Archetype – Bleed For Them
Dekagon Records (2007)
Bleed For Them Intro
Wait Or Break
I’ll Be Honored
Keep It Comin
When We Were Kids
Prey On The Weak
Think Of Me
Adru The Misphit
Rakim once said “It ain’t where ya from, it’s where your at”. Hip hop is nation wide these days. You can become an instant MC/Producer with a few mouse clicks and a myspace page. This doesn’t mean the music will be good, but anyone can be a “rap star”. It would be foolish to judge the Lawrence, Kansas duo Archetype based on their locale. Consisting of I.D. (lyrics) and Nezbeats (beats/lyrics), the duo dropped their debut album, “Freehand Formula” in 2002. Each have done their own thing between that project and their “Bleed For Them” release. Nezbeat did production work for artists such as Murs and Mac Lethal and I.D. did some side projects as a solo artist. In 2005, the group released “Bleed For Them” on their own, hustling it on their own time and dime. Without much promotion and distribution, the album faded away into the sunset. In stepped in Connecticut based Dekagon records, who released a 12 inch single “Women Of Scribble Jam” by Mac Lethal and Murs that Nezbeat produced. Dekagon would pickup the album and rereleased this past August in preparation for Archetype’s third album coming out in the near future. “Bleed For Them” is perfect example that some albums out there need to be heard for the simple fact that its just good music, lucky for the hip hop heads that this release didn’t fall through the cracks.
From the first heavenly strings and short staccato horn stabs that laces the introduction, you know right away that the production is going to be something special on this album. Nezbeat is in that soulful production mode with beautiful horns and strings that might remind one of Pete Rock. What is beautiful about the production is that it just feels “full”, you can feel the soul in the beats themselves, unlike some of the hurried, soulless beats that are found abounding through out hip hop these days. The albums first full length track, “Wait Or Break”, reminds one of quality mid 90′s hip hop, yet with a new and fresh twist to it. The track is a perfect introduction with an up tempo track and strong lyrical performance from I.D. It gives heads an idea what to expect, fly rhymes and dope beats, the way hip hop was made to be.
The third track, “I’ll Be Honored”, starts off with an ill piano loop then breaks into a nice, sleepy introduction from I.D. that is a guaranteed head nodder. Again, the lyrics and beats are both on point, starting a reoccurring theme that is present on the album from beginning to end, a sense of strong chemistry between the producer and the MC, that brings back memories of one producer and one MC that is found through out the whole album. This becomes obvious on the album’s single(?) and my personal favorite, “Keep It Comin”, which incorporates a familiar sample (that I can’t place right now), a guitar loop, swirling chimes and dreamy bass line that sweeps the listener into a better place. Yeah, corny, but the song is anything but. Nezbeat also drops his first lyrics on the track. He is more than adequate on the mic, but his vocal tone might take some listeners a bit to get used to.
They switch things up both musically and lyrically on “Prey On The Weak”. Nezbeats still infuses his style into the beat but it’s more schizophrenic in nature. It conjures up old 60′s rock in the feeling infused into the listeners ear. Both members grab the mic and come with rapid fire lyrics together and speaking on some social commentary.
The next track slows things up on “No Gods” with a muted horn sample and a smooth vocal sample over a nice drum track. Again, I.D. shows that he is no slouch on the mic. He drops though provoking lyrics and proves this album isn’t all just about the beats. I’ll admit, neither moved me on the mic at first, but after a few spins I.D. established himself as a talented wordsmith with a strong presence on the mic through out the album. He also drops deep and complex lyrics that take more than one listen to get the jest of their meaning. Nezbeats appears on several tracks, and while in he is not in the same league as I.D., he is a nice complement to I.D.’s complex rhymes with his simplistic yet effective observations, which he demostrates on tracks like “Freakin’ Out” and “Utopia” (which he mentions wifey Salma Hayek, back up off her, boys).
I honestly can’t knock the album much. If you are not a fan of Nez’s production, then there won’t be much of a reason to listen to the album, as its fairly cohesive effort that is full of that one producer flavor of yesteryear. I’ve mention past albums that try to be too much at once, this is not one of those albums, which for some of the short attention span listeners of today, this might be too much of a good thing. A couple tracks fail to live up to the others, “Unfolding”, is one such track. While its not bad, it just doesn’t grab me as the others would and seems somewhat unfocused than some of the other tracks.
As I’ve said many times, it does take a lot for an album to truly excite me in this day in age and I must say, I’ve been playing this album pretty much non stop for the past three weeks and would consider it in the running for album of the year. I don’t hear many albums in the present that possess that cohesiveness without being boring and drawn out. This album keeps that flavor that makes it a quality album from track one to track sixteen, yet it makes each track different enough to keep the listener from growing bored. The beats have that golden age feel, but are still advanced enough to stand up on their own merit in the present day in age. I highly suggest this album, it is music like this that deserves that hard earned ducket. Skip the extra three happy hour beers this weekend and pick the album up, fans of this type of music will not be disappointed in the least. My hope in hip hop has been given a jump start.
Tracks (My personal five favorite songs from “Bleed For Them”)