So, I’m sure I’m not the only one who grabbed this off the mention of Oddisee. But rightfully so, the D.C. based musician has skills on the boards. And while his mention alone bolster’s the buzz of the album; Everything Changed Nothing is Trek Life’s album. However, would the L.A. bred emcee make that clear? And ultimately, would it affect the album?
The obvious highlight of the album is the production. Oddisee has grown into one of the best (along with one of my personal favorite) beatmakers in the game. His sound is very distinct, and always catches the listener’s ear. This is true right from the get go on the album in “Ready To Live”. The buoyant percussion on the track really sets the tone for the album; banging beats. However, the DC producer can also take a smoother approach, evidenced by “I’d Rather Be” and “Wow”. The first of the two is a lighter homage to the N.W.A. classic, and the playful flute and beat breaks help make this lighter approach work. On the latter song, I noticed two things: 1. The sample used is the same one that Mainframe flipped on the Blu (Johnson&Jonson) track of the same title and 2. It may have been flipped even better. The track really showcases Oddisee’s skill with samples- and not just using them for a hook, but actually integrating them into the verses as well.
The two best songs on the album, “As The World Turns” and “So Supreme”, also happen to be the best produced on the project, something I feel isn’t a coincidence. “As The World Turns” best exemplifies Oddisee’s production style on the LP. It’s backed by steady drums and kicks, but it’s the array of rising and eroding synth/electro sounds that make the song- something that is usually the case with his instrumentals. And how dope is “So Supreme”? The song begins with 7 different-toned individual singers flexing their vocals, which leads into the whole chorus singing in unison. Then, all at once, the listener is blindsided by those rising synth sounds that rise with the chorus; an effect that overwhelms you, in a good way. The production quite simply makes the album. It keeps the listener attached while at the same time blending each track together, making the project very cohesive.
Trek Life on the vocals is up to par- but that’s about it. He certainly doesn’t ruin the project, but there aren’t very many exciting moments on the mic. There are cuts like “Everything Changed Nothing”, “What It Is” and “So L.A.” where the Cali emcee shines, but we must put ‘shines’ in context. The production job of Oddisee is phenomenal; it’s to a level where the listener may tune out Trek Life just because of the groove the beat has them under. It’s apparent that Trek has some growing to do lyrically, but don’t be confused- he holds his own on the album. Not many rappers can flow on Oddisee production this well. And while there are moments where you yearn for more on the lyric side, at the same time I’m not sure there’s one horrid verse on the LP. Trek Life kicks realistic lines that make him solid on his effort.
At the end of the day, Everything Changed Nothing is a good project. Oddisee may overshadow Trek Life on the joint, but it still results in good music; which is the main objective. All twelve tracks are filled with a hypnotic bounce with steady rhymes. Ultimately, the album is another dope disk in Oddisee’s discography, and a nice, promising one for Trek Life.
As The World Turns[audio:http://kevinnottingham.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/03-As-The-World-Turns.mp3]