Brooklyn, New York City, the breading ground for some of Hip-Hop's elite emcees. It was growing up in Brooklyn where Robert Diaz A.k.a. Pumpkinhead got his infamous name. As most would assume you have to be hardheaded growing up in B.K., thus spawning the name Pumpkinhead given by his mother. Pumkinhead got his first big break in the Hip Hop industry through word of mouth, as a friend passed along his demo to Bobbito & Stretch Armstrong who instantly loved his music and gave him constant rotation on their radio show. It was this big break, which lead to Pumpkinhead releasing a couple memorable 12 inches along with his debut album "The Old Testament" which received critical praise. Some may also remember the Brooklyn emcee from his appearances on the Lyricist Lounge tour and the various Vibe Blaze Battles.
Now signed to Third Earth Music, Pump releases his second album "A Beautiful Mind The EP". While the name may garner some doubts, don't be fooled, Pump is a hard-core emcee. For those unfamiliar, do not judge the man by his awkward name because those misconceptions can be immediately thrown out the window once you set foot into Pump's world. Pumpkinhead definitely depicts that gritty Brooklyn attitude to a tee. Most of "A Beautiful Mind" is street oriented, only swaying away on a few occasions.
As an emcee Pump brings some unique traits to the table. Lyrically he is solid, but don't expect any mind-blowing verses or concepts. Pump is a street emcee lyrically, only he can bring a lot more to the table than others of his kind. Take for example the sounds of "Mujer Triste", a very deep intimate look inside Pump's emotional side. As Pumpkinhead reminisces about a love gone wrong, the nice mid tempo beat and Spanish singing in the hook gives it that need flavor. While the streets are what Pumpkinhead depicts best, he can put out a variety of sounds as he proves he is anything but one-dimensional.
One of the most powerful Pumpkinhead tracks ever released is "The Beginning". Full of emotion and rage Pump spits a chilling verse about his life, sorrows and troubles. "I was born 1975, the son of Robert and Jenny, doctors running through the room in a panic and frenzy cause she's already 17 hours in labor, 7 hours later I was pushed out of anger, 26 years later I am Pumpkinhead in the flesh spitting like a person possessed, I'm cursed and I'm blessed, at the same time with the frame of mind like fuck em all". It's on "The Beginning" where you realize what Pumpkinhead is all about. Not many emcees can put forth such an emotional charged verse like Pump displays on "The Beginning".
"The Beginning" and "Mujer Triste" see the different more versatile side of Pump's game, however Pump does go overboard on one attempt to switch it up. On "Supahastar (The Anti-Bouncers Theme), Pump tries to make a more friendly type atmosphere as he spits about his troubles getting in the club. This type of effort just doesn't work for Pump as you can tell it's forced and out of character. The track's production is just as awful making "Supahstar" the only flaw seen on "A Beautiful Mind".
Other than that the rest of the EP is dedicated to what Pump depicts best, the streets. "Blacklisted", that's how Pump feel's he's been treated in this game, which ends up as a memorable experience along with the hyped "Pumpin (Pause)". While the production takes some getting used to "Pumpin" is filled with a lot of energy, as Pumpkinhead spits venom over the up temp production. "The hallow man, knock you out like Apollo's hands…now I can see what's in your stomach like a sonogram". The grimier Pump gets the better the results are, which are definitely true after listening to two of the finer tracks "Park Slope" and "Brooklyn Academy" featuring Immortal Technique. "Park Slope" which features the same sample used by J-Love on Cormega's "Fallen Soldiers", and like Mega's is another street anthem only this time dedicated to the Brooklyn blocks Pump was raised on. "Brooklyn Academy" featuring Immortal Technique features solid production, but both Pump and Immortal Technique put forth good performances making it memorable. Immortal Technique especially blaze the mic even outshining Pump.
"A Beautiful Mind" is a nice EP to get Pumpkinhead back in the underground's limelight. The only compliant other than the lurid "Supahstar" is the albums overall production, which could be better in some places. While the production is solid, besides a few tracks there is really nothing spectacular. If Pumpkinhead can get even better production and keep it consistent his follow up full length "The New Testament" should be an album to watch out for. Overall Pump has improved his game over the years and is developing into a nice emcee, I suggest everybody give "A Beautiful Mind" a listen as Pumpkinhead has a lot of talent and variety to his game.