Being an 'independent group'/'artist' is a lot harder than being a 'commercial artist.' For some reason, to sell a lot, you must sacrifice depth. This is not always the case, but more often than not, it has been proven to be. A large amount of independent artists cannot stand up to the pressure expected of them, and so, their material is released and isn't appreciated whatsoever. But what is really nice to see, is when an independent group lives up to expectations, and in this case, exceeds them.
When I copped the 'Mercury Rising' EP a few months ago, I had Mystik Journeymen confirm for me that they had skills. Though I'd heard their material prior to this, I hadn't really paid enough attention to it. The EP changed my actions towards their music.
Well, about a week ago, Mystik Journeymen dropped this LP, 'The Black Sands Ov Eternia.' Now, I'm sure that you've guessed that it's pretty ill from the score I have placed up on the left of this screen, but I'm going to tell you why the score was given.
After the intro repeatedly stated "To the opening of the new world," I guessed that this LP would contain at least some amount of depth. I was proven right. The whole LP is both similar and varied. I know that statement is confusing, but let me explain. From the start of the LP, you find that there's an eerie sounding voice, singing and repeating "The life we live," things like this appear at various points throughout the LP. Eerie chants and singing which add another side to the LP. Though the subject matters do vary within the songs, the rhyming remains well done, the flows and lyrics are on point, with very socially conscious and well thought out content.
As well as having a lot of depth, there are also a couple of 'Silly Wappers' interludes. This basically is where the LP breaks from its seriousness and goes into some comedic mocking. Impressions of certain frequently appearing rap styles are mocked. There's someone mocking the E-40/Dru Down playa personality, as well as various other rap styles.
The production on this LP remains very, very well done. A good example of this is 'The Piano Lesson.' It's a track filled with brilliant lyrics and a well-placed sung hook has some really excellently created beats. There's some very prominent piano playing, as well as some subtle key touches. Plus, the track has a very strong drumbeat which combines with the tracks other elements to form an interesting cut. Other instances where you find excellent production are on the tracks 'Araingus (Race The Moon),' and 'Grapes Ov Wrath,' not to mention the other production gems and the tracks that were on the previously released LP.
The LP (as well as containing dope lyrics and beats) features Aceyalone and the rest of the Living Legends crew, Grouch features pretty prominently (well, he's the most prominent guest), guesting on 'Mercury Rising,' 'Liquid Cement,' and hosting his own interlude.
Overall, this LP is pretty damned impressive. Well worth purchasing. Some tracks will take a few listens to be fully appreciated, but, on the whole, the initial thoughts you'll have on this is that it is plain dope. I suggest you go over to www.mystik-journeymen.com, and wisely spend $15 on my favourite LP of the moment.