Artist: Blood of AbrahamTitle: EyeDollarTreeRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Dubstin G
Fans of obscure mid-nineties Hip-Hop rejoice: Blood of Abraham is back with
a new(ish) album. The duo of MCs Benyad and Mazik made a bit of a splash
more than ten years ago when Eazy-E helped get them signed by Ruthless
Records. This was a big deal back then since both MCs are white and Jewish,
with Benyad coming straight out of Israel. These days, white Jewish rappers
are a dime a dozen, but, as they show with their new album, Eyedollartree (MasterGrip/Basement Records), Blood of Abraham has a lot more to offer than just a racial or ethnic gimmick.
Eyedollartree is the duo's second album, and not exactly a new release. The album was supposed to be released in 2000 by Atomic Pop, which went under. Now the group has signed with Basement Records, which is re-releasing the album. Eyedollartree is a well-produced album, full of dark beats and ominous samples. MCs Benyad and Mazik rhyme about America and greed, never getting too specific or political, but making it pretty obvious they think things aren't looking very bright. Unfortunately, the lyrics are five years old, for it would be interesting to hear what the two MCs have to say in now, after 9-11, the war in Iraq and the current situation in Gaza. Regardless, Blood of Abraham's strong point is not in their lyrics, but in their ability to transcend genres. The duo shines best when they abandon vague, gloomy rhymes to sing over the psychedelic "Calling All Citizens" or the hardcore funk of "Hurricane." In terms of straight up Hip-Hop, Eyedollartree's highlights are in tracks like the laid back "Tion" or the minimal "Diseases", both of which benefit from Benyad and Mazik's rare ability to create catchy, memorable choruses.
On the negative side, in terms of pure lyricism and flow, the two live Jews don't have much to brag about. Blood of Abraham are twice outshone by guest stars, with Divine Styler dominating "Omagatron" and the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am (who also helped produce the album) killing it on "99 Cents". Additionally, neither Benyad nor Mazik has a particularly commanding voice, and combined with their often average lyrics, this leads many of the album's darker tracks to blend together into a slow, brooding mish-mash.
Overall, Eyedollartree is a good listen, and the exceptional moments more than make up for the boring tracks. Let's just hope Blood of Abraham doesn¹t
wait another 10 years before releasing their next album.