I had my own perception of what this project would be like. I thought that it would have fantastic production (I knew they'd be getting beats from the amazing yet underrated Bay Area producer, Will Bracy). I thought that Ryan would carry K.E.V. with her forward flow, and that K.E.V. would find few moments to shine, with his seemingly fierce resistance to embrace any hip-hop existence outside of Rakim's era. Well, I am happy to report that I was right about the former and wrong about the latter. Ryan and K.E.V. find equal partnership on their debut project, ERAgance, laden with the brilliant compositions of Will Bracy.
What I like most about this project is that it addresses social and musical issues without being AT ALL preachy. I tip my hat to Nu Dekades for being the FIRST group in my hip-hop experience to accomplish this feat. I'm going to just talk about my favorite tracks, and let you, the audience, pick yours. There is a lot to choose from, yet ironically, this project feels super quick. "ERAgance," the title track, may very well be my favorite track, since one of my favorite ways for artists to engage an issue is through satire. Musical satire is even MORE wonderful, which is what we find on this track. The two move into character brilliantly, depicting the hoodrat and hoodlum, the suburban raised black kids with blinders on, and the arrogant and pseudo-sympathetic to the African-American plight Caucasian. This track wholly addresses the sickness, the depressing human condition, the many forms we have gone astray from our former glory as a species.
On "Inside Job," Ryan spits, 'We tryna Rockefeller, Morgan Chase the dream they call American/ Merit ain't a factor if you're arrogant..." And you have just found my favorite line on the entire project. On "Obsession," featuring one of our favorites, Siaira Shawn, K.E.V. spits "She got me dreaming for mercy like Peter Gabriel/ She put her Genesis in my career when I played the field..." I like this line because K.E.V. finally comes out from behind his hard exterior to expose some vulnerability (and the line itself is just dope). "Holdin' It Down" is the most cohesive track on the project. The hook game is super pristine on this track, and the duo (or dyad, as they call themselves) weaves in and out of each other's rhymes seamlessly. We all work hard, and this song addresses the struggle we all face, but that we should keep it light. "One Love" is just utter slap... Will Bracy is shining from the background on this track, and I really appreciate a producer who becomes a part of the group by helping them find their sound. Overall, I feel that this is a solid project that will be over a lot of people's heads. Take a couple of listens if you don't catch everything the first time around. It's well worth it. Click the pic below to go to the site.