Collaborations are always great on paper, but rarely do they translate into great music. When I say collaboration I don't mean Timbaland producing your latest single, I mean teaming up for an entire album with the same producer. Despite how great producer A and rapper B might be on their own, put together they usually lack the chemistry needed for a collaboration to work. E-Dot and Darpmalone are exceptions to this rule as the two artists collaborate to form Hero. Darpmalone handles the production full time, while he and E-Dot share the duties on the mic.
In all honesty, E-Dot ends up benefiting the most out of this relationship since great lyrics are nothing without good music. Darpmalone's a gifted producer who gives E-Dot a variety of beats to work with. "Mogadishu" is a lively and uplifting mix of guitar riffs and synth melodies. "Lonely Sunday" finds Darpmalone combining a croaking bassline and funky piano melody. "Take Me Away" darkens the mood with a Carlos Santana inspired guitar melody and Caribbean drum patterns. Darpmalone more than pulls his share of the weight on this album, but E-Dot also shows us why he was worthy of Darpmalone's beats. The man drops simple but effective lyrics with an energetic flow:
"You told me what I needed to hear, when I needed
I said I just don't care, yo I'm feeling it
Told her that the situation is what the situation is
Worldwide selectors reeling it
And thanks for reminding me, you give me confidence
And when your friends as, you put em on to it
See that's like letting them into my life
Because to me, this music is a conduit
And I should have known, here today and gone tomorrow
And I want you to know that I see that
And I want you to know that I need that
You on my side, I believed that"
Darpmalone is no slouch on the mic either as he keeps up with E-Dot nicely:
"Crush me like chronic, start a platonic but had an issue
You wasn't there, began to miss you, shedding my tears within a tissue
You said "tell me about it" – You never judged, never lied, never shouted
Never laughed. I said "I'm sounding stupid" – You said never that
And that love you gave to me, I would give it back
You should of peeped the way that her and I would interact
You should of peeped the way she curved her thighs within the slacks
Be like her best friend yo, what you think of that
But I'm the stroker, yo that's Darp I told you from the start
You was like a hero for my heart"
Aside from sharing similar lyrical skills, the duo also seems to have shared similar life experiences as love is a common theme throughout the 15 track album. The crew addresses relationship issues on the bulk of the album. The tracks that veer from the relationship path are just as good as the rest of the material, but the duo seems much more comfortable when dealing with the opposite sex.
Overall, the collaboration between E-Dot and Darpmalone can be considered a success on every level. Darpmalone would likely get some attention on his own, but hooking up with another artist is always one of those noteworthy situations that can give anybody's career a boost. Both rappers are independent and have yet to get much mainstream love, but "Hero" is definitely a step in the right direction. Fans are more likely to peep an unknown album when they know they will be exposed to more than one artist. The focus on relationships may put off some of those fans, but those looking for funky music and energetic emcees should be satisfied by "Hero."
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: March 25, 2008