Insomnia Vol. 1 (Mixtape)

Artist: AsheruTitle: Insomnia Vol. 1 (Mixtape)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: N. Context

“Hark, who goes yonder?”

“It is I sire, Locked with no bail.”

“Well speak up man, what is it?”

“News from the East sire, MC Asheru has returned…”

It’s been far too long since we’ve heard anything new from Asheru and Blue Black of the Unspoken Heard. So I guess it’s only right that Asheru comes through to fill the void with Insomnia Vol. 1 (Black Arts Ink) a prelude to While You Were Sleeping, his soon to be released solo LP. While you were catching some shut eye, the Mid-Atlantic’s best kept secret has been up on his grind bringing you an alternative to that star status mainstream rap that has a strangle lock on the industry. By verbally illustrating to cats that you can be nice without always flossin’ or brandishing glock-tails, Asheru is “holdin’ it down for the everyday dude”.

Insomnia Vol. 1 gives you 26 tracks (minus some skits) of collaborations, exclusives and unreleased material which showcase Asheru’s adept versatility. He has various song concepts ranging from dealing with relationship issues stemming from being a constantly touring MC on “You Don’t Have to Worry” to “You’re So Vain” where he remakes of Carly Simon’s song of the same title, using it as an industry wide criticism to the monotonous mainstream music being produced. He can also appeal to the B-Boy/Girl in all of us by simply displaying lyrical skills as he does on “A.S.H.E.R.U.” where he uses each letter of his name to describe an aspect of himself. (For Example: “U! Unmitigated, unadulterated, made it unspoken understated, niggas say we underrated…”).

A pair of notable tracks in this creatively consistent collection include “Emotional Content” feat Blue Black and Djinji Brown and “The Hustle” feat Agent 006 and Heron Gibrani. The chemistry with Asheru and his Unspoken brethren on ‘Emotional Content’ is as fluid as ever. Over a funky snare drum track they take turns attacking the groove on and off beat. ‘The Hustle’ has a tight g-funk style beat, melodic chorus and smooth lyrics that’ll keep your head nodding and your finger tapping rewind.

Insomnia Vol. 1 is worth every penny. The production, including gems from Oddisee and Kev Brown, is solid all the way through and the lyrics, not just lyrical content, are on point. Like most mixtapes, there are songs you will skip but probably just to get to your favorite track of the moment. Pop a couple of Vivarin and cop this.

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