“You always reminisce and go back ta’ things you do”-Finale (“Paid Homage”)
So here we are, in the beginning days of May, nearly half-way thru 2009 ALREADY!! Can you believe it? I mean, I recall my Grandpa tellin’ me when I was a youth, “enjoy it now, cuz’ the days start to fly by in a flash when you hit 30″. Damn, truer words were never spoke, as this year-more so, than any other-it seems as if time is moving at a rapid speed. As I bumped Finale’s debut “A Pipe Dream And A Promise”, for the umpteeth time this week (namely “Paid Homage”), it seemed as if this album was just released yesterday, when in reality “A Pipe Dream..” has been causing a major ruckus for nearly two months (with April 7, serving as the album’s official release date). It’s just sad that I haven’t quite found the time, until now, to sing the praises of this totally unexpected breath of fresh air from one of the most promising young emcees “doin’ it right now” (pun intended).
“Develop”, the collaborative effort that featured the pairing of Finale with producer Spier 1200 surfaced around the later part of 2007 as part of the Rawkus 50 movement (if you’re not aware of what this was, this far into it’s stages “google it”, so many dope up and coming emcees and producers involved to say the least). While “Develop” did have it’s fair share of highlights, namely the Wordsworth & Invincible-assisted “The Ring”, nothing really blew me away…or at least to the effect that Finale’s debut has. Don’t get me wrong with a decent array of beats, Spier 1200 definitely did his thing on the production tip, as did Finale with his timely, unchanged delivery and a notebook full of memorable lines..it’s just that if you would have told me last year at this time that this relatively unknown emcee would emerge from one of the largest talent pools in Hip-Hop (Detroit) to drop what will arguably become the best album of 2009, I would have laughed at you. Let me repeat myself, SOLID album, no “A Pipe Dream And A Promise”.
Matter of fact, after bumping yU’s “Before Taxes” to death over the last week (as I mentioned in my most recent THOUGHTS, Finale makes a memorable appearance on the album’s closer, “Brainwash”, a track that also features a Grap Luva sighting) along with Oddisee’s “Mental Liberation” (cop it), I decided to also dig up Oddisee’s compilation of unreleased tracks, remixes and features, the heavily bootlegged “101″ & “102″ (not sure if these were official releases or not, although I did cop em’ on Itunes).
Okay, so I may be losin’ you a lil’ bit by now, but let me expound: I’m driving to my other office which is a 3-hour trek to the middle of nowhere, the University of Arkansas to be exact, and I’m bumpin’ Oddisee’s “101″ err…scratch that, (see what I mean by “time flies” and sh*t starts runnin’ together?) it was actually the “Don’t Sleep” remix, which appears near the end of the Oddisee album and…yet again, features another guest appearance by Invinicible (do I sense a potential collabo album in the near future? hmmm). Shortly thereafter, “Mental Liberation” had ended, I proceed to follow it up with Dela’s “Atmosphere Airlines” Vol. II (BTW, if you haven’t peeped Dela’s “Changes of Atmosphere yet…write yourself a late pass!) and I hear Finale yet again, and just as unexpectedly on “Motown 2K9″. I guess that point that I’m trying to accomplish here is that you may have skimmed over a Finale guest appearance or two in the past – case in point: “Motown 2K9″ – but after witnessing “A Pipe Dream And A Promise” that will NEVER happen again, I assure you!
By all accounts, one glance at the track listing, along with the notable producers involved, makes “A Pipe Dream And A Promise” a sure-fire classic, right? However, you know just as well as I do that we’ve seen it all before: up and coming emcees gets various co-signs (ahem, “throwaway” beats) from highly regarded beat makers and proceeds to drop a bullsh*t album filled with topics ranging from the newest Air Yeezy’s (Jesus, who in the hell would wear those out in public, really? Supras? same thing) to all his swag, cars, etc. Thankfully, Finale’s performance does not disappoint on his debut and in some instances (“Issues” & the Black Milk-produced “Motor Music”, which wasn’t one of the more notable beats I’ve heard from him as of late) his lyrical display outshines that of his producer’s performance behind the boards. CONSISTENT, Finale exemplifies the term as his flow doesn’t incorporate many hills and valleys within his no-nonsense, straight to the point delivery. Matter of fact, and I know this may be waaaay left-field here, but he actually sounds like a more lyrical 50 Cent on some of his tracks. Of course, we won’t hold that against Finale, as 50 could only dream of crafting an album half this dope.
The fast-forward material on “A Pipe Dream..” is virtually non-existent. If I had to cut out one track, being nit-picky, it would probably be the aforementioned “Motor Music”, not that it’s unlitenable by any means, it was just more of a let-down than anything else…especially considering the culprits. However, from the frantic, electro-boogie of “Waiting Game” (where J.L. affiliate Khrysis does his best Lab-Tech impersonation) to straight bananas, J-Dilla-laced “Heat” (Damnit, another M.O.P. sample? YESSSSS!!!!), the contributing producers laced Finale with some serious HEAT! I honestly don’t see another track this year bumping “Paid Homage” from my favorite track this year as this Flying Lotus produced thumper is so elegantly layered it gives me goosebumps with each listen, and it doesn’t hurt that it packs enough low-end to rattle your spine. If you’re searching for some of the best production in 2009, don’t stray to far you can find a healthy chuck of it, right on this album!
Well, it looks as if 2009 is taking a turn for the better (musically, at least) in the later half of the year. One could only hope that this is just the start of things for Finale, sophomore slump be damned! A truly refreshing and at times, breath-taking listen, Finale’s “A Pipe Dream And A Promise” will not only go down as one of the more potent efforts on 2009, but also one of the better albums of the decade (a la, Blu & Exile’s “Below The Heavens)…you remember where you heard it first!