I intended to start this review with the words “allow me to introduce you to EBONIEZZ” and link the quoted section to Instagram, but for some reason he’s set the account to private. That’s kind of odd given that he actually links to it from his official YouTube account. Why bother going to the trouble if you don’t want anybody to see what’s there? He also has a Facebook page which says 4,300 people like him and 4,700 people follow him, yet there’s nothing in his bio about him. It’s appropriate that his album is called the “Unknown Mixtape.” If you’re trying to learn more about him that’s an impossible task. There are only two things you can say for sure — he likes NF and he likes Nas.
The “Unknown Mixtape” sounds homemade in a way I haven’t heard since I reviewed ICP’s “Intelligence and Violence.” The vocals echo as though they’re being recorded through a karaoke machine, which quickly becomes tiresome to listen to, and doesn’t help you to understand EBONIEZZ rapid fire lyricism. At first I thought he was from the United Kingdom when I heard the “La La Remix” but I’m even calling that fact into question, because he’s clearly jumping back and forth between his birth language and English as a second language, and there’s just too much bass and reverb here for me to know what his native tongue is.
The tracks are also incredibly short even by modern rap standards, and they tend to fade out in the middle of verses just when EBONIEZZ seems to be getting up a head of steam. The “I Don’t Need No Help” remix is a perfect example, with the song abruptly fading out his lyrics at 1:26. This also has me questioning whether or not this is a full album or some attempt at a “sampler,” but you can’t find any other edition of the “Unknown Mixtape” anywhere else online, so it seems like this is exactly what he intended.
You can get through the entire “album” as such in ten minutes, but the only track where his vocals come through clearly is his Nas “I Can” remix. I’ll say this much for EBONIEZZ, he could rival Twista for how fast he can spit lyrics to a beat, in whatever form of language he’s spitting. I suspect even his fellow countrymen might be hard pressed to keep up with his rapid fire delivery. The downside is I can’t say whether his bars are nonsense or solid gold, and that karaoke production deserves no credit, nor does the fact he doesn’t have a single original or self-produced track on this release.
In short EBONIEZZ “Unknown Mixtape” is the sort of curiosity you only come across in the same year Nas wins his first Grammy after a 30+ year rap career. It’s long overdue and there are better albums in his catalogue than the one he won for, but it’s a nice trophy for his shelf even if you give less of a damn about them than Willie D of the Geto Boys. That sort of high profile win makes anything related to Nas pop out of the ground like earthworms after a rainstorm, but I think this one is best buried again. EBONIEZZ is so low profile that he doesn’t have a Bandcamp, a Soundcloud, a merchandise store, or a public bio that tells you who he is or why this album even exists. Perhaps he just decided being a rap star isn’t for him and called it quits. If this is his best effort then that was the correct decision.