Independent (June 15, 2010)
Reviewed by SSRC
Antioch Alumni is from Boston Massachusetts and consists of Gideon Valor, Kiko, UnEarth and Mirko. The group was founded in 2004 and since their formation, they have stayed busy putting out a steady flow of music for the masses. Starting in 2005 we have been blessed with a steady flow of Cram Session Volumes that are almost dropping once a year. Cram Session 5 is the most recent and biggest release to date with 2 discs of music. It seems each time they release they get bigger and better.
Cram Sessions is a hip hop get together where a bunch of emcee’s and producers from around the country come together to make some straight up Hip Hop. It’s recorded over a couple of days of sleepless nights and fast food runs. Antioch Alumni have put up a website where you can watch the talent at work. It’s worth checking out as you can see guy’s like Sev Statik, Jaz and Deadman Walking come up with ideas and then make them come to life through rhymes. It’s like being a fly on the wall in a brainstorm session of emcees. (http://www.antiochalumni.com/)
Cram Session 5 is Antioch Alumni’s most consistent project to date. At over 2 hours of music, which usually proves as a downfall, this group of emcee’s and producers have put together an array of Hip Hop that will satisfy just about everyone. They corralled a lot of talent from all ends of the Hip Hop scene and brought them under one roof to give us some quality music.
The reason this album is so appealing to so many people is the abundance of talent that has been assembled on this 2 disc project. If you haven’t heard of the Antioch Alumni you will have heard of emcee’s like Sev Statik, Jaz, AppleJaxx, Bobby Bishiop and Nomis. None of the emcee’s mail in verses, they all came together to make this project something special and you can hear that in each track. In our small scene we have a bit of a divide and what Cram Sessions 5 does is bring that divide together. They have emcee’s from both sides stay true to their path and make songs that don’t sound forced. You have two discs full of social awareness, spiritual lessons and rhyme skills. It’s a great testament to where we can go if we all come together. The production keeps up with the emcee’s for the most part. With so much talent it’s hard to keep the back drop consistent but the Antioch Alumni do a solid job. In a consistent album it’s hard to pick out songs that stick out but on 2 Fish you have “Take It To Heart”, “Love Lost”, “MLK” and on 5 Loaves you have “Whatcha Know”, “Blind Facts” and “Fishes and Loaves”.
With all of that said anytime you have a double disc project you are bound to run into some problems. I mentioned before the production was solid and it is but over 23 songs there is not enough variety to keep your attention. The different emcee’s help with that problem but as you listen, you will find yourself wishing for a song that really stands out. For every “Blind Facts,” you have a “We Can Make It” which isn’t bad but just doesn’t make you want to listen again. You will also find an abundance of sung choruses. If that is your thing then you are in luck but if no, you will find that it can become a bit much. For every “Gotta Be More,” where it works, you have a “Your World” that just doesn’t come together. The quality of the emcee’s is evident and you are blessed with some top notch emceeing but I did miss a couple stand out verses that make you want to hit the rewind button. It’s not that the rhymes were bad, far from it, but nothing that had me jumping out of my seat to tell my friends about.
All of that said, Cram Session 5 is a win for the Antioch Alumni because they complied a solid 2 disc offering. That is no easy feat in today’s market where we have too much music and not enough talent. They were able to bring together a top notch cast of emcee’s and producers and keep it consistent. If you like variety in your hip hop then this album should be purchased, it’s one of the most balanced pieces of music I have heard in awhile. You get a bit of everything and at over 2 hours it’s hard to go wrong with the price. I consider this a win for Antioch Alumni as they have me excited to see what Cram Session 6 will be all about.
Purchase CD – download – iTunes
For fans of: Trip Lee, Mars Ill, K-Drama, Bobby Bishop