Illect Recordings (May 31, 2011)
Review by LaRosa
Most people remember muzeONE from his days as a member of the Philadelphia based crew Redeemed Thought with his homie Stephen the Levite. Their music had that rugged East Coast sound with the heavy dose of Scriptures that many in Christian hip-hop are accustomed to. After releasing a few solo EPs, muzeONE joined up with the Scribbling Idiots and is now dropping his debut LP titled Cold War on Illect Recordings.
Cold War is an interesting listen, and one that requires a few listens to grasp all that muzeONE is putting into this project. It’s jam packed with authentic hip-hop flavor that takes you back to the days of old school hip-hop was fun to listen to. muzeONE really allows his personality and passion to shine through on this album as he talks about personal struggles, the loves of his life (his wife & daughter), and the things that made him fall in love with hip-hop, all while not forgetting to point the listener to his hope in Christ.
There’s really a lot for true hip-hop heads to enjoy about this album. For starters, muzeONE is headstrong with his lyricism and delivery, switching effortlessly back & forth between fierce & laid back lyrics and east & west coast styles. With so much to say on this album, his diversity really keeps the album pushing forward while not losing the listener in the process. muzeONE also did an excellent job of picking great beats to rap over, as he commandeered beats from the likes of: himself, DJ Official, Teddy P, Theory Hazit, and Medi-cal. Each producer brings his own flavor to the album and helps keep the album from becoming monotonous. Timely guest spots also add to the wealth that this album has to offer.
If there’s anything to dislike about this album, it probably has to be its length. With 14 tracks & a running time of 43:23 Cold War is an LP that plays like an EP, which is both good & bad. It’s just long enough to keep things moving, but also short enough to keep the listener wanting for more. In this case, I definitely wanted more. After teasing us with EPs for years, you wind up longing for more from him. There was also some question about the beat on “A Mother’s Grief,” as I first thought there was something wrong with my copy of the album, only to find out that they were “sirens” that were put in for effect. That aside, there’s really not a lot to dislike about what muzeONE presents us with.
All in all, muzeONE delivers a banger for his first full length release and debut as a Scribbling Idiot. Cold War has something for everyone and the listener walks away with a greater appreciation for muzeONE as both a rapper and a man/husband/father. This is a man who loves his God, his family, and hip-hop, and each shines brightly on this album. You’d be foolish to not pick up this album.
For fans of: Redeemed Thought, Stephen the Levite, Scribbling Idiots
Preview: Cold War