Da Brakes Clean But Still Street LP
Rap music is often a very personal thing. You find yourself gravitating towards certain artists not necessarily just on artistic merits alone but who there are as people. Unfortunately 8 tracks in to Da Brakes' album "Clean but still Street" and I'm still not sure exactly who this guy is.
The subject matter on most if not all the tracks is pretty much the same. There is alot of talk of bringing back the good old days of hip hop over the seemingly repetative bland one dimensional era we appear to be in right now and thats all well and good only you really need the skills to be able to back it up.
Da Brakes is kind of a throwback to the days when rappers just rapped about nothing in particular kind of reminiscent of say a Digable Planets (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).
But for me a good rap artist is not only lyrically able to excite and entertain me but to make me feel something aswell. I struggle to find anything to take away from this album other then the fact that hip hop could really do with going back to it's roots. Da Brakes could take a page out of his own book here by actually takling the subject head on rather then just kind of lyrically dancing round it and his voice and simplistic style can become rather irritating after a while.
There are however some positives to take from this album "Soundcheck" is a light hearted track about crappy engineers who end up making you sound bad by not doing their job properley. "Hip Hop Loving" opened up the album nicely and I have to say the beat selection on most of the tracks was pretty on point. I also quite liked "Bounce" which is another kind of throwback track to the Biz Markie style of not saying an awful lot but doing it reasonably well (if that makes any sense).
He gets more personal on tracks like "Daddy's Own Self" and "Feeling the Joy" however it lacks the execution to really make these heartfelt tracks as solid as what they could've been.
"Clean but Street" is not a terrible album it's just not a very great one and failed to leave much of an impression on me but that is not to say there aren't glimmers of potential to be found and subject matter wise it is always good to hear someone who is not caught up with rapping about the more materialistic bullshit you tend to hear all over mixtapes and the radio it just needs to be done with a bit better execution.
- DJ Ruthless
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