Lyrically sick! Two words that best describe Philadelphia (PA stand up!) product and unsigned (WTF?) emcee, Has-Lo (pronounced “Haas” like “Haas G of the UMC’s”). I must admit, after being hipped to “Fu*k Has Day” by Trav @ WYDU (bout’ time you put ME on to some new music!) then downloading this 8-song EP, it’s since sat on my F: drive for nearly two weeks. Matter of fact, I think that I actually deleted the e-mail that I received from Has-Lo himself….my loss, trust me! While the release of “new” music has been fairly stagnant since the 1st of January, over the last week things have started looking up with notable releases from Torae, EMC, Toy Box Scholars (more on “We Get Love” later this week) and now Has-Lo’s has appeared virtually outta’ nowhere to slap you upside the dome with this….dare I say….lyrical masterpiece.
From what I’ve gathered from Trav, Has also doubled up as the producer for the album as well. Now, there is some work that needs to be done on the production side of things. While Has’ phenomenal lyricism is an enjoyable listen no matter what he spits over, out of the eight tracks on the EP I didn’t really care for three of them…production-wise that is(“Calibration”, “Hands” and the title track). Not so say that they were bad, it’s just that the other half of the album…err….EP, is far superior as far as the beats are concerned. But, word on the street is that there may be a few “goodies” in the works via a collaborative effort between Has and Small Professor (who dropped the best “American Gangster” remix project of last year, “Crooklyn Gangster”), so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
The EP races out of the gates with “Prelude”, where Has displays a flow in which it sounds as if he’s having a conversation with another person and the other person completes the first person’s thoughts. Confused? I guess I could expound, but just think Slick Rick’s flow or Biggie on “Warning”. While “Prelude” isn’t the so-called “gem” of the EP it does succeed in establishing a nice feel for the album. A good warm-up I should say. Now, for the true “gem” it could probably go to either “Unsigned Emcees”, “Molotov Cocktails”…or…nah, the saddening tale of heartbreak, lies and deception, “All’s Fair” takes the crown. On “All’s Fair”, Has-Lo unleashes his vulnerability over a somber, mellow, head-nodder that sounds like a mix between the RZA and RJD2 (specifically his work with Soul Position), while delivering vivid, descriptive lyrics that actually make you feel for dude in this messed-up situation. I don’t mean to be on some “bitch sh*t”, but Has brings the realness on the album’s finale and his honesty and emotions are on front street for all to witness. Passion, focus, delivery, wit, this kid’s got the whole package.
I could sit here for hours and go into much detail about Has’ lyrics and delivery, the whole album is basically one gigantic “Hip Hop Quotable”. So, don’t let me spoil it for you. The album’s free, download it, burn it to CD, upload it to your Ipod or whatever you do to put it in your eardrums. Has Lo has all the makings of a great emcee and let’s only hope that it leads to a fruitful career and longevity in Hip Hop. By the way, could someone PLEASE explain to me why this dude is unsigned? Now, that’s a crime! Besides, Has is from Philly so you know he’s dope, right?