar with on “Yesterday” where Blu makes his cameo appearance. Co$$ shows up on the second most hyped track, “Come One Come All.”
Overall the Emanon reunion is like a healthy meal of veggies and protein. It’s something you need, and your soul will thank you for it. However, it’s definitely not the junk food you may crave on the radio daily, and that’s a good thing. Follow @exileradio and @aloeblacc for upcoming shows and other updates.