Wednesday, December 7, 2022

O.C. - Word...Life 2xLP


ReIssue / Fat Beats (2004, 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.

Word...Life originally came out in October of 1994, so it's not a complete shock that I missed it the first time around,  As I've explained in the past, 1994 was a major transitional year for me when it comes to music.  It's when punk and indie rock started to take over for me because there were fewer and fewer hip hop records that were interesting to me.  By 1995, I could hardly ever find anything of interest in hip hop.  Though I have backtracked and found a few gems, for the most part I persoanlly define 1994 as the last year of the Golden Era.

It's only within the last few years that O.C. ended up on my radar.  Backed by production on the majority of the album from Organized Konfusion and Buckwild of the Diggin' In The Crates crew, O.C. stepped up to the mic and really delivered on every song.  The production is mostly laid back with jazzy samples.  It wouldn't be what I'd call top tier Golden Era production, as it does show its age a bit by being close to 1995 and leaning into some of those sounds a bit.  Also, the hooks (or choruses, depending on what you'd prefer to call them) borderline on cheesy on a few songs.  But those two minor complaints aside, it is a pretty strong record overall.

Lyrically, O.C. is great.  He's not doing anything particularly complex or innovative, but this dude knows how to spin a narrative.  The rhymes are really tight and never feel forced just to end a couplet.  The songs have a very conversational feel to them and the stories told are compelling.  And when the lyrics combine with production on a song like "Time's Up," the results can be spectacular.  So, I wouldn't call this a stone cold classic, but it's very good overall and great at times.  Worth checking out if you missed it the first time around.

No comments:

Post a Comment