Main Flow is nice on the mic. 7L is nice on the beats. Translation for the Hip-Hop illiterate? This should be a dope collaboration. Time and time again, music lovers have salivated over potentially amazing MC/Producer combos (Nas and Primo anyone?), and either they never happen, or don't live up to the hype. Well, the underground has a pretty good offering here with Main Flow and 7L, and while at times chemistry occurs, it ultimately fails to deliver.
First off, can I at least say you won't find any A New Dope era 7L beats on this record, and personally, I thank the Lord for this. He's back to the sinister, sometimes intriguingly sparse, occasionally grandiose, and nearly always head nodding beats that everybody is familiar with from his Dangerous Connection days with Esoteric. Although, once I got past the intro and 'The Show' kicked in, I wanted to press skip. These kinds of hooks kill me; dull, largely spoken, and with no enthusiasm whatsoever. Don't let it fool you though. The track breaks out into a spacey sprinkling of piano keys and Main Flow reminds you of why he's so appealing – the slick delivery, the air of nonchalance, and a penchant for breath control that at times makes it seem like he doesn't take them – so effortless. 'Where I'm From' is a solid follow up, an ode to the 'Natti from which Flow was birthed and its resulting impression it has left on his craft and life.
7L decides to break us off with some ominous type-shit on 'Hold Lines' which displays Flow casting threats at any who dare test – and surprises with a funky beat change-up towards the end of the track. Although Main Flow is on some pretty standard 'talk tough' rhymes here, again, his flow pulls it off. 'Forever' featuring Cormega is easily the albums best track, a soulfully crafted sample makes for a breezy backdrop over which two emcees with some of the smoothest deliveries in the game kick some knowledge about…hmmm, nothing in particular. Cormega's verse however leaves fans awaiting Urban Legend to drop:
Influenced by the Juice Crew era/
Then corrupted by the street cos my crew had juice in the ghetto/
I held weight on a few different levels/
I could get more depictive but fuck that, niggas is tellin/
You hear the truth when you listen to Mega, spittin poetic/
This ain't a replica, this is authentic
Aside from these few standouts however, the record seems to drift into very un-awe-inspiring stuff. Main Flow is a consistent dude; everything I've heard him on turns out decent, from his work on Castle Diplomat to Notebook Assassins, and all his recent guest spot mix-cds that seem to be popping up everywhere. Consistency sometimes translates into mediocrity however, this and the fact that all his 'albums' aren't really proper releases, just a collection of 12 inches and as I said, guest spots. It prompts me to think that Main Flow might not yet have the experience to sit down and craft an album that is firstly diverse, and secondly, can keep the listener interested for long enough. 'She Like the Way I Talk' and 'Recipe' are two un-original odes to hoes, and suffer from similar sounding beats, while even Flow's delivery can't save the uninspired 'No Gangsta', despite a dope beat from 7L.
The album closes out with a couple of solid tracks in 'Top Scholars' probably due to the fact that it features Esoteric and captures some of the 7L & Eso vibe that often works so well, while 'Stack Up' with Whosane and Living Legends member Grouch brings East and West together over dancing strings and conveys some good energy.
I noticed that although there was nothing particularly terrible about Flow Season, there was nothing stunning either. The beats started to sound like one another after awhile, especially towards the end of the disc, despite many being quite solid. Flow Season won't get much rotation from this reviewer, but hell, I'm sure many will find it a nice release. It definitely shows some future potential, and while I'm all for the re-emerging trend of the one-producer/emcee album, Main Flow should branch out production-wise in order to really hit his stride next time.