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Brooklyn. That’s the best way to describe Mo Betta Blues’ new album, The Right Time. And being Brooklyn is definitely a compliment, seeing as though it’s no secret that the famous (and equally infamous) borough is a hotbed for talent, and a breeding ground for sharp, resilient, swagger-swollen people, including emcees. Mo Betta Blues has followed suit in that tradition, but like most Brooklynites, he throws his own flavor in the pot.

Mo Betta Blues has quite a few strengths. The first, and most obvious, is purely biological: his voice. A low timbre, gruff sound that could best be described as what the pavement would sound like if it had a voice. Or what the vocal tone of a graffiti tagged bodega would be. It’s “hard city life” but it doesn’t come across as threatening. See, Mo Betta Blues is no crack rapper-shoot ‘em up-screw your girl, emcee. Which brings me to his second strength. Mo Betta Blues is a thoughtful writer, penning verses about life and struggle, the issues in his own community, and of course, love. Not only does he write about interesting, subsurface things, but he writes about them well. Simply put, Mo Betta Blues has skills.

The Right Time starts off on top. Track one, which is simply an intro, is just over two minutes of Mo Betta Blues “introducing” himself to the listeners. By the end of the song you really get the sense that this guy has a pretty firm grip on who he is. Lines like, “I never change from the stoop to the grammys/ whether in the Range or five deep in a Camry,” sheds some light on his priorities and the integrity of his person, which somehow translates seamlessly into his writing.

From there, The Right Time opens up into a host of other stellar tunes. One of my favorites is actually one of those “smooth-cruise” types. “Fly By Night,” featuring Isa Starr, is a flirty song, destined to be heard during late afternoon, summer barbecues, in the midst of laughter and citronella smoke furling in the air.

Another awesome song is track five, “Feeling Me Now.” Mo Betta Blues takes a page out of the book of Mike Jones (without the Mike Jones-ness) and spits an effortless flow about all of his sudden “female fans.” The track is driven by a funky bass guitar riff and a steady bass drum, forcing every listener to dance…or at least tap a foot.

But Mo Betta Blues seems most in his lane when he just gives the raw uncut about everyday life. “Zoning,” an appropriately titled song, is an intense view into the thought process and daily grind of this young emcee, who stresses that before music, he is first a man. The beat swells as his stripped voice mentions the late great Tupac, whom ironically would’ve been the perfect feature for this song.

Brooklyn. Mo Betta Blues is Brooklyn. The Right Time is Brooklyn. But it’s not just the clichéd “hood” Brooklyn. I think even he knows that’s overexposed. Instead, it’s more of a whole look at a Brooklynite. His struggles, his victories, his fun, his failure, his pride, his people, his music and his story, are all woven into this project with well crafted rhymes, and delivered with a distinct, undeniable voice. Mo Betta Blues is tired of waiting for the rest of us to catch on. Clearly, now is the right time.

– Jason Reynolds

Comments

  • Hey U

    Great review…
    “his voice. A low timbre, gruff sound that could best be described as what the pavement would sound like if it had a voice”
    lol!
    Classic

  • Terence Johnson (Brooklyndog1999)

    Congrads to Mo Betta Blues on this great review of his album, “The right time”.

    Brooklyn ! Mo Betta Blues is Brooklyn, The Right Time is Brooklyn.
    He speaks from his heart on what’s going on in Brooklyn. His
    artistic craft of music he just gives out is the raw uncut about everyday life. A Real true artist at greatness.

    Keep on bringing Mo great music, Mo Betta Blues !!!

  • Cathy

    The Right Time indeed! I see your eyes fixed upon the prize..!
    The doors He opens no man can shut.
    Love to you my son from me and your family & peeps (NYC & Mass)
    Blessings and peace to all the behind the scenes talent as well.
    Be well… Mo-Betta’s mom

  • Double O. MP

    i always told that when you keep working hard that one day its gonna pay off. Your here kid they loving you the review is sick.. keep up the good work you have a real promising career ahead of you. Stay focused keep it a hundred and humble and the world is yours. Cant waut to here the finished product. Peace and Love Double O

  • J geezy

    nicely done! great article, great album.

    congrats mo, can’t wait to see the video

  • LBerry

    niiiiiiiice. Jason Reynolds wrote this? dope…

  • Words from the greatest

    Always loved your voice, and you def got skills! Great review, and keep up the hard work…it will soon present you with many more rewards. Can’t wait to hear the album.

    Sendin you love from Boston!

  • marco holt

    i’m all amped up now. that review was official. i can just imagine how the album sounds. how can i get it? good to see that 100k scholarship paying off. i’m proud of you bro. live legendary, you were destined for greatness. you’ve overcome trials people can only read about. get em’ boy!

  • Ebizz

    The truth is here He is the dopest lyricist in the game !!

  • ~*MaMa*~

    Having Finally Listened To The Whole Album From Beginning To End, I’m Totally In Love… This Review Describes It To The TEE*! With So Much Talent & Thought Provoking Lyrics, It Forces One To Question Whether This “Stanky Leg” World Is In Fact Ready For Your Work. I Definately See The Late Tupac Being A Perfect Candidate As A Feature For Zoning. I Would Grade ‘The Right Time’ With A 98 Though [Only Because My Fave Album -Deserving Of 100- Is & Probably Will Always Be Your Very First – LoLz]. Lyrically, You’ve Definately Matured From The TF Days & It Shows.

    One Word To Describe Mo Betta Blues: Virtuoso.

    ~SiDeBaR~ Mo Betta Blues Does Not “Pen” Lyrics… His Mind Generates A Story Provoked By A Beat’s Rhythm, Tempo, & Style; Stored Away In His Lyrical Data Base: The Cerebellum.

  • Radha

    Looooooooong over due. The Answer and The Truth.

    Repping Brooklyn Hard….the only way a Brooklyn ORIGINAL can.

    Love you Mo!

  • Radha

    Nice storytelling too, J! Riiiiiiche!

  • www.lmgtv.com

    The review was right on! The album is one of the best out there…just wait to til kats see the live show! Much love and respect…lets get it!

  • www.lmgtv.com

    Great review! Mo Betta Blues is one of the illest in the game and more great things are on the horizon…this is your time..lets get it!

  • turntablesiv

    big ups Mo! Cover is dope.. Congrats.. Dope review J

  • Keef

    Big shouts to the kid Mo Betta. In the chi we recognize real hip-hop when we hear it, and this is it. Keep reppin BK to the fullest.

  • psychotulip

    amazing review.
    amazing album.
    it is in fact, the right time…we’re finally here!
    gracias hermano.

  • ISA STARR

    HOT SHIT….MO BETTA
    GLAD TO SEE YOU PUTTING IN..CANT WAIT TO HEAR THE WHOLE THING
    BLESSING ALWAYZ
    ISA STARR

  • Translantic Addicted

    Did you know Mo better is the nephew of rapper Sha-Key from back in the days. Her album was “A Headnaddas Journey to Adidi-Skism” Her flow was ridiculous too. Must run in the family.