Sareem Poems teams up with Michigan-based producer Ess Be to deliver a mesmerizing swirl of uplifting cynicism and summative hooks in “Beautiful Noise.” Sareem Poems tears at humanity’s commercial-ness, but then lingers on touchingly personal renditions of humanity’s triumphs. Ess Be wraps Sareem’s layered metaphors and double entendres in electronic, futuristic production that helps the album glide along each concept.

The album opens with cyclical symbolism; the refrain “We Are As We Are As We Are” drifts on lingering synth reverbs, grounding the album in the acceptance that to be flawed is to be human. After attacking materialism in the next track, “We,” he then goes from rapping about the mundaneness of materialistic want to the meaning behind the mundane. Sareem connects “Higher” and its predecessing track, “We,” through again fusing the titles in its refrain.

“Pitch black in the city +Dark Knight+ (Gotham)
Large stone in the middle of a garden (rockin)
Playin love games on the tennis court (hop spin)
Skinny dippin in the neighbor’s pool (but don’t swim)
Fall victim to a trend, see what kind of mess I’m in
Stuck in a branch, the tree – can’t go out on a limb
I’m my only friend, cain’t nobody talk me down
I spent my whole life, tryin to keep my head above ground
Walk around town, with a chip on my shoulder
That ain’t a Pringle with the dingle, it’s more like a boulder
Heavy! And I’m ready to rock steady, +Bedrock+
I’m Barney Rubble, the beat’s Betty, already
So wake up, rise and shine!
And ignore the status ladder most tryin to climb”

“We trying to go high, raise it up high,” is also a reference to clearing your head with weed, which is as essential to the creativity of conscious rap as scotch was to Mad Men.

“We’ve been bamboozled and tricked
into thinking it’s cool to be vile and sick
Die a thousand deaths on the way to +Getting Rich+
Step on a fallen man in the pursuit of happiness
‘Go shorty, it’s your birthday’ here’s +50 Cents+
Put that in your pocket let it mingle with the lint
‘Go shorty, it’s your birthday’ here’s +50 Cents+
Put that in your pocket let it mingle with the lint
Mingle with the lint…”

One of the best tracks on the album is “Push It Along,” where Sareem delineates his personal growth on bouncy 808s and hi-hats. Where the beginning of the album is more about how society could improve, “Push It Along” is a celebration of self-improvement. With lines like, “I’m the only child, solo no sister no brother/Me myself and I/No way to teach each other/Learned the hard way, trudging knee-deep through the gutter,” and, “I am just that/Dark and Lovely/Walking in beauty/With the past deep and ugly,” Sareem mixes in both realism and pride.

Following the dreamy, relaxed, electronic build-up that is “Overflow,” Sareem then delivers tales of brokenness from the ghetto in touching, detailed prose in “Empty,” over wavering synth and minimal MIDIs. He makes sure to let us know it’s possible to make it out of the ghetto as well, in “Show N Tell,” where he injects jazzy slides and groovy vocals with a celebration of his success. The album comes full circle with the ending remixes of the first two tracks, which adds to the cyclical metaphor for the cycle of life.

Sareem Poems is a veteran in the game who knows what he’s going for and what he’s about, and is able to deliver broad metaphors about life without sounding cliche. Moreover, he is well-matched with Ess Be, who makes such lyricism palatable to the ears and not simply coffee shop philosophy. Part societal commentary, part conceptual vibe-out album, “Beautiful Noise” is a musical triumph that expertly toes the lines of EDM, hip-hop, and human hypocrisy from beginning to end.

Sareem Poems & Ess Be :: Beautiful Noise
8.5Overall Score