Rozewood – Neon Paradise (2011)
Album: Neon Paradise
- Asian Nights
- Midnight Run RMX
- By The Grace Of God
- Get Well Soon
- You Say That You Love Me
- Whats You Poison
- Gods Grain (ft. Hus)
- Midnight RUn
- Horrorville Block
- Love With A Stranger
- I’ve Been Drinking
- Just My Mind Again
I first became familiar with Rozewood a little over a year ago when I heard the cut, Prelude To A Funeral, off of his 2012 release. I really loved that cut and I have been listening to this emcee ever since.
Now to project at hand: Neon Paradise is a unique project because I feel like the the production and the emcee are divergent. What I mean by that is for the most part, the production throughout the album is laid back, subtle, and sometimes muted. Typically you would think that type of style would favor a laid back emcee, but Rozewood bucks that notion. He has a powerful delivery that is reminiscent of KGR. The production and the emcee really wind up gelling well on the album. He bodies the beat numerous times on this album.
Ordinarily I am not prone to liking stories narrated about the ladies, because typically it just involves a little too much information for my ears to handle but Asian Nights is done perfectly. The production from Mr. Enok just strings the listener along like he’s the Pied Piper. Rozewood narrates the story of meeting this woman while on a night on the town and they wind up coming back to his place. Does it sound ordinary and mundane? Yes? Well, that’s because I am telling the story but to hear Rozewood flip this in a rhyme over this beat makes this song unique. A song like this is where I draw the comparison to Kool G. Rap. Although the content is vastly different from the typical KGR verse, Rozewood shows you the ability to narrate a detailed story in verse over the microphone.
Midnight Run (both the original and the remix) again show case Rozewood’s lyrical capabilities. I think he is as good as anyone else in the game at narrating a story. This time he narrates a story that involves getting the hands a little dirty. It’s top notch in terms of the picture he is painting with his words. I have a tendency to favor the remixed version with beats provided by Mok Vurban. He gives you that neurotic, tripped out vibe with the guitar and then lets the drums drop giving Rozewood the perfect venue to tell his tale.
God’s Grain is a close as one will get on this album to hear Rozewood flexing his skill for the hell of it. Again, Mr. Enok comes thru on the production tip. He revives a familiar beat and breathes new life into it. Rozewood only invites a couple of people to share the mic with him on this release and one of those conspirators is label mate, Hus. At the end of the track, the way they shared bars as on the level of Smooth Da Hustler and Trigger Tha Gambler’s classic, Broken Language. Now I am not saying it is on that classic level, but certainly it evokes comparison. The two play really well off of each other. It’s a very dope cut that one will have to hear to appreciate.
In a sense, Neon Paradise is an album comprised of tales and stories narrated under the cloak of darkness. It’s the side of the world that many choose to ignore or pretend doesn’t exist. Rozewood brings this world to light. The album deals in the elements of relationships, social constructs, and in general, life as lived by the artist himself, The production while not flamboyant, is consistently dope. You never get to a track where you think the beat is lackluster. It’s all good, if not standout. Rozewood’s approach on the mic is very similar to the music. He is not trying to hit you with the clever lines, nor does he tote a dictionary trying to go over anyone’s head. He is instead a relentless lyricist and exceptional story teller. If all that sounds good to you, then I would suggest checking out Neon Paradise.