Hip Hop has always been considered a poetic medium. An artist will often times reveal the deepest, darkest crevices of their soul in an attempt to connect to the listeners. As time continues and hip hop becomes more and more consumed by the lure of the dollar bill, fortune and fame, the genre has become watered down by music geared towards a more mainstream audience. Albums that express the true soul of an artist are becoming a rarity as more and more hip hop artists try to cash in on the Hip Hop cash cow. However, artists such as Bugzy Bogart out of New York, treat hip hop as just another page in their journal. This is definitely the case with his newest release “Ninety-Four”, a compelling and heartfelt release from the up and coming founder of Culture VI records.
The first thing I notice about the album was the cadence of Mr. Bogart. Rapping with a particular sense of urgency that demands attention, Bogart glides over some melodic production with insightful punch lines that leaving you thinking. In an autobiographical fashion, Bugzy spills lyrics that describes everything from his love life to living in a post 9/11 world. Tracks such as “I mean…Love” display a very deep side of Bogart who isn’t afraid to say how he really feels. Coupled with the beautiful voice of Meylin, who is featured throughout the project, the hypnotic yet soothing piano riffs will leave the listener captivated.
Even though the majority of the album is filled with soulful and deep content, Bogart isn’t afraid to make the occasional hardcore street banger. On “If Ya’ll Don’t” Bogart delivers a huge middle finger to all the haters and doubters out there over some head knocking productions of dramatic orchestral hits and brooding synths. On “Dangerous” featuring Joe Budden and Meylin, Budden and Bogart trade lyrics over a flipped version of the famous Bel Biv Devoe song “Poison”. The production is surprisingly refreshing on this track as the song leaves a nostalgic residue behind while looking forward to the future. Perhaps the best overall song on the album, “A Name in the credits” closes out the album with epic production that acts as the swan song for the album. Bogart effortlessly glides through this song as he continues on his quest to reach for the stars.
While overall the album is a very well put together project, the heaviness of Bogart’s lyrics can deter the average mainstream hip hop head. Tracks like “Perspective” break the mold of conventional hip hop, as Bogart lasers his way through the upbeat tempo, he provides a very dark perspective about his mother’s death from cancer as well as other topics of very personal subject matter.
Overall, this is a very solid release. Featuring a slew of some Hip Hop’s best lyricists including Royce da 5’9, Wordsworth and Joe Budden, this album will please those looking for insightful wordplay, great soulful and dark beats and passionate insight. Although I would like to hear Bogart come with a few more of those grimey street bangers to please the hardcore hip hop heads, this a good album to put on and blaze a spliff to while pondering society’s woes.
3.8 out of 5