Posted May 12, 2015
By KevinMcNeese_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Gemstones stormed on the scene back in 2006 when he was featured in several songs on Lupe Fiasco's debut album. He made waves when he was featured on various mixtapes. He was set to take off with his much anticipated debut album, Troubles of the World. Life and circumstances happened and he was no longer on Lupe Fiasco's 1st and 15th label. He also experienced a life change through relationship with Christ and things took a different turn. He is now signed with Xist Records, with T Black and Sean Simmonds at the helm.
So after two mixtapes--On the Road to Glory and Elephant in the Room--he releases Blind Elephant. I have to admit that this is one of the most anticipated albums in a while for me. After hearing him smash over the the instrumental of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," I could not wait for his album debut. Who does that and makes it sound dope? So the "Quick Go In" was definitely meant to be a sequel of sorts to that one. Same tempo and similar musical arrangement. Stones goes from the soft almost-whisper to the aggressive flow a la Eminem to his normal rapid delivery.
One thing about Gemstones that fans should now realize is this: He is not going to stick with one style of rapping on all of this songs. There will be a variety of flows to go along with his vocals. Though he is not a crooner, Stones can definitely carry a tune without sounding as if he was only singing because he was forced to sing. His voice takes the forefront as he sings praise to God via "Believe." The beat is basically a dope loop of a college percussion section with a hint of guitar and strings. Definitely genius of him to use a beat that is seldom used by rappers or singers.
Never afraid to look at issues such as eschatology, Gemstones tackles the return of Christ on "Rapture" over a simple boom beat. Then he also tackles the fact that people must wake up and see what's going on around them in "New World." A song that will grab many people is "Selfish." He touches on depression, which is something that has plagued men and women in the faith and out of the faith as well. He raps with raw emotion has he prays and speaks life over those who deal with these real issues. No dope beat or super fast rapping, just strings, piano, a little percussion and Gemstones.
"Lyrical Miracle" is a song that may disappoint some believers because Gemstones brags of his abilities. One cannot deny the fact that he "murders" this song with the lightning quick delivery that has gained him much respect and even criticism. Some believe that he goes so fast that he is hard to understand while others understand that it takes serious concentration to do so. There were some parts where I could not understand him, but for the most part, I had no problem.
I'm a teacher, and my students really enjoy anytime I play it for the class. No one can deny nor fail to take notice of Stones' ability to rap, be it fast or with a carefully placed staccato flow. Blind Elephant is an album that fans have waited a long time for. While lyrically he didn't disappoint, I definitely think the mixing and production could have been better. And while there were some places where beats just did not match the lyrics, the ministry aspect and his passion to reach the folks in the streets is evident. For the next release, I know things will be stepped up and he will not have us waiting so long.
Song to Download Now:
"Selfish" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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