Columbus Or Bust

Artist: Greenhouse EffectTitle: Columbus Or BustRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine

With the acclaim behind Edan’s Beauty & The Beat and Kaze’s Spirit of ’94, it seems that throwback albums are quite the trend as of late. Blueprint’s 1988 was the most recent in the series of releases. But as Blueprint’s production concept impressed, his reputation for lyrical insights dropped. Less than six months later, ‘Printmatic is back with his revamped Greenhouse Effect group with partner, Manifest. While it lacks the conceptual gingerbread of 1988, the Columbus Or Bust (Raptivism) effort contains the jewels expected from Ohio’s most active MC and company.

Lyrically, Manifest takes a backseat to Blueprint for most of the album. His verses often come second in sequence as well as in quality content. “Still Shook” is an interesting rendition of “Shook Ones.” There’s nothing outshining the Mobb original, but the respect of another artist is very clear, and the adjusted verses are appealing to fans. The personal lyricism is best embodied in “It’s Only Life.” Here, Manifest brings out an energetic flow in the vein of Jay Dee that makes him and Blueprint look better as they drop simple, but quotable offerings on the means to an existence in these troubled times, over an almost Screwed beat. One of these lines is “I feel like Rueben Studdard in a world of Clay Aikens.” Simple, but memorable. “E-Things” attacks the cyber Hip-Hop community, but lacks the bite of Akrobatik’s “Internet MC’s.” As with Ak, it feels strange coming from an artist that seems to have depended on modem sales. Underground kingpin Murs and MHz alumni Jakki swing through to fill out a nice guest-list.

While most efforts produced by Blueprint have a particular style of music, Columbus Or Bust seems more of an amalgam of styles he’s tried throughout the last five years. “They Listen to This” is a very up-tempo track re-flipping a sample many will recognize from Kweli and Hi-Tek fame. Blueprint furthers his reputation for being one of Hip-Hop’s best guitar manipulators. “Bad Girl” uses some guitar chops and fading effects to create a great instrumental. Then, “It’s Only Life” is a gem that feels like it belongs on a Paul Wall album, but somehow fits nicely here.

Columbus or Bust builds upon the Greenhouse Effect name established in the past. The personnel changes seem to work, but some songs leave a listener doubting if Manifest can keep up. The subject matter has evolved tremendously, and chases upon the deep content of Blueprint’s solo and Soul Position efforts. 2005 is Blueprint’s year, and for those trying to be in the know, this feels far more authentic when paired against 1988.