Artist: Deep RootedTitle: The Second ComingRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine
San Diego's conscious Hip-Hop comes to the light by way of the experienced collective Deep Rooted. Former Battle Axe Records producer Mr. Brady backs a group that features the talented songstress Brea with MC Johaz and DJ Artistic. The Second Coming (Open Myndz) is an album that has a familiar agenda in loving the music, but Deep Rooted does more with that music than most.
"Break of Dawn" is Deep Rooted at their best. Supported by Michigan's One.Be.Lo, this song captures the late-night euphoria of Jay-Z's "Feelin' It" and adds a bit more common-man vibes to the lyrics. "Weekends" furthers the theme, chronicling the financial hardships amidst a dream job of being a fulltime MC. Johaz and Brea have a beautiful chemistry, and in an age where guest crooners are brought in, Brea adds a sensuality and warmness to lyrics that respect the nod factor.
The Second Coming is Mr. Brady's strongest work to date. Though the beats are largely sample-based, the compositions feel so complete that the ear says otherwise. "Live Your Life" suggests the busy approach: a jazzy piano loop, Dilla-like drums, DJ Artistic cutting up a Wu record, as Brea sings lines from Junior's "Mama Used to Say". Deep Rooted lives up to their name in terms of going beyond a sticky beat and a hard rhyme. This is thoughtfully produced music. "Break of Dawn" incorporates a dramatic string sample with playful keys, to which the MCs all respond with syncopated deliveries. Oh No and Jake One also provide additional production within an album that shows Mr. Brady truly breaking through.
At a time when soulful Hip-Hop reached its own monotony, Deep Rooted gives the genre a new spin. Brea gives the group a sensibility that others lack, and her singing only enhances the lyrical subject matter. The Second Coming is a musical look at struggles, day-jobs, and the pursuit of a dream. This group is a more grounded City High, with respect for Hip-Hop, and sincerity in their lyrics.