Review Summary: Blackalicious's weakest album, but still borderline classic.
Blackalicious have become one of the most prominent underground hip hop acts, with multiple of their albums being critically acclaimed. Gift of Gab is considered one of the best lyricists of all time (which I highly agree with), and Chief Xcel (the producer for the duo) is great as well. Blackalicious have enjoyed great underground success, but before any of this, the duo were releasing relatively unnoticed EPs. These EPs showed a lot of potential (I mean A LOT), and one of them was Melodica. Melodica is an 8 song EP around 40 minutes, but for the short length, the EP packs a lot into a small package.
Gift of Gab's lyricism is top-tier from the very first track "Lyric Fathom". This track is fantastic lyrically, but the beat is repetitive, with a questionable hook. Still a great track overall. "Rhymes for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind is even better, with a better beat (from DJ Shadow), and lyrical perfection, with rapid-fire multi-syllabic lyrics from Gift of Gab. Swan Lake is one of the best instrumentals (beat provided by DJ Shadow) on the album, and is very well-layered. Gift of Gab's lyrics are great, and poetic as well, with him rhyming about stress, and elevating your mind. "Attica Black" is another one of the best instrumentals on the album, and is also well-layered.
"40oz for Breakfast", is one of the most deep tracks on the album. Over the third and final DJ Shadow beat, Gift of Gab rhymes about abusing drugs and alcohol, and the problems that arise, such as addiction. "Deep in the Jungle" has the only guests on the album (Lateef the Truth Speaker and Asia Born), who have great verses as well, rhyming over a unique, creative beat. The album closes out with "Change", the best track on the album, with the best instrumental, and most well-crafted lyrics on the album.
Melodica, while short, has a lot to offer in a short amount of time. Between the unique beats and deep lyricism, there's a lot to be found here. Although Blackalicious would improve on their later albums, the fact that this is their weakest album is evidence as to how talented the duo is. Although this is Blackalicious's weakest album, I can't do anything besides recommend it, as it is a near-classic.
1. Lyric Fathom: 4/5
2. Rhymes for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind: 4.5/5
3. Swan Lake: 4.5/5
4. Attica Black: 4/5
5. Cheezit Terrorist: 3.5/5
6. 40oz for Breakfast: 5/5
7. Deep in the Jungle (feat. Lateef the Truth Speaker and Asia Born): 4/5
8. Change: 5/5
Skippable songs: 1
Best song: Change
Weakest song: Cheezit Terrorist
Overall rating: 89/100