Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Hieroglyphics - 3rd Eye Vision 3xLP


Hiero Imperium/Fat Beats (2019, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

If you do not already know about my undying love for the Hieroglyphics crew, then you obviously have not been reading anything I have been writing of Wednesdays for the past year plus.  They are my favorite collection of hip hop artists and in 1998, they came together to release their first collective LP, 3rd Eye Vision.

While I cannot say that I like it quite as much as I liked the group's individual releases that came out in the earlier part of the 90s, there are still a slew of triumphant moments over the course of this record.  If anything, it's probably a little too long and could have benefitted from being trimmed down a bit.  I picked this album up on CD right when it came out and was one of the few hip hop releases I purchased at the time.  Honestly I was disappointed in it at first, but over the years it's grown on me greatly.

I think one of the main reasons this record didn't connect with me right away is because I do not like the opening song "You Never Know."  For a Hiero song, I think it has a really weak beat and I'll never understand why it was made the album's opening salvo.  It really not until the album's fourth song "The Who" where things really start to pick up.  This one is a genuine classic with a bouncing beat and excellent lyrical interplay between the various member.

When we get to Del solo cut, "At The Helm," I'm pretty much losing my mind over things at this point.  This song is one of my absolute favorite Del songs from throughout his entire career.  The Domino produced beat is thick with a bass driven funk and Del take full advantage of this canvas displaying his unique lyrical acumen.

The album does cool down a bit from here and while it is a strong sowing overall, particularly on the lyric/vocal side of the coin, the beats are a little more mellow than I am used to from Hieroglyphics.  It's absolutely an album that needs to be in my collection.  I'm just not sure that Hiero really needed to record a triple LPs worth of material back in the day.

Hieroglyphics - "At The Helm":

Hieroglyphics - "The Who":

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