El Gant - Beast Academy (Album Review)

El Gant - Beast Academy (Essence of Hip-Hop)

"Beast Academy" is the latest full length album from NYC hip-hop artist El Gant. The album features guest appearances from Torae, El Da Sensei, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Ill Bill and others and is fully produced by JOAT (Jack Of All Trades). It was released on June 10, 2014 via Diamond Media 360 / Rule By Secrecy.

1) Intro (featuring DeeJay Element) - Instrumental skit with ill scratching.

2) Truth Hurts (featuring Torae and DJ Devastate) - The first song on the project features El Gant teaming up with Brooklyn hip-hop artist Torae (who just dropped a banging album with Skyzoo) over an intense beat with a chopped up vocal loop, distorted electric guitars and hard ass drums. The beat is nice and both emcees rip it, calling out wack emcees who sell their soul for money while DJ Devastate provides some dope cuts on the chorus. Nice way to start off the album. - 3.5/5

3) Three Amigos (featuring Chris Webby and Ill Bill) - Similar to the previous track, the beat on this cut features some stomping drums, strings and reverberating guitars that give the instrumental a sort of rock feel. As far as the rhymes go, the song has El Gant linking up with Chris Webby and Ill Bill as all three emcees kick some humorous battle raps full of their usual punchlines and general shit talking. Nice. - 3/5

4) Bases Loaded (featuring Infinity Gauntlet) - This joint is actually by Infinity Gauntlet, which is El Gant’s super group consisting of hip-hop veterans Shabaam Sahdeeq, F.T., Bekay and Red Eye as well as El Gant himself. With that lineup, you know the rhymes are gonna be dope and they definitely are. As far as the beat goes, JOAT doesn't disappoint and delivers what is probably the hardest and most relentless instrumental yet. Very nice. - 3.5/5

5) JOAT Interlude - Instrumental skit.

6) Energy (featuring J. Blanc) - El Gant and his brother J. Blanc kick some boastful and aggressive rhymes over a darker instrumental full of frantic pianos, deep bass and a hard hitting snare. The beat and rhymes are both nice, but the chorus brings the track down a little for me. Still, not bad. - 3/5

7) Goldie Hawn (featuring El Da Sensei) - JOAT delivers what is probably my favorite beat on the album so far, with some rising keys or chimes and a sped up vocal sample that gives the beat a real breezy and lighthearted feel. The production on here is fire and both El Gant and El Da Sensei body it, rapping about their come-up and about being OG's in the rap industry. This one's a banger. - 4.5/5

8) Five One Eight (featuring GGDT) - This song kicks off with some crazy scratching before Giant Gorilla Dog Thing and El Gant come in and shut shit down. The beat is really nice and both emcees sound great over it, spitting some rhymes about their hometown of Albany, NY. Very nice. - 3.5/5

9) Mr. Miyagi - This song gets its name from The Karate Kid's Mr. Miyagi and it has a sort of Asian feel to it that makes it sound unique on the album. I'm really diggin' the beat on here and El Gant rips it, kicking some personal rhymes his life as well as about his perseverance in the hip-hop game. Very nice. - 3.75/5

10) Three Amigos (Remix) - The final song on the album is actually a remix of track three, featuring the same vocals as the original but with all three verses being set over different beats. I'm not familiar with the last two beats on here, but the first one uses the same sample that Pep Love used on his track "T.A.M.I." (which I always thought as a real dope track). This is ill and is on par with the original in my opinion. - 3/5

I'm going to rate the album

3.5 / 5

because there are some really great songs on here. Jack Of All Trades beats are really nice throughout the entire project, with many having an in-your-face and relentless feel to them similar to the kind of instrumentals that Jedi Mind Tricks or Army of the Pharoahs usually rap over. That should be obvious though, since JOAT has worked with hardcore hip-hop artists like Vinnie Paz, Ill Bill and La Coka Nostra in the past. Lyrically the album is just as tight as the beats, with El Gant and guests coming correct on every song. Most of the songs feature the usual braggadocios raps, but there are a few more personal and introspective tracks on here as well. If you are looking for aggressive beats and uncompromising rhymes, look no further.


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