The Ripple Effect

Artist: SplashTitle: The Ripple EffectRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman

Credit is given to Petey Pablo for the introducing North Carolina Hip-hop to the mainstream, but it was Little Brother who broke down the door for the underground. Now the floodgates are open and more Carolina Hip-hop acts are reaping the benefits. Newcomer Splash is one of these individuals who are representing the state's new wave. While not a member of the Justus League, Splash mirrors the Little Brother sound to a tee with his common man approach on the mic. He is not going to battle you, hit you over the head with politics, or make you dance. Instead, Splash offers the everyday struggles. With his debut album, The Ripple Effect (Amp Truth Records), Splash gives you his life. From the birth of his son, to troubles at the workplace, to trying to graduate college on time, Splash epitomizes your average man on wax.

With the sentimental "Hold On (Almost Home)" Splash reminisces about the birth of his son and his thought process during the period. "I was strongly advised to have that abortion/ But your demise would lead to misfortune". Producer K Black is able to accentuate Splash's story with his sensual keys and precise drums. Emotions continue to rise on "Feels Good", a cheerful 9th Wonder produced track that finds Splash happy for all the little things in life. But The Ripple Effect is not a happy go lucky album, as Splash sticks to his true to life form by providing a variety of moods. "Chatter" is the album's most aggressive effort, as Splash addresses all the haters. "Y'all hating fucks couldn't smudge a finger print/ Or raise a hair line of what Splash G invents/ You are one dimensional even on your hardest sh*t". Throughout the album, Splash displays his conceptual talent, but it is on the standout track "Bobb'n Ya Head" where we finally get Splash spitting some lyrical heat. Over 9th Wonder's vintage production, complete with standard drum pattern and vocal sample, Splash bob's and weaves in and out of the beat effortlessly, sounding like anything but a rookie.

With The Ripple Effect, Splash builds upon the foundation that Little Brother has set. The similarities in style are hard to deny, especially with 9th Wonder behind the boards for half of the album. Nevertheless, Splash still cements himself as his own emcee with his "regular dude" mentality. While conceptually The Ripple Effect will not blow you away, its intended audience will appreciate the mature tone.