Artist: EmanonTitle: The Waiting RoomRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Max Herman
Emanon is one of Southern Californias best-kept secrets. This Orange County duo, comprised of MC Aloe Blacc and DJ/producer Exile, has been making music together since 1995, but until recently, only a select few have gotten their hands on their material. Following up on their well-received 2002 EP Anon and On, these two finally have an official album to their name and its a damn good one. The Waiting Room (Shaman Work) properly introduces the world to the combination of Aloes cool vocals and the unpredictable production of DJ Exile.
Whether its jazz or funk or soul music/folk songs, rock & roll Im gonna use it, raps Aloe on Make Music. While Aloe only contributes production on two tracks, this declaration sums up Emanons sound pretty well. Beginning with the jubilant reggae-flavored single, Count Your Blessings to the chill jazz on the closing song Farewell, Emanon truly draws from just about every type of music one could think of. But what really sets them apart from other Hip-hop duos is their ability to feed off each others talents. Cuts like A Story and Ahh Quai see Exile craft some erratic tempo-shifting beats, which Aloe effortlessly flows right alongside to. Exile never returns with the same beat and Aloe doesnt seem to mind a bit. Being that Aloe is a trained musician and occasional beat maker, he caries a certain respect for Exiles music that most MCs wouldnt. And as Exile occasionally picks up the mic himself (see Six Million Ways), his appreciation for Aloes sharp yet comprehensible lyricism only adds to their chemistry on wax.
The Hip-hop of Emanon may not necessarily be hard-hitting, but it manages to powerfully undertake social issues, love songs and b-boy manifestos alongside a remarkable medley of music. Until somebody proves otherwise, theyre the best hip-hop act to come out of the O.C.