Great album, although I agree with Pat that if a few tracks were cut it would have been better.
However, to me "The One" is a great track. I mean, you can hear his passion and fury through his voice. I got that same vibe on many tracks on the album (Say Goodnight, Suicide Note, Big Dreamers + more).
For 2008, when very few have anything to say and even fewer seem to be able to deliver it in a believable manner, this album is one of the year's best. An 8/10 album for me, I just wish a couple of the tracks had been cut. As for replay value, only time will tell, but I've been listening to it over and over again.
So I received package yesterday. Booklet is quiet modest but it's not the most improtant thing. Whole album is one of the best this year! It's worth any money. I love tracks like "How Can It Be", "All in One", "Pray For Me" or "Prey For me". Whole album is really really dope! I'm not dissappointed, go COP the album.
I somewhat agree with flowzz that the album takes a drop halfways through. It's not that the 2nd half is terrible or even average, but the tempo really slows down and just about every song on the first half is a standout imo. If the album had about 13 tracks, it would be no doubt the best album of the year.
Top 5: Say Goodnight, Stages, All In One (5 Mics), Black Cream (The Negro Epidemic), Pray For Me
Grade: (4/5) A-
Ive been bumpin this album a good bit recently, and i think its really dope. I dont think the quality slips in the second half, it does become more mellow, and i think people were really feeling the first half of the album, which definitly thumped.
"Stages" is dope, as is "All in One", and his impression of Pun is exradionary, as is "Premonition", "Cry Baby", but i think my favourite track is "Cry Baby".
This is overall a very good album, and may be contendor for album of the year along with Elizhi, EMC and Atmosphere.
my favorite album this decade...as talented as jay-z
"the truth is usually seen and rarely heard" -GZA
Being from MA and having met Reks a handful of times, I felt I needed to give a track by track review on one of my personal favorite albums:
1. Grey Hairs [Prod. by Blaze P]
Hype intro track, not one of the album's best, but still an above average track to kick it off. 3.5/5
2. The One [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
This track really sets the tone as Reks unleashes a tirade on a variety of topics- one of the reasons I like him so much. The beat matches his intensity, forcing the listener to pay attention. 4.5/5
3. Say Goodnight [Prod. by DJ Premier]
Classic Primo banger, and Reks saves some of his best lyrical work for possibly the greatest producer ever, showing respect and really doing this beat justice. Might have been the best track of 2008. 5/5
4. How Can It Be [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
I love this beat by Statik, and the last verse by Reks is one of his best on the entire album. 5/5
5. Stages [Prod. by Large Professor]
Good concept and a good song overall, but being a huge fan of Large Pro's production I must admit I was a little let down by the beat. 3.5/5
6. All In One (5 Mics) (w/ Lil Fame (of M.O.P.)) [Prod. by Blaze P]
If you ever doubted Reks' dedication to the game, listen to him mimic the voice, flow and swag of 4 of the greatest emcee's of all time. A great tribute, and a gutsy concept to attempt, but Reks really pulls it off with Lil Fame acting as his hype man. 5/5
7. Next 2 Me [Prod. by DC The Midi Alien]
Another very good track that unfortunately doesn't stand out because of the sheer quality of the album. 3.5/5
8. Money On The Ave (w/ Skyzoo) [Prod. by Soul Theory]
Well produced, the bass line on this track really makes this a smooth listen. Skyzoo is a great feature as he is only of the only emcees out that can hold his own next to Reks. It may be a tired topic, but the quality of the lyrics gives it a fresh take. 5/5
9. Black Cream (w/ Big Shug) [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
Love him or hate him, Big Shug has a presence on the mic that many more lyrically inclined rappers lack. Plus, he isn't bad as a singer on the hook either. 4/5
10. Love Sweet Misery [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
Not much to note here, good track that doesn't stand out, but keeps the album moving along. 3/5
11. Rise [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
Same as above, better lyrically, but still doesn't stand out. 3/5
12. Telescope (w/ Jon Hope & Lucky Dice) [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
I really like this beat from Statik, and Jon Hope is great addition for this type of track. 4/5
13. Day 2 [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
Probably the weakest track on the album, the only one I can really say could have been left out. 2.5/5
14. Premonition (w/ Termanology & Consequence) [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
Another great Statik beat, this album truly is his best work. Both guests don't let Reks down here, strong overall. 4/5
15. My Life (w/ Paula Cambell) [Prod. by Blaze P]
Change of pace here, but I really love this track. A different side of the normally ferocious side of Reks, and Blaze P really kills the production. 5/5
16. Cry Baby [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
Again, another nice track that doesn't really stand up to the rest of the classics on here, but also is still a good listen. Even when Reks misses, he is still better than most. 3/5
17. Long While [Prod. by 1914]
Reks paying homage to his roots, and the beat is nice as well. A track that many can really relate too. 4/5
18. Big Dreamers (Lawtown Remix) (w/ Termanology & Krumb Snatcha) [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
Great remix here, adding the Lawrence talent to the original makes this memoir even more dynamic. Krumb is a legend in Lawtown, and I was hyped to see him on the remix. 4.5/5
19. Isiah [Prod. by Demo]
One of the mist personal tracks you'll ever hear from Reks, really heartfelt and the hook is one of his best. I love the guitar loop in the beat, amazing track. 5/5
20. Pray For Me [Prod. by Statik Selektah]
Reks really hits the nail on the head here, calling out names but he has a purpose in doing so that most rappers cannot duplicate. As he says, this is a diss but more of an eye opener from someone who bleeds hip hop and has deep roots in his knowledge of the history of rap. This is the perfect ending track to a modern classic. 5/5
Overall, I'll admit my review may be a little biased, but its hard to argue that this isn't one of the best albums in the new millenium. Reks touches on a lot of topics while still creating a cohesive, lyrically superior album with top-notch production. His style and skills remind me of golden era hip hop more so than any other post-2000 debut emcee, and for that alone i consider this a modern classic. I have to give it a 10/10 even though I don't love all the tracks, because when Reks hits as he does many times here, its just better than anything else coming out these days.
"the truth is usually seen and rarely heard" -GZA