Album Review: MC Bravado – “Walk The Line”
I haven’t covered MC Bravado since the Dope Perspective EP that he dropped in 2012, with C-Nature, so I’m glad to come across somewhat new EP of his. Released on October 13th, 2014, Walk The Line is a conceptual project that finds him weaving between Johnny Cash’s own experiences, outlooks, and familiar soundscapes to create those of his own. There are 5 tracks, with features from SC Static, No-Name, Josh Mitchell, Aaron Michael Chamberlain, Anthony Vincent (of Ten Second Songs on Youtube), Fonte Cruise, Soul Khan, and C-Nature.
“Rapper/Teacher (Walk The Line)” is what came across my email first, with the music video and I liked it enough to check out the rest. Over the same chord progression and sampled vocals to rest in the hook, producer Militant Marxman adds in some dusty, boom bap drums to give the rappers some bounce. SC Static steps up to the line first, laying down raps about what it’s like trying to balance his life of being a 22-year-old student and a rapper, with three full-time jobs. MC Bravado comes strong, with comedic bars about the unfortunate downsides of approaching that 30-year mark, as well as educational advice as an English teacher of misbehaving students. I love the two perspectives together. No-Name caps the final verse, letting us know that his high school years were a blur, full of high days, drunk nights, and fun times. Watch the music video below, directed by Andrew Bryan of Fill in the Brand. The video ends with a photo of his late dog Rocco–read some words about what he meant to Bravado.
Produced by Marc Beatz, “Grimy/Shiny (Ring Of Fire)” rides on a synth-driven, hard-hitting beat. It finds MC Bravado battling inner demons and past mistakes, while unleashing some lethal, jaw-dropping jabs at opponents. He also showcases his grimy delivery, slick rhyme style, and ego-bruising punchlines. Josh Mitchell on the hook. This was the first music video from the album, and it was shot and directed in Baltimore by Andrew Bryan.
“X’s&O’s/O’s to Exes (Hurt)” embodies a similar sadness as Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails “Hurt”. With Aaron Michael Chamberlain on the R&B hook, MC Bravado doesn’t shy away from honest feelings in this storytelling song about a crumbling relationship–From lovers, to friends, to being left in limbo wondering where he stands in it all. Despite the roller coaster, emotional lyrics, and the anger and pain that he feels, he presents an energetic flow and a readiness to move on. It’s a cool song, and I love that it starts out with a clip of Johnny and June laughing and being sweet, as June is about to share a love poem.
“Significant Other/Another Insignificant (They Killed Him [Jesus Christ])” is the first song on the EP that I’m not really feeling, and would want to skip over when I listen to the EP in my own time (when not reviewing). Nothing against the lovelorn lyrics or anger-fueled delivery (because that’s some relatable shit right there), but there’s something about this mega electro/80’s freestyle dance/trap (?) beat with this song’s a capella that just throws me off in a sour-face kind of way. I feel like they clash together. The beat’s alright, though. The two would probably sound good separated, on their own, but that’s not how this is… so the reason this review rating is down a bit, is because of this. Same goes for the minor drop on the lyricism scoring–it’s not that it was bad, per se, but it was hard for me to pay attention to the vocals alone. Anthony Vincent and Fonte Cruise on this one, too.
Inspired by Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” (who doooesn’t love this song), MC Bravado’s “Infinite/Finite (Man Comes Around)” features Soul Khan and C-Nature. This one has some deep subject matter, as it focuses on spirituality, organized religion, morality, and death. Soul Khan jumps on the first verse, with thought-provoking rhymes and clever wordplay about death, the afterlife, the idea of heaven vs hell and how it can dictate your actions, and bible-thumping, insecure individuals. C-Nature‘s on the second verse, and he combats his inevitable meeting with the pearly gate master, with humor. He raps about bullshitting through life, having an all-time fun pass, and doing things like lounging around while watching cable TV, throwing all responsibility out the window… until night comes around, when he’s praying for forgiveness and an entry into heaven. MC Bravado rolls out comedic, yet mind stimulating lyrics as he talks about being afraid of death, social conditioning and instilled fear within organized religion, and the routes taken to rid one’s sins, while encouraging acceptance and unity amongst all. It’s such a fantastic song, from beginning to end. I love it. Produced by Militant Marxman.
With all of that said, I’m really feeling this EP (aside from that one song). I think MC Bravado can remain proud of this one, because he came correct in all the right ways, he easily blended the past and present and the two genres, aaaaand it was a worthy tribute to Johnny Cash. Go ahead and listen to this EP below, and download for free at Bandcamp (or tip him some money, because it’s name your price).