True Links

Artist: Edgar Allen FloeTitle: True LinksRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Starrene Rhett

The latest member of the Justus League to pick up the mic and ward off wack-lyrical-evil-doers everywhere is Edgar Allen Floe, with his True Links EP (MCEO). There are no R&B choruses and no repetitious chanting of oafish lyrics screamed over the beat ad nauseam. With minimal guest appearances, and production by 9thWonder, Illmind, Khrysis, Obsidian Blue, Picasso, DJ Forge, and Slicemysta, Floe’s alter ego, True Links is a dope listening experience. Encompassing a jazzy sound reminiscent of east coast Hip-Hop circa the early to mid 90’s, the 9-track head-bopper forces the listener to pay attention not only to the beat, but to E.A. Floe’s keen storytelling and agile flow-pun intended.

The opening song, “The Formula 2005,” is a cautionary tale about what happens to lyrical contenders who imitate Floe’s “formula.” With a heavy emphasis on horns and tambourine-like drums, it sounds like it’s from a blaxploitation movie soundtrack; enter the movie’s hero walking down the street donned in his finest apparel, turning heads with theme music playing in the background. What exactly happens to verbal contenders? They get embarrassed and destroyed by Floe’s superior skills. The good news is, you won’t be continually pressing the skip button, however, there are some tracks that stand out more than others. “Back in Time” is a laid back, funky ode to Floe’s childhood experience, growing up with Hip-Hop. Reminding 80’s children of early LL Cool J, Kangols, and break dancing (or at least attempting to) at block parties, it takes on a somber tone as Floe describes why he feels that capitalism and greed have drastically changed the music that he loves, for the worse. In the end, he lifts the mood again by proclaiming his mission to save the music and culture. “The Great Adventure” featuring L.E.G.A.C.Y. and Median, affirms the Justus Leagues’ mission to make strategic moves that will lead them to musical success.“Imagine” urges dreamers to obtain their goals not only for the benefit of themselves but also for the benefit of generations to come. And lastly, “Livelyhood” takes you back to ’93. Thanks to Floe’s lyrical guidance, the listener can vividly picture them self at a party with Floe on stage commanding the crowd, as they hypnotically oblige his requests to wave hands from side to side. In this song, Floe urges the listener to make no mistake about his superior crowd moving skills.

Edgar Allen Floe has enough promise to have as big an impact on Hip-Hop as the same influence legendary writer, Edgar Allen Poe had on literature. As the play on words in his moniker suggests, the man has skills and Tue Links is a worthy introduction to Floe 101.