Black Ice - The Death of Willie Lynch    
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written by James Smith    
Question. What usually comes to mind when you hear the word, poet? Shakespeare, maybe? Or, do you think of those corny poetry spots populated with headwraps that have that strong nag champa scent? What about the word, emcee? That should be easier. A dude with a mic that's rocking the crowd, correct? Ok, one last question. What happens when you mix these two? The answer lies in Black Ice's The Death of Willie Lynch.

Black Ice has been quite the staple in the realms of spoken-word poetry during the last couple of years. His commanding voice and clever wordplay has left most fans of the genre in awe. When listening to Black Ice, you don't feel as if he's being too pretentious (as most spoken-word artists are) nor does he overextend his welcome by continuously showcasing his bravado (as most emcees do). What we have here is a rare occurrence: an embodiment of the best of both worlds. After all, with a title like The Death of Willie Lynch, you automatically know that the North Philadelphia native has a lot to say.

The album begins with 'The Path', an opening prayer which showcases his fearlessness of his vulnerability. From there we are able to travel through the inner pathways of his mind as he completes a quite captivating intro. The stand-out track 'For The Ugly Show' is completely raw and intense. He explicitly shows his disappointment of the government's inability to reach the downtrodden people of the Hurricane Katrina disaster of last year. This is an example of Black Ice in his rawest form. 'Lone Soldier' featuring Chinahblac is another stand-out cut as well. We get to see a bit more of his vulnerability as opposed to his anger as he describes how he feels about his life as a divorced father and his relationship with his daughter. He also takes time to encourage women and their relationships with their male counterparts on 'Take Ya Time' featuring Musiq Soulchild.

The Death of Willie Lynch is an astounding debut. This album is for those who are in search of their inner strengths despite the injustices and pitfalls that we come across everyday in our society. This is the blueprint for what modern-day spoken-word poetry should sound like.

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