Capital D made his debut with the Chicago hip-hop group All Natural. His song "Writer's Block" gained critical acclaim for his realistic and vivid story telling skills. After two LP's, Capital D became a Muslim and decided that he was giving up music completely. About a year and a half later, he returns with The Molemen for his debut solo project titled "Writer's Block (The Movie)." With most of the production handled by The Molemen (and some by Capital D), "Writer's Block" is an LP of just story-telling tracks back to back. It's not a soundtrack. It's more of an audio movie or an LP of short stories and characters. With a new found wisdom of the world and religious enlightenment, Capital D returns to hip-hop in order to enlighten the residents of The Writer's Block.
"Crossfire" (produced by Panik of The Molemen) is the best track on the album. Using the same "Get down" vocal sample from Beanie Sigel's "Get Down," Capital D tells a vivid tale of innocent people getting caught in the bullet's path. The hook uses the vocal sample very well: "…Shorties on the swing-set hear the ring of the tech / They gotta -('Get down!') / Eluding Cool at the bank, in the words of Hank / You better -('Get down!') / Friday, the Shi kids dressed up fly / They want to -('Get down!') / When thugs rush the club when push comes to shove / Then -('Get down!') …" At the end of the track, Capital D repeats his first story-telling verse as it fades out. This is an incredible effect which displays the metaphor for the cyclical nature of gunplay in the ghetto. Panik's beat is incredible and thick as the sorrowful orchestra-loop plays in the background. It's a perfect track that is not preachy but just honest and realistic. "Mrs. Manley" (produced by Capital D) is a heartfelt tale of the much-loved old lady on the block. The sad ending and the melancholic piano loop could bring tears to the listener's eyes. Capital D tells his tale; "…Mrs. Manley lived next door / She used to help a young brother with his test scores / My momma used to work late, she took me in / I guess I filled the void from her son Brendan…/… See, Mrs. Manley was like a surrogate mother for my family / It didn't stop there / It's like the whole block - used to treat her doorstep like the bus stop…" A vivid picture is painted of not only the lady that the song revolves around, but also the neighborhood. The sadness of loss and growing old truly changes the narrator's views of life. Capital D displays a vulnerability in his story-telling tracks that most emcees are scared to show. This makes the song not only very special but the universal themes cause the listener to deeply relate to the song.
Religion and the preachy attitude flow throughout the album. "Du'a (Stevie Wonder)" is a prayer track about a friend who is struggling with drugs. Even though it does get a little preachy, the honesty and realism make it prevail. "Cause & Effect" (produced by Memo) has an eerie beat and even a whistle sound in the background. This track perfectly fits Capital D's stories and characters. The narrator is extremely preachy when it comes to consoling a pregnant woman who's being ignored and mistreated by the baby's father. Memo's beat works well here with very full production which includes some guitar sounds as well as some piano sounds too. Without a doubt, it is Capital D's voice and lyrics which first penetrate the listeners ears. The various subjects of money, pregnancy, drug use and woman are recurring themes in Capital D's work. "Young Girl Lost" (produced by Panik) features Capital D preaching up a storm while trying to set a woman on the righteous path. Even though the listener may think Capital D is going a little over the top, and may not agree with his beliefs, he must be respected for his passion and his story-telling abilities.
A preachy emcee in hip-hop cannot go through an album and not discuss money. The dollar bill and the evil of greed is also a main theme. Songs like "Paper Chase" and "Currency Exchange" explore how money affects the characters on Capital D's fictional block.
God is the major player in these stories. "Mass Transit" closes the album off with a beautiful saxophone loop and jazzy drums. On this track, Capital D's flow is wonderful. He rides the symbol-driven beat with an ease and grace. He uses people riding the trains as a metaphor for people just riding through life. I find it odd that within the track where heaven and hell play as major settings, Capital D preached the least.
As an emcee and story-teller, Capital D is best when he's realistic and vivid with his rhymes. The title track "Writer's Block Pt. II" (produced by Panik) is a good representation of the characters and situations rhymed about on the LP. Overall, Capital D has put together a very interesting album filled with vivid scenes, realistic characters and wild situations. Without outside help from other emcees, Capital D can actually keep the listener's attention due to the honest portrayal of the characters in his little sonic stories. The only things that drag the album down are his preachy attitudes and his monotone voice. Capital D creatively preaches through the stories he narrates. His attitude is easier to accept when you become engrossed in the lives of the people on the block. The listener will either love or hate his deep voice and unfortunately, he does not change his vocal tone. He is a laid-back narrator with the tone of a poet or a spoken word jazz lover. Since Capital D and The Molemen did all the production, the LP flows with an ease. It is extremely easy to listen to the entire LP in one sitting. Even though some stories are better than others, it is evident that all of the tracks were created with a care by both the emcee and the producers. The Molemen's beats range from very creative to decent. None of the beats are poor but a few of them do feel slightly boring. The majority of the album does have well-constructed, head-nodding beats that become a soundtrack for the Capital D's audio movie.
We all can relate to at least one of the characters on this LP. The question is whether you can relate to the narrator or not. As a listener, if you take a trip down "Writer's Block," there is a good chance that you will probably feel right at home.