Review Summary: About as elegant and uplifting an underground album can sound. It has great production, well-placed samples, and above-average rapping. One of the best of 09.
Lushlife's semi-debut effort is a winner. His producing style is like a combination of 90's hip hop and 80's pop. It's interesting, refreshing, and elegant. I was expecting the album to be great production-wise, but bad lyrically. I was fairly surprised when I listened to the album. The rapping really fits with the production and doesn't sound secondary as I was expecting it to. Lyrically, he's not a great rapper. However, I thought his rapping style really fits this album. Along the lines of content, this album is nothing special. It doesn't have a "deeper meaning" or any inspiring stories. That being said, it has a positive message and isn't overly explicit. He doesn't constantly mock the mainstream either, which is good thing to see from a rapper struggling in the underground. One of his standout talents is sampling. Nearly every sample is great, laced perfectly with his beats. It sounds really impressive and smooth, and outshines when he has a mediocre verse. If you haven't gotten the idea yet, this album SOUNDS really good. One of the typical "underground hip hop listener's" flaws is that they (claim) to only care about the message and the lyricism and don't say anything about wanting the music to sound good. This album would not seem to appeal to these people, but it will. Just listen to it; you'll like it.
This whole album flows, with no truly bad tracks to interrupt the audio ecstasy. The introduction was an excellent way to start the album off, and it led straight into the second track. Daylight into Me was a good track where he scoffs at having material wealth, so long as he can rock the clubs at night. The "Meridian Sound" interludes (there were 3 of them) were a little different, especially the third one. All in all though, they helped move the album along. Some of the standout tracks were Another Word For Paradise ft. Camp Lo, The Songbird Athletic ft. Greg Saunier, In Soft Focus ft. Ariel Pink and Elzhi, and Bottle Rocket. All the tracks with features from other artists were standouts, and that's not to say that Lushlife was out-shined either. If anything all parties were benefited from the competition, making them step up their game.
This is an 'album album', it's best to listen all at once as a single experience. I hope to see more of Lushlife in the future.