Review Summary: "sure I'll smoke a few blizzys to this" -- chambered69, sputnikmusic.com user
I wonder if Emay ever initially intended Adam to be an instrumental album. I ponder this because of two aspects about the album: one, the beats and samples are astonishingly polished and well utilized and two, Emay’s rapping is for the most part entirely forgettable. It’s not that he can’t string together a nice flow here and there, or that his lyrics slur together or sound clunky, it’s simply that as a rapper Emay is little more than average.
One needs to look no further than unfortunate album centerpiece “Negro” to witness all that is poor about the album. With the beat and background music uncharacteristically turned down to a level of radio hip-hop deficiency, Emay’s spotlighted flow fails to entice the listener. And coupled with a repulsive hook of “n*****!” repeated over and over again, the song suffers by being easily the worst in the track list. But other than this one unsightly blemish, elsewhere Emay luckily never again manages to draw negative attention to himself and detract from the brilliance of the production of Adam.
The beats and music create enveloping atmospheres for the listener that range from airy and ethereal to grimy and industrialized, oftentimes within the same track. Take for example album highlight “Luminescence”; a dark trip-hop beat ventures in and out while bouncy, xylophone-reminiscent synth tones and organ sustains swirl together with catchy vocal samples to create something truly remarkable. In its best moments, found most notably in the terrific duo of “She Calls” and “Takes Me Back”, Adam emulates this engrossing marriage of seemingly dichotomous atmospheres.
Lyrically, Emay doesn’t ever step out of his clearly perfected sweet spot. There is no ambitious storytelling or fancy wordplay to be found here. Emay spends most of his time on the mic boasting about typical topics like making it big from humble beginnings and activities akin to the “thug life” persona many rappers tend to embrace. On occasion he provides witty and amusing one-liners, but for the most part the lyrical content can be either tuned in or out at the discretion of the listener, which, given the extraordinary nature of the music behind the words, may be what Emay intended in the first place.
Releasing Adam sans Emay’s voice altogether would have perhaps given rise to a widely popular gem of instrumental hip-hop. As it is, Adam proves to be a great hip-hop release featuring stunning production and a competent but unimpressive MC that, with a little time to hone his skills, could leave us with something phenomenal soon enough.