Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How Gardens Grow by Allen Poe

     Consider hip-hop to be a basketball team; you have one or two stars surrounded by the rest of the starting cast, a sixth man and some role players, then you have the bench warmers who only get in when the team is up by twenty in the final seconds of the game. Hip-hop has it's stars, it's bench warmers, and young talents, but the often overlooked are the role players of hip-hop. These are the guys that work just as hard as anyone else, usually have a decent amount of experience, and are expected to make plays when their number is called. They are required on every team, and without them, success is not capable. Allen Poe is the role player of the hip-hop team.

     He's not flashy, and won't blow anyone away, but his latest release, How Gardens Grow, is as solid of an album as any. It is an extremely mellow and calm piece album, that will resonate very well with many listeners, and for others, they may just find it to be a good album. Whichever side of the spectrum you may be, there are very few negative things to say about the album as a whole.

     The beats are consistent, simple as that. There is a different producer for each and every track, but the overall theme doesn't change. How Gardens Grow has a bit of a Fall feel to it, making this an album perfect for the season. The production is pure and clean, but doesn't go too far out of any boundaries. The previous statement can actually be said about Poe's entire catalog, and I think that is a good of a compliment as ever.

     Since the beats came from a plethora of producers, we'll focus more on the projects lyrical content. For starters, many of the lyrics are about life, and the stories are very relatable to the everyday man. Poe is a bit of a blue-collar rapper, and his style is form-fitted to him. He has always had a steady sound within his music, but How Gardens Grow is definitely some of his best work.

     Poe is very cognizant of what he says, and is very mature within his lyrics. Often times throughout the album, it will sound as if an older Poe is talking to his younger self, that may have just been something that I personally felt, but that's coming from a listeners perspective. 

     As stated time and time again when it comes to Poe's work, there isn't much glitz and glam, but the end product is as consistent as anything. He is the role player, and he carries that label well. He is needed in the industry to remind listeners that not every rapper falls into the cliche's and stereotypes that they often receive. He is talented yet simplistic, but he can make one hell of an album. How Gardens Grow is an album for everyone.

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