The Justus League train continues to roll with no signs of derailment. As each member steps out to test the water with their solo efforts, a duo comes forth seeking to create a similar magic that has become the staple for the North Carolina collective- but without 9th Wonder. Emcee Sean Boog and producer Khysis, known as The Away Team have set forth with the intentions of continuing the buzz that Little Brother created. Will they succeed?
For The Away Team, this is probably the riskiest task for the Justus League collective to date. Without the trademark 9th Wonder production, one has to wonder what Khysis and Sean Boog have in store. With great risk comes either impressive victory or humiliating defeat, National Anthem falls somewhere in between.
With this being Khrysis’ opportunity to step out of the hulking shadow that 9th Wonder created, he has the chance to stake his own claim as one of the most intriguing producers to watch. His work behind the boards on National Anthem puts on display his own signature thump. At times Khrysis eclipses many of the expectations put on him. With vibrant works such as “Upnatem”, the haunting vibes of “Come On Down”, and the subsonic groove of “The End of the Day, Khrysis proves that he is far more than 9th Wonder’s understudy. Truth is, Khrysis’ production can easily stand on its own two.
Sean Boog, on the other hand, isn’t quite the KO punch that one would like to hear. His monotonous delivery pales in comparison to the likes of Phonte’s vicious tongue lashing delivered on “Make it Hot.” When sharing the mic with Joe Scudda, Chaundon and Rapper Big Pooh on “On the Line”, Sean Boog fades to the background as his Justus League cohorts steal the limelight. But even though Boog isn’t an absolute rhyme animal he does make some songs work out.
When Sean Boog summons the strength to deliver “Always Be Around”, the introspective tales of life without his estranged father, The Away Team catapult from any form of mediocrity to near perfection. Such can be said about songs like “One-N-Only” and “The Shining” where Khrysis’ magnificent production drowns out any missteps Sean Boog could possibly display.
Does National Anthem slow down any momentum that the Justus League has gained thus far? No. Solid as this album may be, it doesn’t exactly live up to the standards of success made by albums like The Listening, Sleepers, Project Mayhem or Path to Relief EP. National Anthem is still another victory for the Justus League, as bittersweet as it may be.
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