The LP "Circus World Event... The Ring Leader" is a high-concept album that envisions our world as a carnival with one ringleader (God) and an imposter (Satan). It's clear that there is one thing that CY doesn't lack--and that is ambition.
There are definitely some possible detrimental side effects to having an album that reaches for such great heights. From an instrumental standpoint, "Circus World Event" is mostly on-point. The majority of the production sounds like what you would hear when you went with your family to Barnum & Bailey Brothers as a kid; from the carousal music to the upbeat clown song. However, CY runs into some road blocks along the way, as the album often strays from the narrative it intends to tell in regards to the lyrical content. Plus, it doesn't seem like CY differentiates between Circuses and Carnivals.
Though CY was raised by two New Orleans pastors, his rhyme style is more akin to the standard East Coast rapper than one would think. His voice varies from a grizzled mixture of Busta Rhymes and Xzibit to something far softer, depending on the message intended.
"The Flip Side Trapeze (Last First Event)" is an example of CY's more aggressive side. He drops some quality bars to open the cut:
"Check the acrobatical high-wire act
Hope you don't fall and lose your balance when the high-wire snap
I swing and I flip and I cross the track
Like I'm on a trapeze
Plus you like a fat sneeze
Yo, you can't leave
Once you enter the tent..."
Here, CY effectively puts you in the circus environment and changes the pace of his flow masterfully, making this one of the nicest on the disc.
"Eternal Ferris Wheel" is a good follow-up, as the light rings of the xylophone are some of the most distinctive within the beat. This is a celebration of God and the eternal after life. Both featured artists, Mark J and Sean Slaughter, offer quite nice verses, including one that has a loose reggae accent.
While CY's music can be enjoyable, there are times that the religious influence in his music can feel contrived, as is the case with a lot of gospel rap. One example of this is the chorus of "Take A Look," when he raps:
"Everybody get up
It's time to see what God sees in your life while living
Everybody wake up
Take a look and see through the eyes of the one never sinning
C'mon, every get up
Look twice at your heart and see if you're living what's written
Everybody get up..."
Not only does the hook feel forced, but it is also redundant. Further, this track and several others abandon the conceptual aspect of this album regarding the Carnival-feel.
"Struggle" also fails to conform to the "Circus World Event" feel. It features an R&B artist, Gina Gross, harmonizing over subdued piano keys. As the title suggests, this is about all of CY's difficulties through the course of his life. It is technically one of the most proficient offerings but, again, it does not seem to belong sandwiched in amongst this release.
That's pretty much the gist of it; "Circus World Event... The Ringleader" is a hit and miss affair that sometimes strays from its vision. CY is better than most rappers that try to promote the higher power within their music because he is not so soft and his guests deliver for the most part. Yet, with plenty of room for improvement, he isn't the ringleader quite yet.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5.5 of 10
Originally posted: March 3, 2009