Pimp Tea is dead. Figuratively speaking that is. The former Fredericton, New Brunswick emcee ditches the old moniker and reveals his fresh new alter ego of Brockway Biggs, now representing Ottawa's hip hop scene.
Ironically enough, before Biggs became an emcee he was also a hip hop reviewer for a good eight years and slowly made the transition into the emcee known as Pimp Tea (‘Positively Influencing More People to Excel Artistically'). With the release of two previous albums, "Power Is Mindful Peace" and "An Urbal Remedy," the new-found Brockway Biggs debuts his solo album "In Awe of Simplicity" with beats provided by Classified, Kevin Sakoda, Sean One, Nevski, and Rob Banks. The album also features Prentiss Church, Skratch Bastid, D.O., J-Bru, Boz Faramone, and Nicole Rushton on vocals.
Attempting to resurrect his innovative character and demeanor in the hip hop scene with the release of "In Awe of Simplicity," Biggs unleashes who he is as an emcee and as an artist. In "Heretics Heritage Intro" which features DJ STV, DJ Ducats, and another Canadian artist I have previously reviewed, Skratch Bastid, Biggs reintroduces himself as a self-proclaimed artist, emcee, and businessman to market and promote Brockway Entertainment. With his lyrics to defend his artistry, he proclaims he is "fighting back like Scorsese," Biggs shows he's not a quitter. With that in mind, he makes sure that no one forgets his original a.k.a. "Pimp Tea" as he reverts back to his namesake in the break featuring various cuts and samples.
With a retro, funk beat in "Invisible," Biggs claims as being "the emcee you'll never see…invisible, invincible, my words are indivisible." Continuing with the track's theme, Biggs raps about the drive and determination it takes to become an emcee regardless of the ongoing criticism. Instead of expanding on what I initially thought the track was about, the song takes an unusual turn with its dreadful sexual innuendos as he professes his infatuation for Latin females and attempts to rap in inaudible, broken Spanish.
Digressing from the old subject matter and sarcasm in previous albums, Biggs wanted to be taken more seriously as an artist in "In Awe of Simplicity" with a focus on realistic situations and self-exploration. With its slow guitar introduction, "Another Night" shows a lighter side to Biggs as he explores his own loneliness and solitude. The repetition of every day without a companion is expressed in a solemn manner. Biggs makes a huge change in being earnest and sincere with his lyrics, but unfortunately it is the beat that brings the track down. The recurrence of the same guitar and timed bass along with Biggs' predictable cadence and lyricism is disinteresting, to say the least.
Again, the positive message in "Your Vision" to "stick to your vision and don't let no one take you down" and showing how to deal with stress in "Overload" would be even stronger as album tracks if they possessed a more powerful beat and fierce lyricism from Biggs. Even with an attempt to introduce a rock infused beat from Biggs' brother Colin Neilson in "Overload," the repetition is overpowering and unexciting.
The jazzy, piano in "So Many Purposes" features Nicole Rushton, a local Christian radio host in Ottawa, on the vocals as Biggs provides a spiritual outlook on life. He shows that "in God I choose to trust" and reverts to the influences of a higher being in times of need. Although a stand out track in "In Awe of Simplicity" with its positive lyricism and subtle sounds, I couldn't help but feel the track was somewhat out of place amidst an album full of vulgarity.
Especially when I heard "Titty and Thong," I was appalled to even see a song about religion and God. With the attempt of a whimsical, lighthearted beat, Biggs shows that "I just want to see a little titty and thong because I know you're not quite ready to get it on." To make matters worse, Biggs has the audacity to make mention of Jesus as he says:
"Again Jesus died to redeem us from sin
I'm down upon my knees just to repent again
The media says it's okay to look, but not touch
Well I don't know if I believe that oh so much
See, titty and thong makes me think so much more
I don't know just a glance makes us less of a whore"
For future reference, one should never mention God, titties, and thongs in the same sentence! Now don't get me wrong. I wouldn't call myself a prude and I'm not particularly religious, but come on now. What happened to being tactful?
"Shake Ya Caboose" featuring Prentiss Church and D.O. is another disappointment in "In Awe of Simplicity" with its unoriginal train sounds for the introduction. Unfortunately, there isn't much to this track with its brainless lyrics, unimaginative beat, and annoying chorus as Biggs puts emphasis on the "ca" in caboose over and over again. It's a popular subject amongst rappers, but Biggs could be a little more creative with the topic at hand. If rappers can come up with songs such as "Shake It Like a Salt Shaker," I would hope that Biggs could go one step further.
"In Awe of Simplicity" is a prime example of the diligent efforts from an indpendent artist who fails to create an album full of cohesiveness and creativity. Brockway Biggs' attempt to rise up in the midst of his new representation and disposition comes at a price. By trying to transform the entirety of his music with the seriousness in subject matter, yet diving into the other side of the spectrum with distasteful tracks, we lose sight of who Brockway Biggs really is. The potential is definitely there, but he has a long way to go.
Music Vibes: 4.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 3.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4 of 10
Originally posted: October 16, 2007