Eyedea and Abilities E&A

[Rhymesayers/Epitaph; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles:  hip-hop
Others: Anticon, Atmosphere, Soul Position

In 2001, too many hip-hop music fans missed out on one of hip-hop's most brilliant, perplexing albums ever to be released. Eyedea and DJ Abilities released their debut album, titled First Born, an eclectic mix of underground creativity and mind-boggling lyricism. As Eyedea permeated thought-provoking jabs with his witty and clever rhymes, DJ Abilities kept the groove steady, mixing styles and elements to create a complimentary backdrop for Eyedea's original lyrical delivery. Overall, First Born was a deeply remarkable album and sadly did not receive the accolades it rightfully deserved at the time of its release. In 2004, Eyedea & DJ Abilities have returned with their newest album E&A, a conservative, transitional, yet ideal follow up to their first release from three years ago.

E&A continues on the same path where First Born left us, mixing the outstanding and reputable collaboration between Eyedea and his DJ, Abilities. Yet the record sounds altered and more distinct than their first album due to an indescribable transition from abstract, underground hip-hop to an in-your-face, full assault, old school hip-hop structure. Eyedea's performance as an emcee has not diminished or weakened on this record, but has shifted to the fore, illustrating a clearer picture of his status in the hip-hop culture as an emcee.

Another clever addition to the mix is the abundant amount of DJ scratching on each track, as DJ Abilities showcases his turntable prowess frequently and with pleasurable results. The avant-garde stature of Eyedea and the old school musical approach of DJ Abilities intertwine beautifully on E&A, making the record a truly memorable listening experience. The street-hard braggadocio of "Star Destroyer" and "E&A Day" are reminiscent of old school hard-knocks, while DJ Abilities accompanies the track like a young and improved DJ Premier. And the first single "Now" is a bump and bounce groove filled with Busta-like rhyming expertise that will have your head spinning in exhilaration.

Eyedea and DJ Abilities deserve their moment of fame in this hip-hop thirty-minute sitcom. In a music genre that is completely saturated and focused on performers with no talent or ingenuity, E and A may never get the attention they deserve. But again, they have enough talent and aptitude that they probably don't even care. Nonetheless, one day will be E and A day, and we should all be there to help celebrate.

1. Reintroducing
2. Now
3. Kept
4. Exhausted Love
5. Star Destroyer
6. Paradise
7. One Twenty
8. Man vs. Ape
9. Get Along
10. Two Men And A Lady
11. E&A Day
12. Act Right
13. Glass

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