Opening with the somewhat iconic and immediately gripping Act Like You Know, Eli Brooklyn’s 5 track EP 5 Minutes In a Deli is a distinctly bright and colourful collection of songs that superbly showcase his vast abilities as a lyricist, performer, singer, and musical craftsman. Produced throughout by Skye Domino, the music featured is somehow both minimal and bold. The structure of the opening song is something that rightfully highlights each changing moment within the leading artist’s flow – the changing pace, the changing emotion, the repetition, the different stages of the story. It’s a fairly calm introduction but a great way to lay bare the sound of the artist and the voice that will guide you through this project.
Everywhere That I Go is a notably fuller and darker piece of music and writing. This is where the energy really kicks in, there’s an intense level of passion and power to both the performance and the musicality. The manic and haunting piano part, the kicked up style of the beat, the higher pitch and delicacy of the hook melody – all of this in itself makes for a striking and memorable soundscape. Eli Brooklyn’s vocal energy and ideas alongside of it add immense strength and captivate your attention as the song plays out.
It’s Over comes through with a similar vibe to its predecessor. The hook vocal melody and sound has a familiar feel, though instrumentally the music now seems a little tribal and once again minimal – laying bare the vocals again in a beautiful and compelling way. You’re focused on the words, and they hit with impact and emotion that makes it all seem very real. You feel the truth of the track, the ambiance has a fairly overwhelming sense of space that reaches out for you and gets you thinking about the story line and the concept.
The penultimate track of the project, Topsey Turvey, appears as a distinctly high energy, club-ready sort of hip-hop release – soaked in the sound of today’s rap world, packed with the relevant pace and energy to get listeners hyped, and showcasing just enough of those memorable and dreamlike riffs to really surround you. The hook in this case has much more weight than the previous offerings. The references, the energy, the questioning element – it all plays well to a fairly wider and even mainstream audience.
The final track on this project is one that both surprises and satisfies – it presents a final reminder of the creativity and drive that is the essence of the Eli Brooklyn sound. Worry Bout You brings back the space, the minimalism – you don’t need a flashy soundscape or a heavy musical build up when you have something real to say, something authentic and meaningful. Listeners are likely to find themselves hanging onto these lyrics, to the point that when the pace jumps sky high in the latter half of the recording they’ll be tempted to pause and start over; just to make sure they didn’t miss anything.
The simplistic nature of the music throughout this project speaks volumes for the quality of the rhymes, the expression, and the performance. Even it’s nothing but an acoustic, guitar-style riff, and a mellow, fairly classic hip-hop beat – Eli Brooklyn will grab you with the strength of his writing and the sound of his voice; the conviction and passion with which he performs. The closing track has so much strength; the hook, the build up, the concept, the way that it feels like this multi-layered and complex piece, when actually there’s a singular backdrop for the most part – simply with a varied and ever impressive rap performance lighting up every single moment with power and depth.
It’s not a difficult project name to remember – 5 Minutes In a Deli seems like a slightly more animated version of this less than 30 minute listening experience. The phrase implies an event, an instance or occasion that stays with you for whatever reasons. This EP does exactly that. It’s the sort you want to re-live, listen back to three or four times over, and so you should. Well worth exploring for anyone seeking out authentic hip-hop with fresh story telling and a little something that is new and exciting.