Artist: HezekiahTitle: Hurry Up & Wait…Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine
Delaware stands just miles south of Philadelphia, watching, studying. Despite being a state known for its small size, Delaware has a lot to say, prove. Hip-hop has yet to give Delaware its chance to voice it, after years of loyal support from the Dupont State. Like his home, Hezekiah has sat back and studied. On Hurry Up & Wait… (Soulspazm) the self-admitted recluse of an MC uses his introspection, not his crowd dominance, to make a plunge into the game.
Hezekiah is multi-talented. Like a Mos Def or Cee-Lo, his is able to sing and rap his way through the album. “Children Don’t Play” is a simple song that glides over a nice downbeat key arrangement. Conversely, Hezekiah is a monster of a showman on “Put Your Toys Away”. While the beat and the delivery seems like mimicry of Jay-Z and 9th Wonder’s “Threat”, Hezekiah still runs the show. For any MC who has ever faced a difficult, upward road, this is an anthem of repressed energy you’re sure to relate to. But after aforementioned opening track, Hurry Up & Wait never matches that strong energy again. Label-mate and Philly underground legend, Grand Agent joins Hezekiah on “Live & Direct”. This cypher-themed collaboration is quite mediocre on Hezekiah’s part, and Agent’s delivery saves the day. Other notable guest shots include Scratch, who brings to life the beat on “Scandalous” and the long-missed, Bahamadia on “Gypsy Slang”. Perhaps the finest lyrical treat is a hidden bonus track, “Gasoline”. Here, the MC uses fast delivery, outstanding description, and reality raps to paint a perfect picture of urban life. The sense of demand, threat, and power here is crazy. Hezekiah spends the entire album building to this point, where he lyrically explodes for the best. Hezekiah certainly proves his skill with this album. However, the project fails to clearly define its purpose. At times, this album seems to charter a laid back journey, reveal truths, and drop science. Other places, Hezekiah is driven to flex muscle, and be loud, live, and show off skill. Although balanced, this fails to translate homogenously. Instead, the project feels over-ambitious, and headed in opposing directions, without a bridge.
Backed by The Beat Society, Hurry Up & Wait… has more musical blessings than many debuts. In actuality though, most of that credit is due to the MC, who produced the bulk of the project. “Right On” and “Photograph” are nice continuations of a sound that Philly is identifying with by way of the Touch of Jazz crew and others. Hezekiah favors strong melody and hard bass, such as the pounding lows on “It Couldn’t Be Done”. For a reclusive MC, this album certainly seems to have been produced by a student of successful chill-out club records. The un-ignorable “Put Your Toys Away”, is one of the out-sourced productions, courtesy of M-Phazes. In his defense, the beat has been available on The Beat Society page for months before The Black Album was released. Illmind also brings to life a collage of sounds on “Before I Go”. The choppy arrangement is uplifting to the spirit, mixed with Hezekiah’s vocals.
Hurry Up & Wait… is a strong debut, and a needed staple for the state of Delaware. Solid rhymes and supreme do-it-yourself production make for a project that carries lots of appeal. However, while the talent is clear, the bigger picture of the album is missing some pieces. The record wants to do many things, and doesn’t achieve all of them fully. It will be interesting to watch it all unfold. But in today’s fickle and oversaturated market, this deserves a look.