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Beauty & the Beat
by: Sun-J

Boston has left its permanent mark on underground hip hop with the likes of Lif, Insight, Guru, Akbrobatik and a slew of other emcees (excluding Benzino). Edan is a DJ/producer/emcee extraordinaire. Brimming with innovation and chopping at the bits of the lyrical envelope, Edan uses polysyllabic rhymes and kinetic beats to transcend his hip hop reality. Always stuck in the 80's, his debut album Primitive Plus stirred the underground scene and his subsequent mixtapes fostered a buzz that was just beginning to blossom. His latest and sophomore album, Beauty & The Beat continues where he left off. Edan chose to keep this album Boston, borrowing verses from Insight, Lif and Percee P (who may be a NY representative depending on your argument).

The Humble Magnificent officially kicks off his album with "Funky Voltron" featuring Insight. The track features a jazz loop with sci-fi sounds. The next track is the LP's lead single, "I See Colours," a psychedelic track with moog sounds featuring a unique, female vocalic chorus not usually found on an Edan track. On "Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme" Edan shouts out rap legends from the Kool's to the Clan and Nas. "Murder Mystery" is a great story with a funky bassline and wallowing trumpet. "Torture Chamber" featuring Percee P borrows a bassline from Pink Floyd's "On the Run," and "Making Planets" summarizes Edan's true style; funky beats and hard-to-decipher lyricism, "I frolic in the sand, with a colony of ants, my particles expand, building oxygen in my pants." Mr. Lif lays down a conspiracy inspired verse which Edan flawlessly incorporates with the 60's psychedelic soundscape. "Rock & Roll" tributes legends like Hendrix and King Crimson integrating a dirty guitar riff with syncopating drums. "Beauty" in my opinion features the most imaginative beat with its fuzzy guitars, brassy horns and sci-fi horror. Edan uses reverse drum loops, reverbed vocals and heavy synthesizer to deliver a fresh cut with "Smile." On the final track, "Promise Land" we find Edan paying homage to the originators with classic drums and pristine lyricism; "Cool rap music ain’t made under pressure, expose a jewel, teach school at my leisure, fumble over words that rhyme with a verse divine, back track and think of the greatest of all times, class is in session, master conception, teacher was a student, study like a Buddhist, reviewing all the best to do it so lets do this." "Promise Land" is chalk-full of quotable lines and finishes the album strong. It's hard to not be impressed by Edan with bars such as this: "with a suit made of electricity, I ran through the Great Wall of China convincingly, that was after the world tour, that was after the world tour, when I traveled through gravel to battle matter at the Earth’s core,” and “my powers settled the clash between races, and put good people on the magazine faces, substituted television scandals with elephants and pandas.”

Edan's style of excessive word play in exchange for heavy metaphor laden lyricism is advantageous to his style. His vocal bravado is blatant and aggressive and his production is eccentrically unique. AS a whole the album is sequenced perfectly which is probably attributed to Edan's DJ background. What sets Edan apart from other emcees is his refusal to force rhymes. Every syllable clash is an easy flow. Rather than alter "stuff" to rhyme with "love" Edan will take the road less traveled, a road of obscure verbiage. Nonetheless this album will keep you entertained.


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