Artist: Moka OnlyTitle: The Desired EffectRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Slav Kandyba
The NBA may have pulled out of Vancouver, but not even a sour situation with a major can stop the city’s own Moka Only. The emcee’s recognizable mellow chops have hit U.S. eardrums on a variety of releases and fans accustomed to Moka’s sound will find much of the same on The Desired Effect (Green Streets/Nature Sounds).
On The Desired Effect, Moka offers up lyrics like a more abstract Common and a sound similar to the Digable Planets-without all that jazz. The lyrical content is hard to decipher by listening even several times over, but somehow that does not make the album less enjoyable. It could be because however conceptual the rhymes, they work with the beats to create a pleasant sound; the music emits a certain warmth, while the lyrics just kind of float over the snares, piano riffs and various percussion sounds. The tempo on each track is virtually the same, save for head-nodding and snappy Jay Dee produced “One Time (the re-up version)” and the groovy “More Soup,” which features MF Doom. Other producers include Oh No, J Rawls and Sixtoo.
The album’s title track finds Moka telling the story of signing with a major only to be told to change his sound and have his album pushed back numerous times. A melodic piano riff and female voice accentuate “So Heavy.” Moka speaks on the everyday issues affecting the creative process, from a girl who doesn’t believe in her man’s artistic pursuits when he says, “My partner, she talking all this J-O-B shit/You fucking kidding, this is my J-O-B,” to fans reaction of lack there of when he adds, “The less people listen, the more my head glistens/I am sweating.”
Moka’s only problem-if it is a problem at all-is that he is a too much of a true artist in a world of rappers and emcees that are hardly artistic. Instead of “microwave music”, Moka concocts gourmet meals. Unfortunately, only diners accustomed to consuming such fancy treats will take the time required to give Moka’s music its due diligence. The Desired Effect will be lost on most ears.