There is a time for good music, a time for silly music, a time for club music, and a time for serious music. And then, there is “6 O’Clock Straight,” the tricky debut album from Truth Enola that aimlessly struggles to be considered any of the above but does accomplish to put together an above-average collection of hip-hop music.
Truth Enola, who first appeared side-by-side with De La Soul and Mos Def on De La’s “Stakes is High (Remix)” with his rasp-tinged voice, fit well within the De La Soul mold, one that allowed him to sound as if he belonged in the group rather than on the guest list. Nonetheless, that characteristic also turns fatal for Truth as he struggles to captivate the microphone for his full-length “6 O’Clock Straight” (Solid Records) and ends up growing tediously overdone before the clock strikes 6.
The Ge-ology-produced “All Alone,” equipped with a simple female vocal sample, sees Truth pondering the sense of having money but being alone as he raps, “You make the dough in large amounts, take over the zone, But what’s the sense of having it if you all alone?” Ge-ology also comes through for an energized Truth Enola on “Throw It Down” that sounds as if it could appear within the De La Soul catalogue itself.
Other efforts do come indirectly from De La Soul’s catalogue as the late-‘90s Truth Enola/De La collaboration track “Voicestress” and the De La-produced “Exactly” both carry the trademark De La Soul vibe that only assists in making Truth seem less alone on the microphone.
Truth’s best efforts, however, come when he breaks the monotony of the slower-paced songs with concert cuts that play well to an audience appreciating quality hip-hop music without sacrificing the head-nodding beats that are usually reserved for radio. “Lighters Up,” where Truth pleads for a crowd to throw their lighters of life in the air, and the high-energy, high-impact “Here I Am,” are both Celph Titled creations that easily steal the best moments of “6 O’Clock Straight.”
Elsewhere, Truth Enola provides tracks that are filler at best and borderline boring at worst. “I’m Sorry” (featuring R&B signer Charlise) does little that has not been done before with an unappealing R&B/hip-hop love song. Despite the production efforts of The Are (of K-Otix), which rank as several of the album’s best, Truth fails to carry “I Need To Know,” “Honey Love,” and “What Do I Do?” to anything more than one-listen tracks that get, well, one listen.
Thankfully, an appearance by Phife Dawg on “How It’s Gonna Be,” several De La Soul-influenced tracks, and the fact that he has not been heard from much lately, allows for Truth Enola to pass through hip-hop with “6 O’Clock Straight” and generate a slight buzz. Unfortunately though, there is a time and place for all different types of music, and “6 O’Clock Straight” will struggle to find enough time in a day to be anything to watch for.