Review Summary: On their first album, Blue Scholars makes an impresive showing as a conscious rap group with a smooth sound.
*** Points breakdown at the bottom for those who don't enjoy reading.
Coming from U of Washington, Sabzi and Geologic make a fun, interesting album that keeps getting better over multiple plays. Sabzi, the DJ of the group, makes beats that always feel full and interesting, but manage to leave Geologic plenty of room to fill up the tracks with his intelligent raps. However, this album may be too out-there for some people to really enjoy it.
Sabzi really brings it here. Without any guest producers, he can really create a full range of sounds over the entire album. Always bringing something interesting, but never overpowering, Sabzi proves his worth as a producer. The beats on Blue Scholar's self titled debut are never repetitive, and consistently impress me with how much depth they have, from horn tracks to guitar riffs all over well-built drums. Needless to say, I really like the beats on this album. That doesn't, however, mean that they are perfect. Sabzi could probably put a little more into the beats, and sometimes they feel a little TOO full. For example, Bruise Brothers sounds better when the eighth note clicks fade out, leaving the horns, xylophone and bass to back the raps.
Geologic deserves a lot of credit, and I feel he often doesn't get it. His raps don't ever leave the listener without a good thought in their mind, or an interesting background of himself and his daily life. He's consistent about having a meaning to what he spits, and it really shows on the tracks. His rhyme schemes trade off enough to keep you from getting used to how he flows. On some of the standout tracks, Geologic puts such deeps thoughts that you can feel exactly how he must of felt. A good example of this would be the eighth track, "Burnt Offering". Starting with a minimalist beat from Sabzi with a cool flute in the background, Geologic raps:
"It's nice when it rains sometimes
Cleansing minds in my habitat
Imagine that I'm digging to find
What was hidden by the myth of a God up in the sky
Knowing that she meant for me to rhyme"
Geologic will often threaten your beliefs, and he doesn't let up on spiritual beliefs or the simple things that we as humans can and should enjoy. Often times, because it's so alternative, Blue Scholars will be classified as weed rap, or stoner music. While this can be true, it's really something more. This album is introverted and thought-provoking, and it keeps me interested time and time again. Sabzi's cool beats can relax or excite you, and Geologic will stimulate your mind. For the $9.99 on iTunes, this is an album that everyone should cop.