Note: I meant to post this review a while back, but got caught up with the holidays. So while it may be a little dated, the project is dope enough that it more than deserves a post from me and a listen from you.
Despite a huge push from the media, I’m not excited about the Beatles’ move to Itunes in the least bit. For one, I hate buying music off of Itunes. Besides the fact that it takes all the fun out of digging, what happens if my computer/hard drive get’s stollen or destroyed? From personal experience, it’s much worse than getting a couple CD’s stolen or scratched. Secondly, I already own most of the Beatles catalog, and if you call yourself a fan of music, and you don’t have a ton of The Beatles, well that’s just embarrassing. They’re only the most culturally important musical group of all time. Without having to list all of the accomplishments that they had, and the insanity they caused while together as a band, take a moment to realize it’s been 40 years since they broke up, and they’re still all over T.V., the radio, getting written up in practically every major publication (whether dedicated to music or not), they have their own god damn video game, and the list goes on. Ridiculous.
Yet, there’s also a part of me that feels like I should look on the bright side about this. In a time when popular music seems severely lacking in creativity, it’s good to be reminded that there is still a fan base that genuinely appreciates innovative and quality musicianship, to the extent that they’re willing to actually pay money for it. Additionally, our recent, extremely toned down version of Beatles mania has already inspired other musicians in a tangible manner.
This month, Evidence of Dilated Peoples, and Twiz The Beat Pro, released a free, Beatles inspired project, entitled I Don’t Need Love. Much like the famed Gray Album mash up, I Don’t Need Love features a pairing of one MC and one sample based producer, utilizing strictly Beatles samples. Yet while the Gray Album was essentially a remix project from Danger Mouse, this album is an actual collaboration between Evidence and Twiz. Additionally, while Danger Mouse limited himself to just The Beatles’ White Album, Twiz took advantage of the entire Beatles catalog. The result of which turns out to be one hell of a release.
The thing that impressed me the most about this project was the production by Twiz The Beat Pro. Since Evidence himself is an ill and seasoned producer, he has a great ear for beats, and all of his albums have dope production whether it’s provided by himself or his homies. Yet at the same time, one would guess that if he was going to do a one MC, one producer project, it would most likely be with one of his high profile friends like The Alchemist, DJ Babu, or Sid Roams. Yet instead, Ev took a chance on a relatively new guy, and it paid off. I was first introduced to Twiz’s music just a few weeks ago when I was reviewing Copywrite’s The Life and Times of Peter Nelson. In that review I wrote that I was surprised by Twiz’s ability to stand out amongst veteran beatsmiths like RJD2, Khyrsis, and !llmind. After this project I would say his ability to provide top of the line production has been proven once again.
From start to finish, Twiz provides Evidence with straight ahead bangers. On tracks like “Because” and “Think’n Bout Thinking” ft. Fashawn, he’s able to combine Paul, John, and George’s ethereal vocal harmonies with heavy drums and thick bass lines to create genuine head nodders. Then when it comes to dealing with The Beatles classics, he’s able to let his creativity loose, and turn those tracks into something completely different and brand new. On “Let The Beat Flip”, if I didn’t have the background knowledge that every track would sample The Beatles, I most likely would not have been able to recognize the usage of elements from “Eleanor Rigby” (obviously that’s not considering the introduction). On the flips side, his transformation of “Come Together” into “Frame Of Mind” doesn’t attempt to hide the sample, yet still creates a song that stands on it’s own and sounds novel. This is a case in which knowing where the sample comes from enhances your opinion of the beat. While I see the stagnancy of the “Lines Of Cocaine” instrumental as Twiz’s one misstep, it is more than compensated for when Twiz is able to consistently provide hard hitting tracks like “If They Only Knew”. His work on this project, combined with what he did for Copywrite’s album, is enough to make me look forward to purchasing Twiz The Beat Pro’s collaboration album with MF Grimm, as well as to actively keep my eye out for future music involving his production.
On the vocal tip, Evidence provides what fans have come to expect. He’s perfected the slow flow over the years, and has used it to give a glimpse into who he is, what he’s been up to, and how he’s feeling at any given moment. A lot of his lyrics seem to reflect his undying love for hip-hop, but combined with a sentiment that making a career in music is not all it’s cracked up to be. Whether it’s having to deal with shady business men and executives, the change in tastes in regards to what fans are looking for, the lack of support from fellow artists, the constant travel, or the prevalence of serious drugs. Yet more than the specific subject matter, what really stands out about Evidence on this project is his consistency. On “If They Only Knew” Evidence mentions that he sometimes suffers from writers block and doesn’t always have the urge to write, but during the time that he worked on this record, the desire to put pen to paper was strong, and that fact definitely comes out in the music. While with even my all time favorite rappers, you can point out times on their albums that they were being a little lazy (how many times did 2 Pac rhyme black male, packed cell, and crack sale?) every verse from The Weather Man on this project is genuinely dope. It doesn’t seem like he slacked at any given moment, which is a rare feat. Albeit one that was made easier by the fact that I Don’t Need Love is only 8 tracks and 35 minutes long, which I happen to think is the perfect length of a hip-hop record. Cuz really, who wants to hear 28 songs in a row from the same artist of any genre?
To sum things up, there’s a lot of reasons to check out this album. The first being that it costs you absolutely nothing. The second is that Evidence reaches a great balance of the calm and comfort of being a veteran MC, with a level of consistency that is often only heard in up and coming rappers dying to kick start their career with each and every bar. The third is that it gives you an early peek into the works of Twiz The Beatpro, who judging from his recent music, will soon be a problem in the underground scene. Then finally, despite being a hard core hip-hop record, it’s still The Beatles from top to bottom. The interview snippets bring a sense of nostalgia, and the sample usage for me, created a renewed interest to go back and re listen to a lot of The Fab Four’s music.
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?2f4p55xwk23c661
2. Let The Beat Flip
3. Can’t Be Found ft. Rakaa Iriscience
4. Lines Of Cocaine
5. The World ft. Oh No
6. Frame Of Mind
7. If The Only Knew
8. Think’n Bout Thinking ft. Fashawn