In 2015, we’ve all seen and heard the various ways that rappers can manipulate the English language, and it’s no longer as impressive as it was for experienced listeners. If anything, the phrase “less is more” tends to make for better Hip-Hop. Even lyric-heavy elements of Hip-Hop such as battling have become so complicated that they end up being tests of who can memorise the most intricate written verse. Acronyms haven’t fared much better, and ever since C.R.E.A.M. and KRS-One became installed in listeners minds, we’ve tolerated countless dubious collections of letters that are supposedly clever examples of wordplay.
“The M.O.N.E.Y.” stands for The Motive of Nearly Everybody, Yo. Ignoring the comma and forced used of Yo, this suggests that the ST Da Squad member is dedicating an LP to why society chases dollars. One could argue that everybody is motivated by money because we wouldn’t be able to survive in modern society without it, but the prospect of an emcee called Ea$y Money sharing his financial tips and get rich quick schemes is something I want in on, being a tight-wad myself.
The obligatory DJ Premier single “Nothin’ Alike” is one of the better tracks from Preem, but Ea$y’s concept of being completely unique to what other rappers are rhyming about is nonsense. An album with a central theme of money and with Ea$y spending much of it sharing how he hustles and is driven by cash, is what a lot of rappers are doing, and have been doing for years now.
Ea$y Money is a sturdy if not spectacular emcee, with a smooth, confident presence. He doesn’t overdo the internal rhymes like compadre Termanology often falls back on, and it means the album is easy to listen to. Lyrically, the loose theme of money is often pushed aside in favour of pornographic imagery – every track has a line about ejaculating on various females’ faces. It could be Ea$y’s ‘thing’ if it was cleverly worked in to different tracks but it never is. The only time it is done like this is by guest Wais P with his rhyme “she gonna blow me anyway, may as well put her money where her mouth is”.
Statik Selektah holds down the majority of the production and following his excellent work with Joey Bada$$, he continues to impress. It’s a shame that Ea$y Money doesn’t deliver anything as memorable as Mr. Bada$$, who also has a $-based name and acronym for an album on the shelves. There are some harmless head-nodders that make up the first half of the album, but the second half loses some energy as Ea$y throws down some sentimental tracks. “Love ’em Back” is a peculiar one, as it sees Ea$y take the Gandhi approach to rap and throw love back to anybody who hates on him or his music. “The M.O.N.E.Y.” isn’t going to incite feelings of love or hate, as it is a safe record that never quite fulfills the potential (or message) of its lead single “Nothin’ Alike”. There are plenty of Hip-Hop albums like this, and it’s difficult to justify laying down “The Motive of Nearly Everybody Yo” on this one.