Constant Flow - Ascension (Review)

"Ascension" is the latest album from New Jersey rapper Constant Flow. The album features guest appearances from Immortal Technique, Chino XL, Akir, Swave Sevah, Wyme and others and was released on September 2, 2014 via Viper Records.

1) Ascension - The first song on the album finds Constant Flow introducing himself over a hard-hitting beat that sets the energetic tone of the project right out of the gate. The beat is dope and Constant Flow sounds good over it as he kicks some personal rhymes about his past. Nice way to start off the album - 3.5/5

2) Anatomy of a Revolutionary - The beat on this cut is full of swirling strings and hard drums that come together to give the song a symphonic feel. The production changes up a tad during the third verse, but it's just as dope. As far as the rhymes go, Constant Flow kicks some story raps about a person's past run-ins with the law and how they changed him. Nice. - 3.5/5

3) Dog Tags (featuring Swave Sevah and Akir) - Constant Flow links up with Swave Sevah and Akir as all three emcees kick some militaristic rhymes over an instrumental full of frantic keyboards and ill pianos. Dope track, but I'm feeln' the others a tad more. - 3/5

4) Danger Zone - This cut finds Constant Flow spitting some vivid rhymes about how people seem to become desensitized to bad things as they get older. The second verse in particular is chilling as CF raps about his girl miscarrying and his reaction to it. As far as the beat goes, it's mainly centered around some twinkling synths and shuffling drums, but I was mainly focused on the rhymes on this one. - 3.5/5

5) Celebrate Life (featuring Wyme and Chino XL) - The beat on this track features some more symphonic synths over hard hitting drums that are kind of similar to some of the other production on the project so far. Lyrically the song is fire though, with Constant Flow rapping about celebrating life because its way to short (via a heartbreaking story) while Wyme kills it on the chorus. Chino XL isn't actually on this track, but he is on the outro to the previous song. Either way, dope track. - 4/5

6) Extra - CF kicks some boastful battle raps and more political rhymes over a funky guitar loop with minimal drums. This song probably has the most laid back production on the album so far, but its effective. Too bad it's so short since it's real dope. - 4/5

7) Moment Of Peace (featuring Immortal Technique and Melanie Fontana) - Constant Flow and Immortal Technique spit some of their usual revolutionary rhymes about the media and even touch on hip-hop culture a bit over a beautiful instrumental. The beat and rhymes are real nice and Melanie Fontana sounds good enough on the chorus. This ones a banger though. - 4/5

8) Winter Blood (featuring Beast1333) - This cut finds CF and Beast1333 flowing effortlessly over an extremely upbeat piano-based instrumental and chopped up Big L / Big Pun samples. The beat has a hectic feel to it, but both emcees ride it nicely as they spit some boastful bars. - 3.5/5

9) Young Lord (featuring Kelly Finnigan of Monophonics and Wyme) - The beat on this song has an epic feel to it, with some distorted electric guitars, pianos and soaring backing vocals over rapid-fire hi-hats and deep bass. Like on a few of the other songs, Constant Flow kicks some vivid stories about topics such as 9/11 and how they affected the lives of future generations. Nice. - 4/5

10) Devil's Maze (featuring Immortal Technique) - Constant Flow hooks back up with Immortal Technique (who just provides the chorus on this one) and spits some more conscious rhymes in a rapid-fire flow. The beat and rhymes both bring the energy and Immortal Technique's chorus is full of venom. Dope shit. - 4/5

11) Bars (featuring Dontique) - This song also features an energetic synth instrumental similar in vibe to some of the others, but it's actually pretty good. Lyrically the song is nice as well, with Constant Flow and guest Dontique both ripping the beat and spitting some braggadocios battle raps. It's not my favorite song on here, but not bad. - 3/5

12) Sunshine (featuring P.J. Pacifico) - CF kicks a story rap about a character who learns to open up his third eye and about how everything in life leads back to God over an almost somber instrumental with what sounds like some pianos, bells and lively drums. The beat is full of energy, but the tone of the track is kind of depressing. Still, I'm feelin' this one. - 3.5/5

13) You're All Welcome - The final song on the album finds Constant Flow rhyming over a dope beat with a sample that is so familiar, but I can't place for some reason. I know I've heard it before, but can't remember where. That shit is going to annoy me. Anyways, the beat is flames and CF rips it. Dope way to close out the album. - 4/5

I'm going to rate the album

3.75 / 5

because its quite good. The production is very upbeat throughout, with a few sample-based instrumentals mixed in with some synth heavy productions and then layered over hi-octane drums. The aggressiveness of the beats compliments Constant Flow's rapid-fire delivery and revolutionary subject matter quite nicely, however, and I didn't find his rhymes to be overshadowed by the intensity of the beats. Speaking of his rhymes, Constant Flow rips every song on here and shows off his incredible skills in storytelling as well as just straight spitting. All in all, the project is real dope and has me looking forward to what else he can come up with in the future.