First, I'ma lead off with an apology to this artist, whose record I've been behind in reviewing for a HOT minute, and who's been hitting up Flash like crazy for this review. Hope it doesn't disappoint. My bad, Mose.
Cool. That's out of the way.
Now, I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Chicago artists. No matter what kind of rap they're doing, from the Twistas to the Commons to the Typical Catses (is that the plural form of Typical Cats?), emcees from the City of Wind can expect nothing but the utmost support and love from this here Hip-Hop head.
Mose the Third is no exception. On his new EP, "Pride and Fear, Vol. II," this AllHipHop.com Breeding Ground alum (who's co-signed by another one of my favorite hometown acts, Pugslee Atomz) shows some lyrical potential over ill production. Just peep his verse on his opening song, "This Music." Generic hook aside, the horn-fueled beat and Mose's charisma on his kickoff verse give you enough to look past that misstep and focus on his sixteens:
"People! You've got this disc in your changer
Pride and Fear Part II, another banger
I'll rearrange your frame of mind, get it anchored
That soundtrack to fight through strife, struggle, and anger
I'm no stranger to pain, it's visual
The dangers of fame in this game is critical
The frame that I bring to your brain is pivotal
Now you can lose, all them thangs that's killin' you"
His guests, however, bring him down a bit, as does his flow. Unfortunately, the latter tends to be the story of the album.
With the exception of a couple of tracks ("Dead or Alive," "Ride Out"), Mose tends to sound about a beat behind the production on each of these songs. And it doesn't help much that some of his subject matter tends to be run-of-the-mill, especially on the sluggishly, poorly-produced "One More Time," and the average political diatribe of "Business." Even the most original concept song on the EP, "How Will I Know?", which follows Mose as he deflowers a young woman, is very poorly-executed and borders on chauvinistic.
To his credit, Mose does sound much more comfortable when talking about his OWN struggles. Peep "Time," which carries an ironic title in that you wish it lasted longer than one verse and one hook:
"Stress is replenishing, I'm behind in rent again
Got pinkeye, but can't afford to call sick again
Stamina's diminishing; plans? Gotta pencil in
Can't slow down, no guarantee that you'll remember him
Swing from life's pendulum, what the fuck's gotten into him?
I'm focused, and notice nobody's spitting as sick as him
Mirror's you can vision him, watchin' his mouth
I'll know I made it when Jigga is screamin', "FUCK YO' COUCH!"
Till then, I go hard, I'm a makeshift model
Put your face on the curb, give you a taste of Chicago"
The EP's outro, "Ride Out," also finds Mose more comfortable on the beats than he is throughout the album.
And that's another thing about this EP: Mose tends to pick solid production (with the exception of the aforementioned "One More Time" and "Dead or Alive," which blatantly sample jacks Beanie Sigel's flip of a Bon Jovi classic), and the seven tracks on the EP are filled with swinging horns, hard drums, and soulful vocal and string samples. It definitely will help him out once he gets his name out there in the underground.
But until then, Mose has to work on two things: how to hit us with more originality in order to captivate our attention, as well as how to consistently flow to his beats. Other than that, I see no reason why Mose the Third shouldn't be somebody to keep an eye out for in Chicago's underground in the next couple of years.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: October 28, 2008