There comes a time in any form of music when the current state suddenly becomes stagnant, and one finds a need to look deeper for more. FuseONE is just one of many rappers who are taking things in their own control without permission, to insure that the integrity of the music is kept alive for the next phase. While "Gypsy Radio" is a mere 10 songs long, those 10 songs prove that the next phase is already in effect.
What gets me about fuseONE is not only his lyrical wit, but his confidence on his mic, which happens when he reveals some of his most deepest thoughts and emotions. You are not going to find any lyrics here about the luxuries of alcohol, automobiles, plush linen, or 40 brand name endorsements passing off as a legitimate verse.
Instead, what you do get is a man who takes each word, line, verse, and song structure very seriously, the mind games involved are intentional. However, those mind games are simply the sign of adulthood and maturity, and it will hit people at any time, as he makes clear in the album's opener, "Burn".. For fuseONE, he's looking for a sense of sanity in a very hectic world, so he suggests smoking some hash to calm his soul:
"All my troubles seem to vanish like I'm lying on a beach
I can actually close my eyes, pretend like I can sleep
Maybe I'll stop hating myself and finally have a moment's peace"
This is the core of what fuseONE seems to be about, looking into himself and exposing the problem, hoping that by talking through it, he will find answers. The production by Crood, where he samples choirs and Indian classical music, only adds depth to the search for inner peace, a slight spiritual touch dropped in one's personal plea to get out of hell.
My favorite track is "Emerald City Wizards", which manipulates the dreams found in the city of Oz and takes it to present day situations. What I like about it is that it sounds like a journey from start to finish, thanks to fuseONE's enthusiasm and the tight production style of Captin Planit. With a chant at the beginning that takes the song home, it becomes slightly psychedelic with the sound of the santoor, quickly becoming the heart of the song. But the psychedelic qualities are, of course, only in the mind, and one has to do is concentrate on the song's meaning in order to find the truth.
The truth, however, isn't always pleasant, as he discovers in "Shape Of Character". Up to this point, it almost feels as if you've been sitting down in someone's therapy session. The song's eerie dark tones, mixed in with shades of Art Of Noise, are a clue of what to expect in the song
"I can't be killed with drugs, I'm gonna be with you forever
And believe me when I tell you, it'll get worse before it gets better
I'm a whirlwind of sin, and I can take the air you breathe
I'll shove you off a cliff in your own desperate time of need
And I love it when you suffer, and I laugh when you're in pain
I'm crawling under your skin, infecting the blood inside your veins
I'm haunting every thought and poisoning all your aspirations
Be glad I'm in your head, 'cause I'm your creative inspiration"
fuseONE is helped here by UnAuthordox, who compliments him in a way that almost sounds like they are two sides of the same brain. Together, they come to the conclusion that sadness is what tears the soul apart, and yet it also is the source of some of the greatest music ever created.
Rap music comes in many different forms, yet a lot of these forms aren't widely accepted by everyone who loves hip-hop. There was a time when "keeping it real" was the catch phase of the day. As Kurt Cobain once said, the average listener "don't know what it means" anymore because for the most part, it doesn't exist. The thin line between modern day "hip-hop" and the "underground" somehow widens on a daily basis due to regional bias and close-minded preferences. What has kept rap music as a whole stagnant for almost a full decade is the unwillingness of some to allow the music to grow. By opening himself up to the world a bit more than the average rapper, we get to see not only a gifted MC in the making but a human with a heart. How much of today's rap music has heart? Rap music is a modern day tinman, but at the end of the day, fuseONE knows there's no place like home.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10
Originally posted: November 25, 2003