A good album can draw similarities to a good game of poker. Sometimes you don't want to let anyone know what you're working with until they have no choice but to accept their fate and sometimes you want to put all your money into one formula, or hand, that you think can clear the table.
Fluent wastes no time laying down his aces as the first track of the LP stands above any to come later. "Guarantee" features a feel-good piano beat as he comes in with a laid-back, narrative flow that's sure to keep your ears at attention. His sound is a little reminiscent of an early Eminem but he's still doing his own thing.
"Jayne Harlett" proves that this MC can hold it down on the storytelling tip as he describes a meandering interaction with a mystical female. It all comes together with the contemplative hook:
"Ask yourself how you will ever know
If nothing is something until it starts to grow
But if that thing starts to fester you better cut it off
Amputate before it's too late and your caught
In the eye of the storm"
"Jack in a Bottle" features another upbeat piano loop, except with a little more of a pulse this time. Fluent lets us know that he has the ability to kick a hot rhyme with lyrics like this:
"My shits so hot it'll leave you arid
So groundbreaking, words push around thoughts
Like they were in a carriage
A track with masked men, verbal assassins
Murderous factions who were involved in all actions
Grab you by your boots
Until your legs become obtuse
And break loose, I'm the cryogenic clone of Zeus"
Unfortunately, all is not love and break-beats in the world of the underground famous, and it seems like this MC/producer duo threw too many chips into one hand. Throughout the album, the MC and the producer, 4 Eva Blesst, show that they're capable of different styles but for the most part the album sounds relatively one-dimensional. The subject matter is dispersed across the varied planes of dreams, emotional ruts, underground vs. mainstream, and battle lyrics. Even with this variance, many of the songs sound the same. 4 Eva Blesst uses much of the same sounds and drums throughout the album. The fact that the pianos in the album's gem "Guarantee" are used in several songs later throughout the album takes away from its spot on the pedestal and revokes the originality that was heard in the first listen.
Fluent is guilty of the monotony as well. Using the same example above, his laid-back flow and candid delivery that made the first track stand-out rarely changes throughout the album. The fact that he comes with the same cadence, flow, and delivery on the braggadocio "Dopest Lyricist" as the melancholic "Emotional Jail Time" is proof that this album thirsts for a change of pace.
"Repercussions" provides an opportunity to switch it up but it just isn't enough. However, the head-nodding strings and bass-heavy drums show a different side to the producer. And Fluent adds a little jolt to his style and speeds up the flow with more emotion in his voice. If anything else, this song can serve as a stepping stone for the next album. 4 Eva Blesst shows that he's capable of producing more diverse tracks while, flow aside, Fluent proves that he can hold his own on the lyrical tip. His relaxed style is worthy of a listen, it's just not something you want to hear on every track. If he can find a nice contrast to that style or merely just find a way to add a little fluctuation, he can provide listeners with a talented MC qualified to create thoughtful lyrics and a thoughtful sound to boot.
Music Vibes: 5.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: April 26, 2005