For his or her album to secure a spot in my 3-CD disc changer is a prestigious accomplishment for any artist. Like many other heads, I’ve grown weary of hip-pop albums that are shallower than Hal and lack substance like Betty Ford patients. For every 10 CDs I receive, roughly five are still in their wrapping, four get the once-over, and if I’m lucky, one album advances on to the highly acclaimed position of CD player occupant.
Enter Supastition. The North Carolina emcee comes off Boiling Point Distribution, which also harbors other talented artists such as Extended Famm and CunninLynguists. What really caught my attention – and made 7 Years of Bad Luck stand out from the others – was the eclectic mix of raw emotion present. While many obnoxiously flamboyant rappers are throwing “reality” in our faces more than the Fox Network, Supastition intertwines it with wit, intelligence, and spitfire delivery that would put even the toughest critic – myself included – at a loss for words.
The album begins with a minute-and-a-half long introduction produced by Freshchest Prose. Over a simple but hot beat, various snippets introduce you to “the all-time master of the devastating insult.” Though simple, this intro effectively sets the scene and lets you know that this album will be worth investing some time in to.
As previously mentioned, a lot of Supa’s personal struggles are documented in the album. One of the key tracks off 7 Years is “Da Waiting Period,” an anthem of sorts that any struggling artist can relate to. It is definitely refreshing to see a modest and realistic viewpoint on the trials and tribulations of “making it” in the music industry, as apposed to the cliché rags-to-riches tales (a la 50 Cent) we so often hear. Additionally, production on this track (by Hood) captures the bittersweet essence of Supa’s lyrical content perfectly.
Another key track – and quite possibly the livest joint on the whole album – is “Crown Me.” Supa’s afore mentioned “spitfire delivery” is exemplified perfectly in this track, and the battle rapper in him presents itself through relentless and skillful wordplay. Again, the production on this track compliments Supastition excellently – this time thanks to Equinox of the Nobodies. The fluid yet rapid-fire style of delivery in this track can also be found in “The Trademark,” another insightful track in which Supa describes his progression as both a man and an artist. An excerpt: “If you believe in Supastition right now, throw up your right hand/cuz I never waste my lifespan to be somebody’s hype man/dangerous with a mic stand in a hundred crowd plus/who do you trust when it’s shady paperwork to discuss?/I stopped analyzing rhymes and spit whatever comes to mind/and stop giving a fuck about whether or not I get signed…”
In addition to the battle-rap style that Supastition seems to spit without effort, he is also able to balance it out with laid-back and thought-provoking tracks that reveal the touchier side of his personal life. “Best of Life” is divided into three heartfelt verses, each dedicated to a different female that has influenced his life. Similarly, “Mixed Emotionz” is like a page out of his journal formulated into audio format: Over a self-produced beat (as with “The Trademark,” and “Fallen Star,” under the moniker “Sarcastic”), Supa recalls the hardships that were endured between him and his daughter’s mother. While you probably won’t have this intrusively personal track on repeat, it does effectively illustrate Supastition’s multi-faceted persona and levelheaded mentality – something that could be considered a rarity among artists nowadays. On the creative tip, tracks worth mentioning include “Celebration of Life,” in which Supa recollects a dream in which he visited the “heaven for people of music,” and “Fallen Star,” which recalls the tragic and preventable deaths of three fictional outsiders.
My only criticism about 7 Years would be in the production. While many joints compliment Supastition perfectly (i.e. “Celebration of Life,” “Da Waiting Period,” “Crown Me,” “The Trademark,” and “Fallen Star”), others could definitely be improved upon (i.e. “Live Like Dat,” “Best of Life,” and “Mixed Emotionz”). This is not to say that production was poor on these tracks, but I definitely feel that more could have been done to compliment the essence of the subject matter, up the track’s potential, and create a more lasting impression overall. Because Supastition’s wordplay and delivery are damn near flawless, enhanced production on certain tracks would definitely produce the more masterful cuts that he is clearly more than capable of.
With the diversity of thought, subject matter, and overall sound of each track, 7 Years of Bad Luck definitely has a promising replay value. To those who have never heard of Supastition, I strongly recommend you cop this album and familiarize yourself, because big things will definitely be happening to this cat. That said, the album has secured a permanent position in my CD player for a hot minute now, and it seems it will be staying that way until Supa’s next release, Chain Letters, drops in late 2003.