Hear The Track HereAs I was saying in my 2010 roundup, hip hop has moved significantly forward for me as a reviewer during the last year or so; there has been an influx of newer, rawer artists that have breathed life into an almost moribund, heard-it-all-before mish mash only enlightened by a few good rappers and musicians. One of those keeping the flame burning bright is EJ Hooker (also known as many things) showing that rap isn't always about riches and bitches, or mass profanity either. It's also about delivering music that both entertains and informs and, to give him credit, Ejay has done it for a good few years now. The last time I encountered him was....mmm lessee now....Falling Thru (April 2010), which wasn't IMHO one of his better tracks.
On The Edge shows him back on form, doing hip hop the way it was always meant to be, with lyrics that are meaningful, or even important rather than an endless display of narcissism that currently plagues our existence. Having said that, there is no doubt that this track owes a massive debt to the original - and still unbeaten - The Message by Grandmaster Flash, and to the immortal line 'don't push me 'cos I'm close to the edge'. Whether this was intentional or otherwise on Ejays part I have no idea but there are marked similarities. If it is, to my mind, it is the proper nod of respect to your musical forefathers and exactly what I would expect from a musician of Ejay's calibre. Can't say I am a big fan of copyists, especially when they are Eminem clones, which also blight our existence, so its good to someone keeping it real.
I know, beyond all shadow of doubt, that hip hop and/or rap isn't to everyones taste but it certainly is to mine, having been raised on those originals. I remember how fresh and challenging it all seemed and - in some ways - On The Edge captures that spirit. Wreckless Music, like a great many hip hop artists, rely on bought-in or collaborative musical backing tracks and this is the area that most often lets them down, but this backing (supplied by Exile Beats)is rich, full and meaty. That is one of the main draws, at least in the first few plays, unless you are an old fart like me and recognise the Grandmaster Flash connection glomming on to that instantly like a man possessed. For my money, this is an excellent track for Wreckless, musically and lyrically interesting and it's not very often you get to say that of hip hop these days.
Excellent flashback in modern guise. Highly Recommended.