For the ultimate in biodegradable packaging, Apollo Sun sent us "The Ownlife Sessions, Vol. 1" in a brown paper bag wrapped in a piece of twine (which my cat promptly destroyed). There's a small bit of irony to that given that the opening track samples extensively from the late George Carlin, who was known to say things like "Environmentalists don't give a shit about the planet" and "The planet is fine - the people are FUCKED." In truth I doubt there was any intent on being environmentally friendly - I'm sure this was just meant to look friendly and handmade. It's even hand numbered - 22 of 50. There may be 28 other people whose pets are playing with twine right now.
Humorous George Carlin introduction about the 1% out of the way, we get down to the remainder of "The Ownlife Sessions, Vol. 1" which is relatively short 20 minutes and 5 tracks. The Boomjacks from Finland provided both the cover art on the outside and the production on the inside, and seem equally skilled in both areas. "April's Musings" is an ideal balance of catchy jam music and easy to follow flows from Sun, a man with serious intent but a relaxed and skillful flow.
"I'm working on my ego, I evicted it twice
Sun's greatest attribute is that he naturally segues between comedic and serious thoughts without making either seem out of place in his flow. That suits lines like "Yo I'm smarter than the teacher so I'm leaving the class" perfectly, as you can read it either way and nod your head in appreciation. He's not afraid to dig deeper though, as the melancholy backdrop of "No Room to Breathe" confirms. The sad mixture of winds and pianos flows to a slower but not entirely downtrodden tempo, which keeps the raps on pace as Apollo confesses that "we're sitting in a fire with no room to breathe" and openly questions "Should I keep creating music? Am I a dreamer, or kind of stupid?"
Apollo Sun is better known in his native Pennsylvania than on the national level, as evidenced by the local clippings in his accompanying press kit, but if this is just "Vol. 1" I expect that to change. I suspect Sun may want to try a variety of producers and see what they can do for him, but The Boomjacks are such a good fit I hope that he comes back to them down the line. In his closing paragraph he says "Here I am - broke as ever - going to college and trying to spread truth through music and conversation." I can't guarantee this album will change his financial state, but it should at least turn a few heads and continue the conversation he seeks.
Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10
Originally posted: November 12th, 2013