Hear The Track HereTell you the truth, I am in two minds about whether or not this review is going to be of any use to anyone because - it appears - this musicians webpage seems to be under 'Soundclick review' which could mean a number of things - none of them good. Say one thing about Soundclick, they definitely stomp on SOME wrongdoing, notably copyright issues but having reviewed eXceL a couple of times this is not something I would have put him down for. Therefore, the link may take you to the 'review pending' page or - when its hopefully resolved - to the track in question. Just got to hope that by the time you get there, the track will also be fully available. In other words, don't blame me if this goes wrong ;) (Ed: so nothing new there then). As it happens, I've reviewed a fair bit of hip hop over the past couple of years and my position should be clear.
I loved what rap/hip hop started with when bands like Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, FullForce, Public Enemy, NWA, Rakim, Chuck D, and KRS-One made the genre live, and it had social meaning and context. Moreover, it reached out to whole swatches of disaffected kids (mainly black African Americans) and showed them there are ways to live other than by the gun. In a way, I guess, it became their rock and roll; another way of getting out of a life that seemed to offer no opportunities. In a way I suppose that is why these days it is THE predominant factor in music. What I do despise to the depth of my being is the way - yet again - its heart and soul has been ripped out of it and repackaged into a MUCH more brutal format, and all purely to sell records. Those early rappers weren't interested in selling records, they had a message and THAT is what counted. So the current strain is banal, facile and repugnant to anyone with half a brain, and I reserve special venom to what I call Hallmark hip hop, all flowers, love and sweet (nay puke-inducing) sentiment.
While I find a great deal of the original ethos in the unsigned world, it is still the commercial market that rules mostly, and the Hallmark kind in particular has a HUGE audience, although God knows why. I've liked what Excel has done before, but in all honesty I'm not struck by this. Its obvious however that isn't for me, I know this will find great favour in its intended market. The reason for that is because Excel actually knows what he's doing as he has proved before with his solo work and with Just FAM (Freshset), and whatever I personally feel about the material there is no denying that Excel has this trick d-o-w-n. I think I'd rather hear his version of Hallmark than most others that's for sure and I'm sure the audience this is aimed at will lap it up. Me? I guess I'm getting old.... So even though I personally am not into it, by sheer professionalism it deserves a....
Highly Recommended hip hop