7L & Esoteric and Brick Records have teamed up once again after some time away to present the sophomore full length release from the Boston duo, entitled Dangerous Connection. One could think of Brick and 7L & Esoteric as a dangerous connection, or 7L & Esoteric themselves as forming the dangerous connection –but either way, the stats show that both are true. The group has sold over 15,000 units of “Speaking Real Words”, as well as landing a spot on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart. In 2001, the group earned Kalua’s “Boston Hip Hop Album of the Year” award.
With all of the accolades, one might think a group would start getting lazy and fall victim to the sophomore slump. Fortunately, this is not the case with Dangerous Connection. While 7L & Esoteric’s debut Soul Purpose had its fair share of conceptual tracks, their sophomore release is chockfull of them. The track likely to catch the most attention is the Stoupe-produced “Terrorists Cell”, where Esoteric raps from the viewpoint of a terrorist preparing to hijack a flight out of Boston’s Logan airport. While it’s a touchy subject, Eso is able to pull it off in a respectable way through his intriguing tale of a terrorist’s thoughts as he moves through the airport, passes security, boards the plane and ultimately braces for impact. Other conceptual tracks that are pulled off well include “Word Association”, where Eso raps as a patient during a session with his therapist, and “Stalker”, where an obsessed Eso stalks his female prey.
For those that are into the more battle-oriented 7L & Esoteric tracks (i.e. Army Of The Pharaohs), there are several gems in store for you too. “Speak Now” features both Esoteric and Vinnie Paz going for the jugular as 7L hooks up a serious headnodder that fits the mcs perfectly. This track, along with “Rules Of Engagement” and “Rest In Peace” produced by Kutmasta Kurt, are arguably the best tracks on the album.
With Dangerous Connection, the duo of 7L & Esoteric have solidified their own distinct sound. This consistent sound may be due to the fact that 7L produced ten of the thirteen tracks or it could be the fact that the album isn’t flooded with guest appearances. Whatever the reason, the group has shown improvement since The Soul Purpose, and the mix of conceptual and traditional battle tracks makes the album an enjoyable listen from beginning to end.
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