Called to Mind is a textbook example on the importance of flow in a rap album. One can say the most useless, stupid and inane junk for 50 minutes, but still get popular with the right flow (think 80% or so of mainstream rap music). Then, people can have the most amazing lyrics around, saying profound things left and right, but have an uninteresting or annoying flow that cripples everything good going on. Paradox, the emcee in question, stunts his terrific emceeing with just that, a flow that doesn’t do his rhymes justice.
That’s not to say there isn’t merit in this album. Again, the dude’s a pro’s-pro in many respects. His lyrics range from unique to absolute bananas, and he spits on a wide range of topics. Plus, the dude is simply the man with the witticisms. Peep his song Broken:
“My entire life span’s from a one night stand/Cause I wasn’t quite planned and he wasn’t the right man/To be a father, he couldn’t be bothered/Turns out it takes more than pen and ink to be an author.” Paradox flexes creativity and multi-syllabic rhyme schemes like this a number of times. Plus, he definitely makes sure he’s transparent about everything from his checkered past (“Broken”), to his views on hypocrites (“Put Em Together”), to the impact knowing God has had on the story of his life (“Ruined For Life”).
The instrumentals are fair throughout. They rarely pull me in or excite, but they aren’t soul-sucking monstrosities either! I’d say the mellow and moody beats were the strongest. Perhaps Paradox can improve his beat selection for the up-beat tracks.
Unfortunately, the enjoyment I wanted to have following the story of his life is never fully realized because of his flow. The sing-songy rapping becomes a drain on my listening experience. It often fails to match the mood of the subject matter, and becomes a distraction, rather than a successful asset or compliment. Now, I’ll allow that I could be exaggerating or that his delivery is just not my “thing.” But, it’s my review, and I gotta be honest, right?
There are some things in the project that are done very well, but I couldn’t get past his presentation of those awesome lyrics. If you have enjoyed his stuff in the past, by all means, go and purchase his album. Also, if you think my description doesn’t aptly describe the fullness and merits of the album, take a flier on this one (at the end of the day, I’m just an opinionated kid with a word processor). Either way, I hope that a more tempered and balanced delivery will go a long way toward making Paradox’s album a much better overall experience.
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Review by: B.Davis
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