Under appreciated, overlooked and ignored, that is how the city of Detroit felt for years regarding their Hip-Hop scene. For years Detroit's underground scene has been blossoming with raw talent, but it wasn't until the break through success of Marshall Mathers that the Hip-Hop community started to take notice. Ever since then an abundant amount of artists have helped to put the D on the map such as Royce 5'9, Obie Trice, Da Ruckus & Slum Village. Another star in the making is Lael, a charismatic Caucasian emcee with a unique sense of flavor, style and mainstream appeal.
While the Caucasian emcee is being taken for granted these days as a quick marketing tool, Lael is part of the select group that actually has talent. He represents the more countryside of the D, drawing comparisons to a Bubba Sparxxx type style only with more lyrical talent. With "Dirt Road Bumps", Lael showcases some nice variety in his song making ability and solid lyrical talent. His biggest asset is his song making ability, which is already molded for success. While some independent artists have raw talent that need to be molded, Lael already has a nice overall game.
His marketable appearance, mainstream appeal and ability to make good along with catchy songs has "Dirt Road Bumps" one of the finer Detroit underground albums to come out in recent memory. Prime examples of his unique writing ability come from his more personal efforts. "Smoke Filled Rain Drops" featuring Phantom is a tale of hardships, struggles and survival. Lael represents that gritty working class of Hip-Hop who worked for everything they obtained. "Lost In A Daze" is another insightful look inside the world of Lael. With a beautiful soft sounding piano loop by Jnitti the track encompasses a unique sense of emotion, soul and inner spirit.
Showcasing his hit making ability, "The Whole Show" is eerily sounding to something out of Nelly's book, which is good if you are looking for commercial appeal. Lael's midwestern flavor takes full stage, giving the track a nice feel. It is this variety to his game which gives Lael infinite mainstream appeal. But don't be too quick to drawn any conclusions, Lael can also bring it to you the Detroit way. With about half of the production on "Dirt Road Bumps" handled by fellow D12 member Kon Artis, the production is more than solid. While Jnitti ultimately handles the better part of the production, Kon Artis's production efforts are inconsistent but at times marvelous. The two group efforts of "Makin Moves" featuring MC Breed & Kon Artis and "My Style" featuring MC Breed, Kon Artis & Kuniva of D12 are two of the more hard core efforts featured on the album. Kon Artis laces the production side nicely with the darker sounds of "Makin Moves" and the more radio friendly of "My Style". Both tracks are evidence that Lael can indeed hang with the upper echelon of the industry.
The finest Kon Artis & Lael collaboration is "Naturally", which is by far one of Kon's finest production efforts yet. While the tracks sample is easily recognizable as its been done before, Lael puts forth one of his best lyrical verses on the album. No overused metaphors or overbearing punch lines, just insightful rhymes and personal situations.
At times Lael does fall victim to the ordinary putting forth average attempts such as "The Song Sucks", the horrible production of Kon Artis on "Radio MC" and "Trying To Get By". "Nuts Hangin From Ya Chin" is definitely a generic pimped out track dedicate to the male genitals. With such corny lines as "I love the way you take your tongue and play with my babies" and a hook too bad to repeat "girlfriend, I've been wondering, what my nuts look like hangin from your chin", the song is a disaster from the start. Lael should try and stick to what he does best instead of forcing the issue with imaginary playa tales no listener will believe.
For the most part the problems plaguing "Dirt Road Bumps" are minimal, coming down to lackluster production and filler tracks. For an independent album "Dirt Road Bumps" shows a lot of promise and potential for Lael. He has a lovable midwestern style, solid lyricism, a good but inconsistent production team behind him and tons of mainstream appeal. With the right marketing and record label behind him Lael could do big things in the industry. There are some pitfalls for Lael if he doesn't follow the right path. With such a moldable style, record companies might want to take advantage of that and push him to release a more gimmicky sound than that presented on "Dirt Road Bumps". As long as Lael sticks with what he does best, the future could be bright for this young man. For more info on Lael visit www.longrangedistribution.com