We first heard Chazz Rokk on his "Rokk the Spot" album. While the majority of the lyrics were heavily one sided towards bragging and battling, his voice was fresh and showed promise. We were teased with Chazz's ability to write much deeper lyrics on the track "Essence", an introspective, reflective track. The production was sporadic and inconsistent, most likely due to the fact that so many different producers contributed beats to the album. Its one year later and Chazz is back with "Landed On Us". With production being mostly overseen by ILLmind and some guest appearances, Chazz is poised to offer a high quality sophomore effort.
After flexing his battle rap muscle on the first few tracks, including the slow moving and dark "Good As Gone" featuring the Boom Bap Project, we're served up some state-of-the-industry aimed lyrics on "Business is Business":
"Underground, mainstream, what's the difference?
The sides of music both know business is business
We all do it for the passion we all do it for the love
No matter your stand point we all living for the bucks
See them dudes on TV sayin' they ain't got skill
It's been like that they just tryin to pay they bills
Claim the industry's sleepin, well look who's dreamin'
Ya think ya sound good, appeal on MTV kid?
I been keeping it real for seventeen years of my life
If Puffy came to me with enough dough to change what I write
I can't front man, 'cause I'd mostly likely contemplate it
It'd have to be real to know if I would or wouldn't take it"
Next is "Fall Blues", arguably the best track on the album, featuring violin and flute melodies that compliment Chazz's voice perfectly. Chazz is Laotian, a fact he almost never refers to, though it is constantly detected in his high-pitched tone of voice. The track's chalk full of astute lyrics, and, after making the metaphorical connection with weather and life's hardships, he presents some very self-aware lines:
"Like everybody I know loses someone close
Loses a soul, but for some reason it hits home
I can see that pain in my sight, I feel for they life
I trip 'cause I can't find the words to make it right
I hold it inside, It's rare to see me cry
That don't mean that I'm strong, can't carry on sometimes
Too confused to tear, to protect my fear
Refuse to share what's goin on in my atmosphere
I got a tendancy to bottle up emotion
Push away all the people, who seem to be the closest
I don't hate ya, understand that's my nature
The challenge is in front of me I gotta face up
Overcoming obstacles without opting to lose
Never stopping move you without option to choose
I realize this is life and I gotta live it
Even if I ain't givin back what I'm giving"
After "Keep It Movin'", a head-nodding track which definitely does just that, comes "The Life That I Write":
"I do this for my fam, carry out the plans I had
The pact that I had when I first created Chazz
And what's that? Never let 'em see you weak
Get on your feet, project every time you speak
And every time you reach, you go for the peak
Advancing leaps, never give a chance for defeat
Never give up even when you can't breathe
Because the downfall is when you say you can't believe
Take it in stride, knowing that I'm alive
Yet to get where I'm goin, but I see the gold in my eyes"
This is definitely some effective, intelligent advice, especially notable coming from a seventeen year old emcee. The second half of the album isn't as strong as the first. "Over Here" is somewhat of a baller/player type song. Unfortunately, Chazz is shown-up by SmOOth on the track, who's deeper voice fits compliments the beat much better than chazz's high voice. "What It's All About" and "The Way It Goes Outro" have almost a disco feel to them. Though he deserves some credit for trying this style, they aren't put together well and don't quite fit with the rest of the album. "One Time" features Braille and Ohmega Watts who, with Chazz, offer up a balanced song, trading verses and lines throughout the chorus.
Through more songs featuring insightful lyrics and better beats than his first album, Chazz's sophomore effort is definitely a step in the right direction. Many of the songs, however, left me wishing there was more meat to them. In addition, the faster paced beats left much to be desired and were unoriginal. My only other complaint about this album is that it clocks in at less than 42 minutes, not including three skit-type tracks. Chazz Rokk's "Landed On Us" is a good album, but he has plenty of room to improve. Luckily for us, he's a young emcee and there should be many great albums to come in the future.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5.5 of 10
Originally posted: June 26, 2003