Chicago/Toronto emcee royceBirth’s new LP Rebirth is an album to be treasured, on par with Common’s The Dreamer, The Believer, Finale’s A Pipe Dream and A Promise, and Nas’ best output; staples of bona fide hip-hop, which simultaneously blaze trails of inspiration through the blockades of adversity and of life’s many dead ends.
RoyceBirth is hip-hop’s psychiatrist whose diagnosis (and prevention) are prescribed in the therapeutic Rebirth. The album’s setting immerses the listener in melancholy as Royce lyrically journals his troubled life, the atmospheric production redolent of its sometimes disheartening nature. “Ankh (Yesterday),” “Good Morning (Morning Glory),” “Brand New,” and the hurt-my-soul “For You” form the darker chapters of Royce’s sinister biography. The sound of crystalline piano keys in “Purpose” and the haunting guitar strings in “And Remember” are digested like pain medicine to an injured spirit as he questions his existence searching for a driven purpose life. Drums brings hardened cement to life in the form of a “Brick In the Wall,” a single that metaphorically describes a human heart ostracized from an inhumane society.
There are singles that are injected with a massive dose of joviality, however, such as the joyful “Soul Clap,” a heavy bass and thunderous drum-clapping single that could make one dance to fire in the rain. “Hope (Act II & III)” chemically balance two completely different tunes into one with precision, providing “A Simple Song” for a hard knock life.
“When the Music Stops” is when RoyceBirth’s peregrination in life ends–but he is promised a new existence “Becoming Myself (Tomorrow).” And by adeptly embracing such a wide thematic range in coherent form, royceBirth’s opus becomes what it’s about–a Rebirth.
-Hector De La Rosa