15 April, 2011@11:15 pm
Ohio’s Blueprint has been putting it down on the underground scene for a good decade now, becoming an integral limb in the Rhymesayers family tree, and without a doubt one of the most consistent artists in his class. It’s been five years since his last LP with RSE, 1988, and with Adventures In Counter-Culture he makes his return to the scene.
Always outspoken, Adventures… finds Blueprint in familiar territory; not a line is wasted, as he uses his music as a platform to speak on whatever’s on his mind or under his skin. From the jump, on “Go Hard or Go Home”, he spits his brand of justified arrogance, laying down a take-it-or-leave-it manifesto over his own moody production. This sentiment continues throughout much of the album, like on the brilliantly penned anti-Clear Channel joint “Radio-Inactive” or the clever double-entendre led “The Clouds”, where he laments “I ain’t about to do the same record, different year / I used to be in that lane, but now I’m steering clear.”
While his sound on this LP sticks to his original, well, blueprint, he does attempt to go outside the box and create something different than what was found on 1988. He literally takes it back to that era, but this time channeling Thomas Dolby rather than KRS-One. The celebrity obsessed “Wanna Be Like You” finds Print straight up singing over an 80′s synth-pop track, while “Fly Away” throws all caution to the wind, sounding like something from the soundtrack to your favorite John Hughes comedy. Print isn’t a bad singer by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems like a lot of the album leans on this new style, as tracks like “Rise & Fall” and “The Other Side” close things out on a bit of a bad note.
Whichever direction Print takes his music next remains to be seen, but in the end, Adventures in Counter-Culture really only satisfies half the time. Five years without an LP from the man was painful, and while the raw, underground hip-hop cuts included here satisfy on every level, the vocal, 80′s-inspired tracks sow confusion. An honest LP if there ever was one, Print’s every word is cherished, but the musical direction is a bit uneven.
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