Saturday, December 13, 2014

[Album Review] "Under God" By @SincerelySaRese

If you’ve never heard of King Fresh then it's very well upon listening to his first CD Thank God I'm Fresh (released January 2014) that you would've done like I did and skipped to songs that offered a more recognizable feature such as Mean Much and Situation which feature ExecGang’s front runner, rapper and producer SupaNatra. Executive produced by Selah Benjamin of Young World Muzik Ent, T.G.I.F sounds more like someone experimenting with various sounds, accidentally putting them together, then asking someone to rap over tracks. Aside from the aforementioned songs, T.G.I.F made me feel as though Fresh is constantly gasping for air and each time he is about to catch his breath, he is suffocated by substandard production.

Enter Under God.

From the cover alone it’s immediately revealed that this isn’t the same person from ten months ago. Fresh is pictured on the cover wearing sunglasses and a near 100 year-old American flag from the Lincoln Theatre draped around his neck. His arms are outstretched and depending on how you choose to portray it, he could either be perceived to be surrendering, awaiting handcuffs, or he could be gripping imaginary pistols. Either depiction carries a very heavy meaning. The first; are we really “the land of the free” in a country that was never meant to protect us? Will this great nation that I pledge allegiance to hold the same allegiance to me? Or the second; am I left to my own vices with the only option to defend myself the best way I know how? Opting to have the cover shot in black and white takes away the infamous red, white and blue of our great flag and leaves us with one fact; we are all merely children Under God. 

The intro begins with children reciting the national anthem and the first thing that stands out to me is that I can actually hear what they are saying verses feeling as though I was being screamed at like on his previous project. Not only that but the title of the album is tied into the Pledge of Allegiance, which is again repeated on the outro. Usually this is the part where I decide to skim through the songs and stop only when something catches my ear but then How You Feel comes on and it’s as if I’m actually being greeted and welcomed to listen to something I haven’t experienced before so I allow it to play all the way through. Gone are the overbearing sounds of T.G.I.F, which Under God has now replaced with more melodic arrangements and samples (Slow Down samples a song from Mary J. Blige What’s the 411 with the same title) that allow Fresh to ride the beats as effortlessly as surfers ride waves. Executively produced and mixed by Demetrius “SupaNatra” Howard for Chief Execs Entertainment LLC, the songs blend together seamlessly creating one cohesive sound thus supporting the overall theme of the album.

If his lyricism was ever in question, songs like Carmina Flow immediately dead any speculation with crafty entendres such as “Sexing in sections etc./I’m extra terrestrial/excellent aeros over my area/Wright brothers/sounds of hysteria/history barriers/lost souls/history bury us/Jesus just bare with us/I brought a bear with us…

But it isn’t until So Be It that you catch a glimpse at a more personal side of Fresh when he says “…wavey at the highest peak/30 leagues under the sea/my ancestors carried me/to Plymouth Rock apparently/King Fresh legacy/shot me in the leg to see the path God embedded me/royalty’s ahead of me/loyalty will never be/cuz when you try to build em’ up they 9/11 everything/envy crushing every dream.”

Personally, that’s one of my favorite verses on the album and after listening to that I had to think what the comparison between T.G.I.F and Under God reminded me of and it finally hit me. One of my favorite artists is J. Cole and on Rich Niggaz (Born Sinner, June 14th, 2013 released under Roc Nation and Columbia Records) he says “It’s like Sony signed Basquiat/he gave it all he got/now the nigga don’t paint the same, J.Cole.” 

Seems like all Fresh needed was a producer who provided a large enough canvas and allowed him the freedom to create with whatever colors he chose.

Under God was released November 25th, 2014 and is available for purchase on iTunes, Beats Music, Pandora and Spotify Stream.

Purchase Here On iTunes

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