Marcellous Lovelace is a smooth name if ever I heard one. You'd expect it maybe from a 70s soul singer or as the lead character in the latest Blaxploitation film. Instead Marcellus Lovelace is the name of a very socially conscious emcee who is trying to make a change on the independent level. The social nature of Lovelace is evident on his cover art as it features various Black leaders, pyramids, and artwork depicting slaves on a slaveship. His album, "David Walker's Travels," is full of social and political themes and an overall uplifting message. It really is more of an EP, as the disk features only eight songs, with the rest of the album being filled with instrumental versions 7 of the songs and a spoken word poem ending the album. Lovelace takes full advantage of these 8 tracks, showing a lot of promise and positive thinking that might take him places with a little polish.
The production on "David Walker's Travels" is good from start to finish. "Uncle Julius Mcadoo" features a laid back beat with a mellow loop. "Master of Papyrus" is actually a little bouncy when it comes to the drums and includes what sounds almost like a bagpipe sample, it sounds like an odd combination but it comes out dope. "Ain't Nothing Left" features an uplifting string arrangement that sounds so majestic it could have been lifted from the score of an epic film. Outside of these highlights, the beats tend to be head-nodding, though sometimes too repetitive.
As an emcee, Lovelace shows a lot of promise, both flow-wise and thematically. On "Uncle Julius Mcadoo," Lovelace relates his own life experiences and encounters with hatred all while urging people to stay true to themselves and not be afraid do their own thing. "Master of Papyrus" finds Lovelace spitting battle-type raps and actually dropping a few clever one-liners. "Ain't Nothing Left" consists of introspective reflections on life and challenges the listener once again. It is his willingness to tackle such issues that makes Marcellus Lovelace noteworthy. The man is the emcee equivalent of civil rights leader, as he preaches pro-Black ideas without the violence or militant mindset often associated with such a stance. In a different world you could imagine Lovelace backing Marin Luther King while dead prez would be in Malcom's corner. Though song titles like "Black Wall Street Missouri" and "Khufu" may seen unfamiliar and even abstract to some people, if they manage to get past that they will find a universal message that can be appreciated by all.
Flow-wise, Lovelace couples his positive message with a decent flow. He won't blow you away with his mastery of flow, like say Biggie or Pun, but he holds his own on "David Walker's Travels." He spends the majority of his time taking on a conversational flow, almost speaking to himself, as he ponders the problems he sees in hip-hop and society overall. He even does a decent job as a battle rapper on "Master of Papyrus" as he shows that he can get back to the roots of hip-hop when he wants to.
With all the positive things that can be said about Marcellus Lovelace, it should be noted that as all artists, there is always room for improvement. Being only 8 songs long, it is still unknown how Lovelace would hold up during an entire album. His mic presence could also use some work as the raw talent is there but it is not as refined as it could be. His political and social stance could also alienate listeners who can't see the universal message found beyond the surface. But overall Lovelace has succeeded in his mission with "David Walker's Travels" by staying true to himself and creating good music in the process.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10
Originally posted: April 12, 2005