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Blackalicious utterly fails to master The Craft

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The Craft really disappointed me. They got my attention a couple of years ago with “Make You Feel That Way.” That was an outstanding and memorable song. There’s nothing even vaguely in a league with that here.

Bending over backwards because I want to like the album, you might say that the album is reasonably listenable- if you’re not really listening. Some of this has a smooth flow lyrically. The production sound clearly reflects a lot of effort to find a rich sonic stew. It’s not overtly offensive if it happens to be playing in the room you’re in.

But there’s nothing worthwhile going on here compositionally. There’s not one memorable song anywhere in this. This is going to end up being a short review, cause there’s nothing to talk about. They bop right along, but none of it goes anywhere. This stuff is all totally indistinguished. It just runs together in a soup. I couldn’t tell you how any of these “songs” go even while I’m listening to them.

I’m sure they’re dropping knowledge and there’s a lesson to be learned and all that. The CD comes with printed lyrics, but there’s absolutely not one thing here that could be mistaken for a TUNE to peak my interest. Why anybody but their mamas would care what the words of these utterly nonexistent compositions say is not obvious.

If you’re real determined to give this crap some kind of chance, you might try the next to last track, “Egosonic War Drums.” Again, there’s just nothing songwise, but there’s some perhaps vaguely interesting texture. The electronic drums with some shards of piano and echo effects and such seemed slightly…

OK, screw this. I give up. I want to play nice, but this recording is just crap. I’m trying to be patient, but I’m not going to sit through a full second listening. It’s just nothing. I swear I’d listen to Mariah Carey again before I’d give this any more attention. Sorry.

I don’t know what “the craft” is that these guys think they’ve mastered, but it sure isn’t songwriting.

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  • Very entertaining review! This is the way at least something good can come of an (evidently) bad CD.

  • Thanks so much Jon. Just trying to squeeze some lemonade out of the lemon.

  • The Theory

    are you kidding Al?? This cd is probably the best rap album to release this year.

    I was expecting some kind of letdown after their amazing cd “Blazing Arrow” but it did not disappoint.

  • TT, I am SO not hearing it. I look forward to your extended review extolling the virtues of this record so I can see what I’m missing.

  • Jake

    I agree with The Truth. I’m not feeling this album quite as much as Nia or Blazing Arrow, but those albums were incredible collections of music. However, the Craft is still far superior to the vast majority of hip-hop. If you’re looking for great tunes, look no further than “Powers” (if you can listen to this song and not move your body, then you have no soul), “The Fall and Rise of Elliot Brown”, “Black Diamonds and Pearls”, or “World of Vibrations”. I suppose if “Make you feel that way” is the type of hip-hop that you limit yourself to liking, then yes, this album is not for you. However, “Make you feel that way” is one of the most mellow, reflective songs that Blackalicious has ever made. The vast majority of their tracks are significantly more funky, and The Craft is no different. I haven’t heard a better hip-hop album this year.