L*Roneous x 2Bers – Utopian Blues (2014)
Album: Utopian Blues
2. Soul Clap
3. Second Sun
4. Wishing Well
5. Small Town
8. Zombie Fingers
9. Help Me
L*Roneous had told me that he had some new music coming soon and to my pleasant surprise Bandcamp sent me an email a couple of weeks ago that one of my favorites had dropped another project. This time the project, Utopian Blues, is a collaborative effort between L*ron and 2bers. I was skeptical at first because sometimes these pairings can go terribly wrong. L*Roneous is a high level emcee and not knowing who 2Bers was left me a little incredulous. So many times you get a high caliber artist who reaches below his skill level in a collaboration. That’s really not the case here. This is more of a blending of strengths rather than a disparity in talent. It’s actually one of the most melodic releases I have heard in a while.
Soul Clap is a good indicator of this entire collaboration. The beat is playful and has a contemporary funk feel about it. It’s simply hard not to feel good listening to it. Some cuts are just plain enjoyable and that’s the vibe given throughout the entire release.
Second Sun is certainly a little more subdued and allows you to focus on each of the emcee’s verses. The production is more of a journey than anything else, as if the artists were part of a travelling musical caravan. You have the sounds of horns, strings, and an overall relaxing rhythm. And while each artist delivers solid bars, it L*Roneous whose ability to juxtapose the common phrase that steals the show:
Felt like the awakening of lost souls / And felt like the drums of the times told / My guiding light was a flicker of the lamp post / Middle of the damn road / But ruled like a Van Gogh / Painting of a wedding do for shamble / Clouds amble in the night sky…wide angle / With mammals on the prowl bringing shadows like a ground hog / Echos of a lost dog / Woof! Like the bass go…
At this juncture of reviewing material from the man I think it’s safe to say that he can turn pretty much any prose into a dope rhyme over rhythm. It’s what makes him this unique talent. He can take the abstract and make it tangible through hip hop.
Small Town is a track that has a lot of ‘cool’ behind it. The scene is Small Town, USA and all that comes with. It’s the familiar faces. It’s the gossip and innuendo. It’s about the close knit community…perhaps to closely knit. It’s a nice change of pace from artists relaying the ‘street life’ to pay a little visit to suburbia. Alot of the referred to ‘cool’ is found in 2bers chorus:
In this small town everybody’s your name / You better what watch you say / In this small town we all know what roads are paved / Watch every turn that you take
This is where potential and talent reach their pinnacle. The great poet/emcee in L*Roneous meshes with the soulful concoction of 2bers creating a very unique project in Utopian Blues. This release is for the artist in all of us. There are tons of releases that drop each week but how many are infused with this amount of creativity in both production, lyricism, and song? I can count on one hand how many projects of this nature drop every year. For L*Roneous, Utopian Blues is not a departure from his previous projects, it is the advancement of his boundaries. He is pushing those boundaries of creativity with 2bers in a release that accentuates their talents. So if you are a fan of expanding horizons through the power of production and prose, this release is a must listen.