Review Summary: King Mez can soar and excel beyond critical expectations, but can he bring aborted babies back to life too? Let's take a look...
King Mez is without a doubt one of the most talented emcees to come out of North Carolina in quite some time. It’s not often that you’ll find an artist willing to experiment on the mainstream level, but Mez doesn’t seem to struggle with such insignificant pressures. From the moment I heard “Reign”, I knew that I wasn’t exactly diving into the average Hip Hop record. There’s a certain craftsmanship about Mez that allows him to put together an instrumentation I could only compare to the likes of J Dilla or Kanye West. The self production on this album climbs to immeasurable heights and even then additional boundaries are broken that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The self proclaimed “King” covers a great deal of topics in what may seem like a brief period of time. The complex lyrical styles that come together in a song like “The Allure” are truly astounding and the wordplay reaches the pinnacle of metaphorical attack. King Mez empties a relentless stream of words all in one setting; it’s one of those rare albums where you actually have to rewind the material knowing that you had missed something vital in the song. After repeated listening, it would seem that the young artist has mastered elements of the Hip Hop genre that would take most years to accomplish yet he makes child’s play of such concepts. The brisk samples that come through on “Monte Carlo” explore such powerful and motivational sounds that it’s almost undeniable to say that you wouldn’t give it a second, third, or even fourth listen in one setting just to capture the moment of how awe inspiring the song really is. I like the fact that Mez is mixing a little bit of the old with the new on this record, combining unique time signatures with his flow to ensure that his message is sent out in the most efficient way possible.
I can’t doubt Mez’s poetic genius after listening to this goliath of a production. It’s almost like expecting a great movie to come up on the big screen and for once, actually being more than satisfied by what you hear. The songs on this album are truly captivating and it would be difficult for me not to consider classic status on something like this. Hip Hop should be glad to put their faith in someone like King Mez. He’s a game changer, someone who can combine incredible instrumentation and manipulate the English language in ways we never could have thought possible. The double entendres are simply astounding in all respects. One only needs to take a look at the potent power of words below to see exactly what I’m getting at here.
“Yeah, I could have been arrogant, but I was humble by my tears
Always was bright, but now my candle chandeliers
I was supposed to get degrees, live life as an engineer
But surpassing all of my peers” (Reign)
If you can decode the five or six potential meanings that might stem from that particular selection be my guest, but I feel that it might even take longer than I initially expected. I wasn’t exactly sure what the concept behind “My Everlasting Zeal” was even after repeated listening. Zeal is certainly a powerful world in any respect. Let’s take a look at what the good folks at www.dictionary.com have to say about the word “Zeal”.
Zeal [zeel] (noun)
Fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.
So there you have it. The word simply refers to those who seek passion in something and given the groundbreaking work that Mez has been down here, I would say that he’s successfully satisfied his passion (at least for the moment). To be zealous in mindset is a hard place to be though when you look at it. I sometimes look at society and wonder if people are really as zealous in their endeavors as they claims to be. Sure, I might say that I’m doing well when I’m out in public or that I’m passionate about a new relationship I’m in. Then you dig underneath that passion and you see that things are not as they seem. People are not really as committed to their loved one as they might contend and the mental state of “doing well” isn’t really all that authentic either. That’s what really stuck with me in this album. What Mez did here felt authentic and enriched with a feeling of legitimacy. We don’t really honor zeal here in the United States. It would be a nice thing to praise if we did. While we’re still on the topic of values, can anyone think of a strong American value that we can actually lay claim to? Sure, you could bring up religion but even then there are no concise values that originated here since the founding of our nation. If anything has an “Everlasting Zeal”, maybe it’s what comes from within. I could just see Thomas Jefferson sitting there now working endlessly to add his final contributions to the Declaration of Independence. There was passion there; there was zeal there. So maybe the manifest intention of freedom proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence is full of values that we can indeed lay claim to after all (we can still claim fried foods and corn as our own, don’t worry about that). It becomes more and more vivid that the passion of our world isn’t exactly as functional as we’d like it to be, but it is there. With passion of course brings forth the onslaught of honest emotion. Not many artists can give you their emotion on record effectively nor can they speak power to truth in the context that Mez can in terms of what he’s done here on “Zeal”. In all regards I knew Mez was going to be great; I just didn’t know he’d be this great. So where would a collection of tunes like this rate in terms of best debut albums of all time? Did Mez live up to the heavy expectations here? Albums like Reasonable Doubt, Illmatic and The College Dropout seem like a nice collection of musical pieces, but can they even hold a torch to what King Mez has done here on record? More importantly, is this project zealous enough for your tastes?