One Be Lo: The R.E.B.I.R.T.H.

Underground artists make their way into the mainstream after countless shows, touring, word of mouth promotion, and putting in that extra grind to make a name for themselves. Some like Common and Mos Def have gone on to build thriving careers in addition to music. Others while successful in their own rite, never seem to get past the label of "underground artist". With two previous albums, Project F.E.T.U.S. and S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M. already under his belt, One Be Lo. is back with his newest album, The R.E.B.I.R.T.H. (Subterraneous) to take another shot at the spotlight.

The album seems to have a bit of a theme that he’s back and other MC’s should take note. It also contains more than enough movie excerpts that Wu-Tang has already exhausted back in the ‘90’s. It opens with the title track “Rebirth” where One Be Lo, formerly known as OneManArmy and member of the group Binary Star, reintroduces himself. The drum heavy track is suitable for the Michigan native who explains that “Sometimes your artists’ decisions is bad business / And other times thinking dollars and senseless.” Although he already had his game plan mapped out previously, it wasn’t his time just yet.

The futuristic “Born & Raised” puts his hometown of Pontiac. Other tracks like the attention grabbing “House Rules” is lyrically fulfilling and one of the best titles on the twelve track effort. Lines like “Waiting for these labels to feed you, maybe the next day / My nine to five check in the bank was never this late” proves that he’s in no rush to accept nothing less than what his vocabulary merits.

“Snap Shot” has a very old-school yet refreshing vibe directed towards the ladies. He describes a woman as African Sister Soul not after material riches; as he’s not afraid to step to her and show that he’s not like other rapper guys. The track is very melodic until an excerpt featuring Mr. T upsets the flow. Although the content was still relevant to the song’s lyrics, it threw off any type of positive vibes felt from the track.

Despite the numerous excerpts on the album, One Be Lo definitely has some pretty heavy lyrics to pay attention to. One of the earlier tracks, “Headlines," makes reference to current events including rising gas prices, religion, propaganda, and talks about his views of the real price of life.

The album doesn’t feature any guest collaborations, which is probably not a bad idea considering he’s still trying to make a bigger name for himself. If watching underground artists develop their craft as they put out more albums is your leisure pursuit, then The R.E.B.I.R.T.H. should prove to be very satisfying.

One Be Lo.

"Hip-Hop Heaven"

One Be Lo.

"The G Gap"