Beginning with an openly heartfelt, emotional yet musically mellow track entitled this is not a song but a helping hand, it’s clear from the offset that this album is one of intention and depth. As you listen to the words, to the rap flow evolving into pure spoken word, the ideas connect immediately, and the tone of the voice is so genuine that it all feels very real and subsequently more poignant than a less genuine project with similar themes might.
There’s a raw and real tone to the entire project, you quickly acclimatize to the sound of that leading voice, and whatever the topic of the song you trust in it to explore the sentiments in a compelling way. It’s almost as if these songs were never meant to be shared, they’re so deeply personal – holding nothing back, not unlike a diary reading. The blissful delicacy of the music accompanies this process beautifully. loving you numbs the pain follows the opener and sets the bar even higher in this respect.
I spent the night with the devil, I wish that I could take it back offers an intriguing idea from the start and delves deeper into this story line in a poetic yet equally personal, intimate manner. The piano-led jazz ambiance contrasts with the lyrical intensity quite cleverly. By now you’ve gathered a feel for the artist and his sound. There’s very little to compare this to at present, the softness of the sound has a certain purity about it, the music is notably classic, even vintage in a way – the recording style emphasises this further. The lyrical outpourings actually seem like unedited streams of consciousness on occasion, which is all the more fascinating from a listening perspective.
Elsewhere on the album, Ace A CAped CrusAder continues to let his audience get closer to him – laying bare his experiences and his thoughts on the world and his role within it. There are as many details and events as there are considerate reflections on life – the balance works well, and the structure of each track offers intense verses often later relieved or resolved with a simple, powerful hook sentiment. i miss you and i hope ur ok is a great example. The track is accessible in its subject matter but also offers plenty in the way of individuality. This artist has a definite identity within his sound, and musically this project keeps things interesting in a subtle, soothing way. naval is a rhythmic, entrancing highlight, as is i am very grateful for you with a touch of acoustic guitar and a quicker vocal performance.
During the latter half of the project, i luv pain stands out for its musical weight – there’s a fullness and fuzz to the sound, and the repetition of that central line creates a strangely warm darkness alongside of this. tasnim’s interlude follows and invites further specifics into the journey that reveal even more and reinforce that unwavering honesty that makes up the CrusAder’s creative approach.
Things come to a close with for you i’d bleed myself dry – a calm and beautifully poetic string of rhymes join forces with a few simple piano notes and a light wash of synths or distant voices. There’s a quietness to this and a strength to the words that helps end the album in a totally emotional and optimistic manner. There’s hope in the sound, in the artist’s voice and his words – in the general energy of the music. It’s a bright and beautiful way to go out and it adds so much more to your view of the artist.
This project is easy to let play, but there’s also so much of value being presented lyrically. Whether it’s to be your background playlist or something you turn to and escape within, the music works for you – the mood is consistent yet the instrumentation and ideas vary enough to keep things moving and interesting. Easily worth a listen in full.