Listening to the new 7L and Esoteric album 1212, the first thing I thought was “god damn Esoteric sounds angry”. Then again when you’re an MC and you rep Boston you have every right to be. From Edo G. and the Bulldogs to Guru (who was originally from the New England state) Boston has a history of producing good hip-hop, but it’s New York City that will always get more attention.
They’re back with their sixth album as a group. Esoteric’s been working on a variety of solo albums which had some great moments, while 7L has been relatively quiet. They start off 1212 with “Retrospects“ where they give a rundown of their career over their hardest beats they’ve ever put out. When they came out with A New Dope in 2006 they were focused on doing a lot with electro type production, but they are back to boom bap beats, which Esoteric excels over. They recruit Celph Titled to follow up on “Run This”, which sounds like it could be a Jurassic 5 B-side, circa 2002. And that’s a good thing.
“Aneurysm” is a weird diversion, it sounds like a flip of a 80’s TV theme and doesn’t quite hit or work well under Esoteric’s bass flow. Luckily they get back on track with a feature from Inspectah Deck on “12th Chamber” which showcases the outstanding production that 7L is capable of, with Eso sounding more than comfortable and showcasing his quick time delivery.
The best tracks on this album are frequently those with guests. It’s as if they want to show and prove their abilities with those of their peers with Sadat X on “The Handle” and Evidence and Alchemist and “Drawbar 1-2”. Ill Bill, Vinnie Paz and Reef The Lost Cause recreate a Jedi Mind Tricks feel on the posse cut “Bare Knuckle Boxing”, which floats over a deep horn beat that sounds lifted form a 60’s Hanna Barbera action cartoon.
At the end of the album they get an assist from Statik Selektah one of the best producers/DJs on the east coast right now for “The Most Rotten.” This is a deeply east coast beat. Cold synths float underneath a punching keyboard, scratches and a boom bap beat. On what felt like a normally dark album they close with “New Rapper”, Esoteric’s still sounds angry in this tale of dealing with rapper’s who aren’t putting in their dues or don’t respect their time in the game.
1212 isn’t the best album in their catalog but they’ve put together a nice career of work so far especially in their other projects. They may be in the shadow of NYC even Chicago or Minneapolis, but they’ve been as rock steady as anyone as they enter their second decade of music, still repping Boston strong.
Leave a Reply
- Raekwon Sets A Release Date For “F.I.L.A.” Album
- BUSH: A Snoop Odyssey Produced By Pharrell Williams [Preview]
- Drake – “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” Surprise Album on iTunes Now
- Action Bronson “Mr. Wonderful” Cover Art and Tracklist
- Juicy J “Blue Dream & Lean 2″ Mixtape Cover Art & Release Date Revealed
- MF Grimm “MF Love Songs” Cover Art + Tracklist
- Lord Hakim – “Brass Knucklez” (feat. Vast Aire & Phizz Ed)
- IAMSU! – “Hella Good” (feat. Tyga)
- DJ Kay Slay – “I Declare War” (feat. Styles P, Sheek Louch, Vado, Raekwon, & Rell)
- Maverick Sabre – “We Don’t Wanna Be” (feat. Joey Bada$$)
- Cannibal Ox – “Blade: Art of Ox” (feat. Artifacts & U-God; prod. Black Milk)
- Asher Roth – “Blow Your Head” (prod. Nottz)