I've been following Brooklyn's DJ Ezasscul for some time now. I was initially introduced to his music as a teen when he was releasing tracks for the jazzy hip hop label Digi Crates Records. While he was working strictly as a producer back then, he has since added Emceeing into his musical arsenal. I have decided to review his most recent release, Analog Consumption.
I've come to expect quality boom-bap productions from the prodigy so it comes as absolutely no surprise to see that the production is stellar and the instrumental tracks are great. They are cleverly placed throughout the album and act as long interludes serving as really nice transitions into the next set of vocal tracks that precede them.
The subject matter is standard fare if you’re a fan of Hip-Hop (hustling, city life, drugs, and the come-up) however Eaze and his contemporaries manage to riff on these topics without being needlessly raunchy and more often than not, take the high-road as far as lyricism goes. In a generation where rappers proudly wax poetic about masturbation and vomiting on mosquitos tits, it was rejuvenating (and mature) to see the artists exercise some restraint.
This release is at it's best when Eaze manages to marry the gritty cellar-cypher vibes of classic Hip-Hop (a la Onyx & Smif-N-Wessun) with adept rhymes, and gentle, atmospheric countermelodies. “Who Don’t Feel Us”, “Nocturnal” and “We On Our Own” are definite high points and showcase his potential as a lyricist and producer. Welcomed appearances from Marchitect of The 49ers, E-Prosounds, and L.A.Z of Clear Soul Forces (who I had the pleasure of interviewing last year) also add to the tracks and inject a veteran presence into the atmosphere of the project.
Something else that i’ve always admired is how he never shies away from bigging up rappers and producers who inspire him. It’s great to see that some artists still acknowledge their forefathers and it’s because of this, Eaze comes across as a fan who genuinely wants to pay homage to the analog era, and it's fucking awesome.
While some tracks needed a bit more work on the vocal mixing ("Maybe You Don’t Understand" and "Put That On Everything" immediately come to mind), the content and intention is there. This isn't entirely his fault however as the ever-present Loudness War has been in full effect for the past few decades. Like many new releases, the productions overshadow the lyrical content, resulting in some muffled and underwhelming output. A few adjustments in post and i'm sure this can be fixed. It's hardly a deal-breaker, but it is noticeable enough in spots to warrant mentioning. This was the only misstep in an otherwise outstanding release.
Overall, Eaze has proven once again that he embodies the traditional sound and grittiness of good ol’ fashioned New York hip hop. It is extremely refreshing to hear an artist from our generation pay homage to the old school sounds and cadences of the Golden Era.
Eaze was also kind enough to put together a small sample EP called Slightly Distorted for the readers to check out.
Above Average Lyrics/Subject Matter
Minimal features, but they add to tracks whenever present
Eaze sounds like a fan and student of the analog era
NY Hip-Hop that actually SOUNDS like NY Hip-Hop
Favorite Track: Nocturnal.