A funky guitar slices through the silence. A chilled voice gives the plucks some company, but as of now the genre is still ambiguous. Is it rock? Is it funk? Then bam! A kick drum to the dome, pulsing hi-hats, and a mellow voice suddenly fitting in like an instrument to an orchestra and voila'! We've got a banger folks.
"What's the Reason" was the right platform to let Cali's own Elyops kick his new album "The Ops Lp" from. But, what happens from there? A diver can hop off of the right diving board, but if there's no water in the pool, then the platform is nothing but a convenience for injury.
The next stand-out track comes about three songs later with the motivational, yet shamelessly truthful "Today."
"It's a new life, so get ready for the ride
Put the petal to the floor and the petty to the side
Put the focus on the mission
And the mission in perspective
Then make the adjustments that's going to be the most effective"
The stripped down beat consists of a simple, soothing guitar riff and a placid drum line. This caters to the MC because it gives him space and compliments his most obvious flaw; mic presence. As mentioned above, he can often times be found lurking beneath the beat, almost like another instrument on the track. But his laid back delivery reclined a little too far and unfortunately found a comfort zone a under the blanket of the music. Sometimes he even defers to an inaudible mumble that can go on for almost minutes, as heard, wasted on the particularly dope, gospel-country tinged beat for "This the Shit." I frequently found my focus drifting to the music and almost forgetting there was someone actually saying something to it.
When trying to listen, it's clear that this MC does take his lyrics seriously and it's a serious shame that he doesn't represent them like he probably could and definitely should. In his press kit, his story is revealed and it's obvious he has a different perspective than most. He was in a fatal car crash that crushed some vertebrae and left him stationary in a hospital bed for two months. When one comes so close to death and returns to talk about it, the knowledge gained is priceless, as heard on "Good Comes the Bad."
"I'm on a road trip, no script, just adlibbing my living
Lately I've been re-thinking about how every decision
I've been making in the past has been shaping my ass
And how life aint all about running around chasing the cat
There's a meaning, a purpose and that's my reason to resurface
So I take a deep breath, breathe in the earth
They say we reap what we sow, I'm trying to make some alterations
Cuz I'm tired of the unnecessary altercations
These distractions are impairing got me almost not caring
Adding extra wear and tear to the load I'm already bearing
And I want to take advantage of the time I manage
And every op that pops we only get so many chances
Dealing with my shortcomings is long overdue
Like the sun finally rising, has it ever dawned on you?
That we get out what we give in
Create the world we live in
We either active or we passive
We drafting or drifting"
Clearly this is no P-Diddy, because he writes his rhymes and reality checks. This is Elyops at his best, this is what holds the album up; lyrics from the heart.
As important as the lyrics are to an album, they're still only one aspect and even this one aspect can be affected by others. In this case, the delivery doesn't seem to be taken as seriously as the content. What good is your favorite pizza if the delivery takes two hours? Are you even going to tip the delivery boy? Well, I am. Elyops, add some more life to your voice, rap like you really want to be heard. If this advice is taken, then you'll surely gain a hungry following with an appetite for more.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: May 3, 2005