Panacea: The Scenic Route

As inundated as Hip-Hop fans already are, and have been for some time, with album releases, every so often someone comes along who shifts the focus of how Hip-Hop should sound. Now and again, there is that album release that challenges the creative foundations of the genre’s music and opens up listener’s ears to new perspectives. Enter Panacea, the Hip-Hop duo of emcee Raw Poetic and producer K-Murdock. Though started as a side project to the group’s larger collective, RPM (Restoring Poetry in Music), Panacea is in the spotlight right now as the two artists are poised to release The Scenic Route (Rawkus Records), the third release under the Panacea moniker. Rooted in its softer sound, melodic grooves and music that relies less on a bass line and more on built of layers of sound. Instead, the group utilizes other sections of the orchestra, giving The Scenic Route an apt-title considering Panacea seamlessly takes listeners on a journey of sorts, a collage of lyrics over a staccato of music. Even if the music as a whole seems light in nature, K-Murdock has a whole palate of sounds to work with, playing around more with horns, violins and pianos. Songs such as “Between Earth and Sky” and “One Shine” speed up the tempo while others such as “The Scenic Route” take a more laidback approach in sound, which proves beyond a doubt that no matter which “hat” K-Murdock uses, Raw Poetic is lyrically just as much up for the challenge. Poetic has an aptitude for wrapping his pen around an issue and riding it to the very end. Just check is lyrics from the album’s title track, where he states, “Something for certain is the best way to describe the person/The source we’re searching of the person best and what we’re cursing/From the caring to hurting/The smallest spots I’m lurking/They think I’ll dry up because so many I’m deserting.Certainly there are instances where the album blends together, so much so that it’s difficult to see where one song ends and the other begins. That is both good and a bad. Scenic Route is strong in its cohesion. But to not differentiate between songs can also show a lack of diversity. And as Raw Poetic is the one that picks the music to use for his lyrics, maybe that simply shows an emcee too comfortable with a certain type of song. But for all of the apparent monotony that is created in not being able to see the different tracks, the imaginative nature behind Scenic Route makes it a road trip worth taking.SOUNDCHECK:Panacea "One Shine"Panacea "The Scenic Route"