Artist: EdanTitle: Beauty And The BeatRating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jesse Fairfax
Edan may be Hip-hops proverbial best kept secret. Having attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston and coming up in the same ranks as underground stars like Mr. Lif and Akrobatik, his 2002 debut Primitive Plus boasted mastery of the MCing, DJing, and producing triumvirate. Further remarkable is his knowledge of old school Hip-Hop, while still in his mid 20s making songs paying homage to the Ultramagnetic MCs and Schooly D. Meanwhile the art form is advanced by his fun music with innovative flows, excellent wordplay and varying production from classical to jazz to boom-bap and other deviations from hard to light. Sticking to his guns but throwing listeners for a loop is Beauty & The Beat (Lewis), displaying growth where it would seem Edan could go no further.
From the intro the album is pushed in a psychedelic direction, but he manages to keep things rooted in Hip-hop. The lead single I See Colours has him flexing braggadocio over a light guitar, the vocal samples range from hippy music to Biz Markie. Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme is a lesson in Hip-hop history, teaching the impacts of Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Grand Wizard Theodore, Cold Crush Brothers and many other pioneers. On Murder Mystery after a short rhyme a jazz section highlights the song. Percee P guest stars on Torture Chamber, flipping his standard tongue twisting battle raps. The two part Making Planets has Edan starting over a funky bassline and Mr. Lif coming through hard on the second half over a more 60s rock influenced track. Things get heavier with the aptly titled Rock And Roll featuring Dagha. Usual collaborator Insight is on Funky Voltron and The Science Of The Two, he has chemistry with Edan rivaling that of any duo currently in Hip-hop. The album closes with Promised Land a triumphant tale of heroism traveling nations, galaxies and jungles.
While it clocks in around 34 minutes long, there is not one uninteresting moment on Beauty & The Beat. Edan continues to run laps around competition outdoing most with well structured rhymes and beats that move listeners while managing to innovate. Hes fully representing his vision of what the B-Boy movement should progress into, and the results show he not only knows what hes doing but he means business.