In the beginning Muneshine made his name as a cross-border hip-hop producer, lacing American and Canadian talent alike with top quality beats. Eventually he flipped the script and dropped an album of original raps, relying on others like Illmind and Oddisee to provide the sonic landscape – with effective results on both counts. 2012’s “There Is Only Today” is a return to that form, with the producer turned emcee relying on the beats of others to largely carry him forward, though he does sneak in a couple of his own here and there. One such track is a song where he shares billing with Canadian rap favorite D-Sisive.
Muneshine: “I’m just like you, I’m tryin to find a voice
that’s mine and mine alone, to make the wise choices
I’m tryin to find a home in the face of my poignance
I’m grown, but I’ve grown sick of living by these coin flips
I’m sick of bein sick of bein sick
I’m tired of bein tired, but I dream of bein rich
And whinin isn’t helpin so I’m grindin I ain’t helpless
Really I ain’t selfish, I just feed the feedless”
One of the beats really caught me out there though – Jeff Spec’s production on “Home Sweet Home.” The beat is dope, but I’ve heard it before and I know exactly where – Rasul Syed’s “Hi” from the DJ Cosm “Time and Space” album. Given everybody involved is Canadian this is definitely more than a coincidence – either Jeff Spec produced the Syed track uncredited (and I was sure DJ Cosm produced his own album based on the press kit), or Mune liked the beat and decided he could flip it his own way with a few minor variations. Arguably a third possibility exists – they independently arrived at the same break and both decided to flip it in almost the same way – but to me that seems exceedingly unlikely. Whatever the reason I like the break so much that I’m going to give everyone involved a pass.
Things are much more clear cut on the other 13 tracks though. M-Phazes flips the bopping and colorfully melodic “Do Me” with Dminor providing a lyrical assist – and trust me it’s no Father MC track. Buckwild gets exactly that on the symphonically strong “Lower Level,” while DJ Grouch cuts and slices Chuck D spitting the words “comin from the lower level” to perfection, a fact immediately acknowledged by Muneshine in the first verse. Illmind handles the R&B samples and strings of the title track, and a few new names jump in the mix as well – BoomBaptist on the oddly compelling “Cry Baby,” Freddie Joachim bangs the simply hard hitting “Starter Jacket” (with another D-Sisive appearance) and Shinogo takes us all the way back to “Sixteen Twenty Nine.” By Muneshine’s account, it’s not a good number:
“No I’m no drug abuser
Cocaine, no thanks, Punky Brewster
Oprah Win’s Charlie Sheen, but much cooler
And cardiac arrest, yes that’s a rough maneuver
To move hurt – I woke hardly breathing, heart bleeding
The heart fell apart, this young heart took a beating
My art took a meaning that fateful morning
I thanked Eric for his company, I’m grateful for it
Sticky tabs, pullin chest hairs, catheter for blood draws
Cat scans, fat chance of answers and at what cost?
Lost, with no House for diagnosis
In a room of 360+ men cryin hopeless”
If you hadn’t already guessed “Sixteen Twenty Nine” is not a year – it’s a hospital room. Muneshine is a man who has faced his own mortality and come out on the other side newly determined to take his hip-hop hustle to the next level. I pray then that you understand when I say that “There Is Only Today” is not better than “Larger Than Life” you read that review to understand the context, because writer Pete T. found that to be a compelling and enjoyable album. I agree with his assessment and find that “There Is Only Today” doesn’t break new ground, but still finds itself to be a worthwhile and highly pleasurable listen tredding the same steps as before.