E Reece is back and fresher than ever. Back when I first encountered the man I criticized him for his repetitive subject matter. My main problem was he spoke a lot about change and freshness, but he didn't actually do anything that fresh or different. "L.I.S.n 2 This Live.In.Studio" isn't really a change of style for E Reece but it is a different take on his previous music. E Reece is joined by live band Core Elements and they take on the task of re-recording and re-interpreting his previous songs. Picture this as "MTV Unplugged" meets "Greatest Hits." You get the best of both worlds as the live band is there, but the audio quality is professional so you can actually feel the bass. This project would probably be a lot more interesting if I was more familiar with E Reece's previous body of work, but as is it still intrigues and entertains.
E Reece's subject matter remains the same and to be honest it remains his biggest weakness. Enter the album and you will hear "Well, Well, Well:"
"One time for your mind, two times for the tempo
Three times for the way I be flowing on instrumentals
It's essential to craft lyrics monumental
It's what I'm into, my way is fundamental
I touch your mentals, it's really too simple
Erase all the comp with number two pencils"
Skip forward to "Everything" and you will hear:
"It started back in eighty-two
Pops showed me the album that was aqua blue
With the funny colored snake on the front
R&B is cool, but hip to the hop is what I want
Couldn't front, it was so brand new
Words rhyming to music and I just had to do it
Fell in love right away on that very day
Been down ever since, can't put it away"
Jump forward six more tracks and you get:
"It's time to wild out, style out, X these guys out
Show them the upper hand and then we file out
Then we be on some new and improved, just beginning
Breaking ground, flow steady, never pretending
Add flavor to the ending, higher heights and new beginnings
Seep knowledge, seek truth, brighter days, lighter ways"
Since I already stated my thoughts on E Reece's single minded topics, I won't knock him again for it. His flow and lyrics are on point, so it's really just a matter of preference. When he does manage to veer from his calling card it isn't bad at all:
"It was a Thursday night, the first time that I spotted you
Was promoting a show, doing what I gotta do
At the Root Down, known around town
To get the party shaking, all love, no mistaking
Arturo let me slide through the door
With my flyers in hand cause he's my motherfucking man
And I let a few go, had a talk to the people"
And he even manages to get kind of deep on "Life Changes":
"Life change begins in the embryo
We grow from the sperm to the people you know
Instantly and consistently, it's not a mystery
We all change differently, been this way for centuries
Some atypically, on a beaten path
Skills I've even developed since my pen hit this pad
Do the math, it's constant in various forms
From the seeds that were planted to the lyrical storms"
E Reece gets an extra point this time around, not because anything has changed, but I figure I was too harsh with the criticism last go round.
Musically is where this E Reece album really gets elevated above his previous music. The live band really adds a dynamic to his music. The band consists of your usual hip-hop elements, bass, drums, keyboard, and turntables. Though the sounds are limited to those instruments, they come with a varied, but consistently jazzy vibe throughout. They distinguish themselves a bit with the inclusion of a guitarist and saxophonist. The saxophonist adds a real fresh element on certain tracks, especially "Life Changes."
"Live In Studio" proves that a bad first impression can be overcome. In his essence, E Reece hasn't changed a thing, but with a few musical tweaks he's given his music a fresh makeover that has made it much more appealing to this reviewer. The live band is the true star, but E Reece holds his own. I think a much more personal approach to his music, without the heavy concentration on hip-hop, would elevate him even more. Still, he is appealing enough and for those who enjoy their music jazzy and positive this will be a pleasant listen.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: February 10, 2009