Hailing out of Albany, New York, Sev Statik has waited 10 long and tiresome years for opportunity to shine. The Tunnel Rats & Deepspace 5 crew member is what you would call Hip-Hop at its purest essence. He combines Hip-Hop simplest and most meaningful elements into one package that shines bright throughout his Uprok debut "Speak Life".
"Speak Life" is not just the album's name; it's a representation of what Sev Statik brings to the table. It's obvious his life and passion for the culture is the driving force behind his success. "The title of my album isn't Speak Life for no reason. It's something that's real to me, plain and simple", states Sev. What listeners can expect throughout "Speak Life" is a nice variety of lyrical gems, ranging from battle raps, to conceptual and spiritual masterpieces. Along with great production, which is easily one of the finest for an independent release in the last year, as a plethora of producers lace Sev with perfect production such as Dert, Peace 586, Dave Digler & DJ Cheapshot - "who was a featured producer on Linkin Park's remix album" last year.
The production on "Speak Life" is simple, but there in lies its brilliance. It's your classic combination of head nodding kicks and snares, along gorgeous melody's and hard-core beats. "Over The Influence" is a prime example of this combination, as it combines a head nodding melody, thanks to a catchy vocal sample in the backdrop, and range of insightful to battle influenced lyrics by Sev. Exemplifying the albums brilliant simplicity, the track has no lyrics in the hook, no vocal sample, just scratching used in place of a hook. However, it works beautifully. At times artist's can press the issue when making tracks and most tend to forget the little things that matter. You don't always have to have out of this world concepts or innovative hooks and "Over The Influence" is proof, as it just takes you back to the good old days, when all you need is an emcee and a DJ.
While the production is one of the high points of "Speak Life", what makes the album a success if none other than the lyricist & poet Sev Stakik himself. Sev's lyrical game changes from track to track, giving the album a great vibe. You have the typical underground battle rhymes on "Disappear", along with the infectious "All For A Purpose" & "Warning", both of which have down right addicting hooks that will have your head nodding for days.
However, the finest moments on "Speak Life" come when Sev delves into his conscious side, depicting his life lessons and hardships. As Sev states, "Since the first time I picked up the pen I made a promise that everything I dropped would be considered conscious". One of the true gems featured on the album is the title track "Speak Life". Which is "a letter encouraging humanity to think on life issues to find meaning in the midst of the madness". The tracks smooth piano loop and luscious singing in the hook give the track a surreal feeling and aura. Sev's autobiographical tales of his life give you a clear picture of what the man behind the mic is all about. "Medicinal Purpose", like "Speak Life" is another gem where Sev paints pictures of life and its harsh reality. "I've been set to set apart, lies from the truth. Reality has been blurred while infected over loops. There is hurt before the healing and wreck before the rescue. Dirt before the cleansing and dark before the view". In order to succeed in the Hip Hop industry, emcee's need to open themselves up and draw the listener into the world they are painting, Sev Statik has this ability.
The only flaws within "Speak Life" come when Sev Statik tries to switch up his game and offer a sound he's not accustomed to, as seen on the horrendous party sounds of "Rock Of Ages". While one cannot criticize an artist for trying to add variety, "Rock Of Ages" seems like a forced effort to try and put forth a club banger. Other missteps along the way come when the production aspect falters, which is only a few times but noticeable. "End Up", "Poor Penmanship" and "Global" all suffer from lackluster production. Another cause for concern is the album's length, which runs a couple tracks too long. "Speak Life's" first nine tracks are outstanding, but the album tends to loose steam there after. In the future Sev should cut the albums length down to 14 tracks and try and weed out the filler material.
While criticism can be thrown around almost any album, don't get the wrong idea. "Speak Life" is a successful debut for Sev Statik. Most of the album's production tends to be outstanding, which is a surprise for independent releases. Not to mention Sev's lyrical and conceptual ability on the mic, which are both phenomenal. "Speak Life is just some old bob ya head type music" states Sev. "I ain't trying to save the universe, but my music is about upliftment for all people". And while Sev may state his music is just some old bob ya head type music, in the end its much more than that. Sev Statik has definitely paid his dues in this Hip-Hop game and with "Speak Life" he will hopefully start getting the recognition he deserves. For more information on Sev Statik, visit SevStatik.com or Uprokrecords.com.