On the first hip-hop album to be released under the indie-minded K banner in over 10 years, Eden Pearlstein (aka Eprhyme) appears ready to bring his unique style of rap up from the underground despite somewhat uneven results.
Described in press materials as “an uncanny mix of live/ acoustic instrumentation, heavily processed digital madness, and earthbound-cosmic lyricism that once again sharpens the cutting edge,” Pearlstein’s collection of tracks are far-reaching in their scope.
Frequently, many songs feature rhymes that are as clever as they are inspired by literature and other less typical subjects. For example, “Poppasong” includes references to Beat generation poetry, the Zulu nation, and the Fresh Prince. Elsewhere, “Life Sentence” references calculus, the Garden of Eden and even Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
Though impressive in his level of verbosity, all of Pearlstein’s efforts would be in vain if the music itself was lacking. Luckily, most numbers are surprisingly tight with horn sections and klezmer music (courtesy of fellow Jewish virtuosos the Erev Rav) ably filling the gaps. In fact, the track “Smoke Break” is even shorn of vocals all together, but rides along nicely as an interlude between the rhymes.
Unfortunately, rhyming is sometimes where Pearlstein runs into trouble. When dropping hyper-literate couplets about politics and religion he sounds like a more book-orientated version of the Beastie Boys. However, when he shifts gears to echo his so-called troubles experienced on the street he sounds more like a pretender than a poet. Future recordings would do well to lose the tough-guy act altogether.