Saturday, May 17, 2014

Journeys In 1st Person by SkyBlew

     Skyblew is a light shining in a dark industry diluted by drug references, the degradation of women, and an overall bad sound. The Chapel Hill, North Carolina rhymer released Journeys In 1st Person May 14th, and the album preaches living rather than observing. Entirely produced by Backdraft, the one emcee one producer album that seemed so prevalent in some of hip-hop's biggest albums, is back once more.

     Asking a rapper in today's world to make an album with no profanity in the lyrics would be like asking Michael J. Fox to draw a straight's just not going to happen. Thankfully, no one asked SkyBlew to refrain from cursing, he did it on his own. This album is a rarity in itself because it isn't a religious album, but an actual hip-hop album with a positive message behind it. Sky didn't choose to eliminate cursing in his songs just to be different, but more to show that there is good in this impaired industry that was previously mentioned.

     Alright, SkyBlew doesn't curse, so what? Well, aside from leaving out words you'd never say in church, he also has a feature that is quickly fading in hip-hop, and that's this thing called talent. He is very lyrical, and speaks on social issues in a way that isn't too political nor too commercial. He has a very good knowledge of how to balance his lyrics out so any given track isn't too crowded with a certain style. Though, most of the thoughtful lines may not be heard on the first listen, or even the second listen. So if you're in the mood to thoroughly listen to the lyrics on the album, then you'll notice some great rhymes, otherwise they may come off as just a few words that rhymed.

     Having solely one producer on a hip-hop album comes with both pros and cons. To make a long list short, just know that the pros include the album having a cohesive sound, while the cons can lead to said album having an exclusive sound. Journeys In 1st Person includes both the positive, and the negative sides of that list. On the positive end, Backdraft is an extremely talented producer, whose style can't quite be summed up. He incorporates a jazzy-blues style with a more modern style of music and it's quite interesting. This sound, for the most part, works really well with the soft-speaking emcee, SkyBlew. The negative, however, is that towards the end of the album the sound seems to have ran it's course. The only track on the album that sounds like it came from a different producer is the track "Ordinary Tuesday" which features a sample from "Mercy, Mercy Me" by the late Marvin Gaye. Every track other than that sounds too similar and brings down the album just a hair, but this is just a minor blemish in an otherwise satisfying release from the two.

     Every year there seems to be a period of time in between months when major music releases seem to come at a premium. The past month or so have more than likely been the slowest we at the site will be all year, but thankfully, SkyBlew released this gem of an album just in time to break the drought. This album is a really great listen, though to understand the lyrical metaphors and imagery, it may take a deeper and more focused listen. The album, Journeys In 1st Person, is similar to a salmon swimming upstream. Only the downward flowing current represents cliche' hip-hop and the salmon portray all artists that urge to go against the grain, and refrain from falling victim to the uniform sound that is so common in today's music. For that, this album is rewarded by being something that stands out, even when it doesn't intentionally try to stand out. Hopefully, everyone can gain something out of this album, just take the time to really listen to the message behind the words. Check out Journeys In 1st Person and comment your thoughts on the album. 

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