In all honesty a lot of followers of underground Rap were a little skeptical when news broke that Masta Ace, Punchline, Wordsworth, and Stricklin were forming an underground supergroup named eMC. While the skill of all four MCs is evident, the super-group album efforts in Hip-Hop have a history of not meeting the potential seen on paper (Dungeon Family, The Firm).
The challenge has always been maintaining a solid, cohesive vision for the album while still having the individual talents shine through. With eMCs debut album The Show (M3 Records), it appears this super-group wont suffer the same fate.
From the beginning, this effort has a very strong Masta Ace influence. The concept skits that helped make Ace albums Disposable Arts and A Long Hot Summer so enjoyable are here. They range from lighthearted fare like the group extorting a show promoter for hotel perks, to voicemail laments to spouses who cant understand an artists travel schedule.
Also, the varied song topics prevent the project from falling into glorified mixtape territory: Dont Give Up On Us (a strained love), Winds Of Change (the Hip-Hop music cycle), and Who We Be (personal manifestos) all show the group members have grown from their Lyricist Lounge beginnings.
Production wise eMC tapped the usual suspects, utilizing contributions from Nicolay (EMC (What It Stand For?)), Ayatollah (Four Brothers), and Quincy Tones ("Winds Of Change"). The melodies and samples are conservative, but not monotonous and accompany the lyricists well.
Guests include Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets doing chorus duty on the frenetic title track The Show, Sean Price on Git Some, and Little Brother on the soulful Traffic. While theres nothing groundbreaking here, the formula of rich, accessible beats and lyrics and flows guarantees this album will be a success with the underground scene.
eMC Featuring Little Brother
"Winds Of Change"