Goodie Mob - Age Against The Machine (Review)

Goodie Mob - Age Against The Machine

"Age Against The Machine" is the fifth album by Dungeon Family group Goodie Mob. The album features guest appearances from T.I., Big Rube, Janelle Monáe, Big Fraze and others. It is set to be released on August 27, 2013.

1) U Don't Know What You Got (Intro) (featuring Big Rube) - Quick spoken word intro by Big Rube. He needs to release an album already.

2) State of the Art (Radio Killa) - The first song on the album has a strange, ever-evolving instrumental and Big Gipp, Cee-Lo, Khujo and T-Mo all come with different flows to match the tempo. The beat is odd and I have a hard time really getting into it since there is so much going on with it, from the police sirens to the live instrumentation and beat switches. Lyrically everyone is still on point, however, and rap about how they are at war with the radio, which is killing hip-hop and has put it in a state of emergency. Despite the dope message, this is just mediocre to me. Hopefully the album gets better.

3) Power - So this is the song that Cee-Lo kept mentioning in interviews and said that Eminem was supposed to appear on before he ended up backing out. The instrumental is real upbeat and full of live instrumentation, sounding more like something you would hear on a Cee-Lo Green solo album than on a Goodie Mob album. Furthermore, Cee-Lo is the only member of the group to appear on this track, which lends me to believe that it was probably meant for a Cee-Lo solo rather than this group album. Anyways, the instrumental is uplifting and Cee-Lo does his thing, rapping/singing about “the black perspective of white power.” This is ok, but I feel like it could have been much better.

4) Silence.... The New Hate (Interlude) - Skit.

5) I'm Set - This was one of the singles from the album and it's pretty ill. The beat has some marching band horns and shuffling drums that sound like a vintage Goodie Mob track more than anything else on the album so far. All four emcees show up and rip their verses, rapping about how Goodie Mob is like a gang and its all good when they come together. I'm not really feelin' the breakdown before Cee-Lo's verse starts, but it's only a small part of the song. This is dope.

6) Valleujah - The beat on this song is a crazy energetic synth instrumental with some spacey keyboards and deep bass. Khjuo, Cee-Lo, T-Mo and Big Gipp all kick some thought provoking verses about not letting anything hold you down while Cee-Lo provides some epic singing on the chorus. The beat is experimental, but dope. I'm feelin' this one.

7) Pinstripes (featuring T.I.) - Now this is fire. The beat is very aggressive, with an epic backing sample and rapid-fire drums that give it a more traditional "ATL hip-hop" feel than many of the other instrumentals on the album so far. Lyrically, T.I. and all four members of Goodie Mob simply attack the beat, spitting their rhymes in smooth, but merciless, flows. This shit is banging and is probably my favorite song on the album so far.

8) Special Education (featuring Janelle Monáe) - Well the album is definitely sounding better. This song was another one of the singles released in promotion of the album and it's banging. At first I wasn't really feelin' the instrumental, but it's dubstep-ish synths and hard drums eventually grew on me. Lyrically the song is on point, as all four emcees rap about how everyone wants to be the same and are afraid to be themselves. The message of the song is dope, the beat is ill and Janelle Monáe brings her unique style to the chorus. Fire.

9) Ghost of Gloria Goodchild - This is another song that is more reminiscent of a Cee-Lo solo track than a Goodie Mob track, at least terms of the instrumental. The beat is soaring and has a strong celebratory feel to it, with some energetic hand claps and sweeping strings. All four emcees come correct, but something about it just isn't clicking with me. It's not terrible, but it's not a standout for me.

10) Kolors - Goodie Mob come through with some vivid, socially conscious raps filled with references to different colors to symbolize everything from gang violence to the sound of music. The beat slowly builds up through Big Gipp and Cee-Lo's verses until it hits a crescendo with swirling synths, vocal chants, soft pianos and light horns. This is dope. Different, but dope.

11) Come as You Are - So far this album feels like a roller coaster of more traditional hip-hop songs followed up by tracks that stray way outside of the boundaries of rap. Some of the more out-there songs work and some do not. This one doesn't, at least not for me. The beat is ok, but there is more singing than rapping on here and the song just doesn't come together as a whole. Oh well.

12) Nexperiance - Yet another track that would feel right at home on a Cee-Lo album. The beat is pretty good, with some heavy electric guitars and a somewhat laid-back alternative rock feel, and Cee-Lo goes solo over it. This seems like a sequel to "The Experience" off of "Still Standing" given the title and subject matter of the song. It's not the best track on here, but it's not the worst either. Maybe this one will grow on me a bit.

13) The Both of Me (featuring Big Fraze) - Big Fraze, who I'm not familiar with, goes solo over a mellow instrumental for about a minute. This is more of an interlude than a song.

14) Balls (Interlude) - Skit.

15) Amy (featuring V) - Cee-Lo sarcastically raps about hooking up with his first white girl over a soulful instrumental with some whistling and more upbeat hand claps. Big Gipp kicks a quick verse on the intro to this song, but the rest of Goodie Mob have been missing for three or four tracks now. The beat is whimsical and the lyrics are tongue-in-cheek, but I'm not really feelin' this one either.

16) Understanding (featuring V) - Now THIS is dope and sounds like some throwback Dungeon Family shit. The beat is lush, with some atmospheric strings and soulful vocals by V and Cee-Lo, and the entire crew brings it, rapping about having a side chick that doesn't mind not being the main chick. The song is mellow and laid-back and is a refreshing change from the hectic soundscape of the rest of the album. This shit is fire.

17) Uncle Red's (Interlude) - Skit.

18) Father Time - The final track on the album is another song that sounds like a vintage Goodie Mob track. Taking a cue from "Guess Who" off of their first album, Goodie Mob flip it and rap about being fathers and raising their children. The lyrics are soulful and heartfelt and the beat is banging. This is one of the best tracks on the album for me.

I'm going to rate the album

3 / 5

because it's got some fire tracks, but it also has some tracks that are just a little too experimental for me. The beats on the album alternate between dope hip-hop bangers, more commercial sounding pop tracks and some unconventional instrumentals. Lyrically Goodie Mob is pretty much always on point and they certainly are here as well. There is always a deeper meaning to their songs, which is something that is sorely lacking from most of today's hip-hop music. My complaints about the album are the overabundance of skits, the lack of Goodie Mob verses (outside of Cee-Lo) and a few tracks that are just too "out there" for me. I appreciate them pushing the boundaries and trying something new, but sometimes it just didn't click for me. There are also a couple of Cee-Lo solo tracks on here, which is cool, but I'd like to hear all four emcees tag team the beat (especially on a reunion album). Still, there are some really great songs on here and the album seems like it will have a little something for everyone.


Post a Comment