In the study of biology and ecology, evolution is not simply the addition of new and complex traits – sometimes, like fishes in cavernous underground streams, you have to lose your eyes, and your fins, and a lot of your internal organs to be the most evolutionarily viable creature. This is a good analogy for Everlast. He used to have a really great niche where you needed rhythm and a sense of humor about yourself, and in that he adapted to provide entertaining Irish-influenced hip-hop. But now, given the contemporary top 40 landscape, Everlast can release a country crossover rivaled in its banality only by Jessica Simpson’s recent attempt to do the same.
If there is anything this album has going for it, it’s honest advertising. This album is about love, war, and the ghost of Whitey Ford, where Whitey Ford was a theoretically viable hip-hop-alternative crossover for about two years between 1998-2000 and his ghost is whoever is singing on this album.
Of the 16 tracks on this album, 10 are about love. I’m going to ignore them, because they are quite honestly filled with completely unmemorable crap about how Whitey Ford likes to spoon his girlfriend and how he left his heart locked in a beach cabin next to the ocean while he waited for the right woman to come around. Most of these songs have a guitar twang in the background and are trying really hard to be country by mentioning whiskey and using phrases like “my woman.” Imagine that Everlast’s popular songs “Ends” or “Black Jesus” or “What It’s Like” were about smelling your girlfriend’s hair.
Five tracks on the album are about war (and/or politics and/or “culture”). Also, Everlast keeps rapping about an “Emperor,” who I think is supposed to be George W. Bush. From “Naked:”
“The emperor’s got brand new clothes/
And everybody but him knows he’s naked/
But you don’t say a word.”
In addition to politicized children’s stories, this album has “Kill the Emperor,” “Stone in My Hand,” and the single “Letters Home From the Garden of Stone.” “Kill the Emperor” is an attack on all major media and politicians, and a direct threat on the life of the president. Everlast sings:
“I think I would, if I could, kill the emperor/
Let’s stop the war, feed the poor, kill the emperor/
Let’s stop the lies, the dead can’t rise, silence every mother’s cries.”
“They rape the Constitution while you wait in your cell/
To the victor go the spoils, and that’s oil wells.”
“Fuck the New York times and fuck CNN/
And politicians that pretend to the working man’s friend.”
There is, though, one amazing (but not redeeming) track on this album, and it’s not the Johnny Cash cover “Folsom Prison Blues,” which sounds like what would happen if Johnny Cash joined Cypress Hill. It is the completely ill-placed 29-second instrumental track called “Throw a Stone,” which sounds like those violin hip hop kids from YouTube, and which features absolutely no Everlast vocals in the entire 29 seconds.
All in all, 99% of this album is not hip hop. I shouldn’t even be reviewing it. The parts that are closest to hip hop are also the most ridiculous – rappers like Brother Ali criticize the country in clever ways with clever beats, and Everlast is threatening George Bush with couplets while he’s not busy spooning his baby mama. As for the actual music, there wasn’t much. Everlast is trying to go country – he’s covering Johnny Cash and hollerin’ back to his House of Pain days but the result is just a sloppy album with trite lyrics and unmemorable melodies that is neither hip hop nor country nor bearable.
Posted by Lally Gartel at Sep 22, 2008 11:02 PM
Are you really that ignorant? Before you do your reviews you better do your homework. You missed the album completely. This is not a rap album, Everlast has La Coka Nosta coming up for that. Every song on this album is different and incredible. Why don’t you look up The Emperor with no clothes thru google, maybe you’d learn something. Doubt it. That paticular song was written as though it was 1939 and Hitler was making his moves, would he have the balls to take him out. Just a perspective slightly related to today’s time. That’s all I’m saying on this because I can’t believe the lack of intelligence. Go back to reviewing all the top pop rap that’s on the radio.
— lodi · Oct 1, 10:25 AM · #
Haha…the radio is SO stupid. They’d never play AWESOME stuff like “What It’s Like” and “The Ends.” Boo Pop!
— Mr Mike · Oct 2, 01:06 AM · #
Whilst i agree that some of the tracks could have been better i wouldnt say that this album is weak infact i think its pretty far from weak . I challenge you to find any rapper who could write a song like FRIEND which i think is nothing short of genius . Like the other guy said this isnt a rap album and if your looking to review it as one then your goning to be hacked off . Open your eyes
— Henchman · Oct 2, 05:13 AM · #
I…say explicitly that this is not a hip hop album. All I said was that as a country album/political album, it was trite, and as music in general it was boring.
But point taken in general; people hate my reviews.
— Lally · Nov 20, 11:41 AM · #