July 30th, 2009

Amen “Head On” Review

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In 06 Amen gave the fans something to cheer about with “Legend Killer”, which was well received by many in the hip-hop community. Now with this new CD mix he steps his game up by several notches and both his rhymes and delivery style show some good maturity and depth that was not as evident a few years ago. North Carolina’s homeboy, DJ Forge, was part of the production team for “Head On”, and the collaborative efforts deserve a shout.

The tracks of “Head On” have a silky smooth transition, and the result is a seamlessly blended album with a cohesive feel. According to both Amen and DJ Forge, the hard hitting HBO series “Entourage” was a loose inspiration for this compilation. While I know it wasn’t intended for this purpose, “Head On” would make a dope soundtrack, especially the grittier and more emotional “Arsonist” or “Hollywood” raps.
“Zack Morris” is the second track and Khrysis stepped in to help with the production. For some reason the energy level just seems to be off, it’s one of those songs that has the right ingredients but the final product still doesn’t quite satisfy. A much better feel for what Amen is about can be heard when you listen to his lightweight rap, “Nature Boy”. I actually like the way he weaves his fascination for wrestling into the lyrics and pays a little homage to Rick Flair, the original “Nature Boy”. The gritty toughness of “Bad Situation” is made for the impassioned delivery Amen gives, Head On Side Bwhich also makes it one of the best songs on the album.

While the first track, “Hollywood” is totally dope, my choice for top CD track honors has got to be “Arsonist”. This song about trust and betrayal is absolutely sick from beginning to end. Amen’s sharply emotional delivery gives life to the emotions that result when that backstabbing traitor in your life is someone you loved and trusted. Hell yeah, baby, it’s best to “burn those bridges” and get rid of all that shit before it engulfs your soul. “It’s the only way to protect yourself.” That can of (emotional) gasoline is sometimes your one and only friend; and like the Phoenix, you’ll be cleansed and reborn from the ashes. This is a powerful song but there are bound to be some who are going to overlook the intense message that is being conveyed.

Even though Amen is a rapper with spot-on delivery and amazing talent he should have dumped a couple of the tracks from this CD, especially “Like 50” and “Real Life”. You can not make an excuse for including these two raps. They are both totally lacking any passion, emotion or creativity. If Amen didn’t see the problems with the songs, then Forge should have stepped in here and straightened it out. Whoa! DJ Forge produced “Real Life” so what’s up with that? Okay, so maybe these couple of missteps can be chalked up to some type of ego moment; whatever the reason let’s hope it’s not repeated on the next album.

Here are a few tracks from the album. What do you think?

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