Three years ago I had the pleasure of catching Paulie Rhyme live on the Ice Bears Tour. Then again "the pleasure" doesn't quite cover it. Paulie Rhyme was just fine as a rapper, but due to a poor choice of venue booked for the event plus a lousy night to do a hip-hop show (nobody wants to party on a Sunday night if they have to work on Monday morning) there was almost no one there to enjoy his performance. I felt nearly every person booked on that night was done a disservice, and set out to right the wrong with reviews, but for reasons I can't figure out until now Paulie Rhyme got left out. Maybe I didn't have any promo material from him. Maybe he was so new at the time that being on the tour was just a chance to get his name out there. Anyway the time to do Paulie Rhyme the respect he deserves has finally come.
"You could be a wallflower, or the life of the party
Tag the bus stop, have your name on the marquee
One day you rise, next day you're gone
This we know for certain, everything but the burden
Now when I flame on like rainstorms, down in Mississippi
Resurrect my ancestors, bring they spirit with me
Wave your flag, succotash, got a cure for hate
Passin on my freedom leave my bondage on the tape
These rappers on the take, gettin pimped instead of progress
Match to the barrel, real fire in the ghetto"
The album's title was inspired by a W.E.B. DuBois essay, and the intelligence of the bars that Vic Freeze and Paulie Rhyme contribute on this five track release reflect that, both on "Everything But the Burden" above and on "Gun Control" below:
"Stop wearin your heart on your sleeves, bleedin sensitivity
Our souls/soles in our shoes, like economic news
Turnabout fair play, ill equipped with the tools
Like a bus route, they prostitute open mouth
Shootin off your mouth; words is a weapon
Neighborhood watch robbin your own of they best men"
When Paulie Rhyme brags that he's "not a Black Star, but I spit a Re:Definition" on the short "Outside Lands," you only wish the song was about two minutes longer. The soulful combination of efforts is masterfully mixed by Rey Resurreccion, who works on the entire EP. That is perhaps the single biggest drawback of "Talented Tenth" - the entire thing barely clocks in at more than 12 minutes. As good as "Uplift, it's over 25% of the length of this release all by itself. And I hate to be nitpicky, but the sample and backdrop of "Smiling Faces" were so obvious before listening to it that I had to downgrade it for automatically being exactly what I expected. Still there's no doubt that these men are among the talented ten percent, they just need a better way to showcase it than this short release.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: March 8th, 2011