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"El Che" finally came out in Summer 2010 as the long-awaited follow-up to the debut album from the Chicagoan Hip Hop MC Rhymefest. So-called based on his real name, it has him offering fresh new material from him as he attempts to bring back much more authentic and traditional Hip Hop at a time when its being watered-down more than ever with Pop, Electro and House sounds taking it over.
1. "The Agent" (Intro)
2. "Talk Me S**t"
The album really gets going as we move right on into this one and 'Fest breaks out with some raw, underground material with a gritty feel that you're not really able to match with what's popular in the mainstream Hip Hop world. It has a lot of energy to it and keeps people going in a way that seems to have been lots by those who have seen any sort of mainstream exposure (as he did with "Brand New" and "Fever".
3. "Say Whassup"
This track has Rhymefest linking up with Phonte of Little Brother and together they seem to work together very well as a combination of a pair of artists representing a generaion of aged artist who only found fame over the past decade or so and so is at a bit of a disadvantage to those who they really want to be competing against by this point. This tune is a smooth one where he goes with flows about a girl and he pulls it off nicely.
4. "How High"
Unlike the last, this one really sounds like a full-on Little Brother track as both members of the North Carolina Hip Hop duo come onto this one and they also bring long-time collaborator Darien Brockington along with them to make for some for nice results. It's a very powerful track with a lot of internal energy to it - energy which is exerted by each and every one of the MCs who get up on it.
We're made to move off the featured material with this one as 'Fest goes out with some solo work and a little something where he breaks out the type of thing which he knows is bound to be received well. This one has him doing a little something extra about the girls as he stands by and thinks on how difficult the process of picking an ideal partner is to actually do. It's a highlight of the album and will able to many.
6. "One Arm Push Up"
The beats really thump away on this track and give off a feel that takes you right back down into the underground where it felt as though we began. The intensity of the MC's flows is evidently much harder than usual and it reflects the lengthy process which went into completing this album after a number of set backs which meant that it took a long time for him to eventually put this out.
Beginning with a quick skit, this track is a bumpy tune and one which really gets people bouncing nicely along to the thing as Rhymefest goes with some rhymes which have him speaking on how he was inspired by watching a Christian TV channel late at night and saw how people were being brainwashed into paying to receive the messages which presumably can be found in a bible somewhere. It's a great example of his great lyricism and the sort of thing you'll only get out of the underground.
8. "Truth On You"
This track has Rhymefest speaking autobiographically here and I felt that it was great to see how he's able to come out with something that actually makes fun of himself. He does well to make things very easy to listen to and not as intense as what others may come up with as he solely concentrates upon his recording career and doesn't use his upbringing as a way to draw in attention in the way that others do.
9. "Intermission - Juan Carlos" (Lude)
As we move out of a short interlude, we're taken into a tune which has him blasting out with a hyped-up alternative track where he focuses right on in with his city and what he knows. Here he fights against all the issues he has in his hometown and how he wishes that people would sort themselves out. He does it all with a rhyming style that's a step down from what he's usually able of as he mocks those who rap in simplistic ways because they haven't the creativity that the pioneers had.
The Canadian Neo-Soul artist Glenn Lewis comes to sing on the hook for this one and I felt that he was a nice added touch to the thing as he not only takes on the entire chorus, but also the opening verse as he sets things up with a bit of a Reggae feel before Rhymefest gets his say on the thing and comes in with flows which have him focusing more on relationships in the funny way that he always approaches that subject matter.
12. "Last Night"
I felt that this was a track that peoepl should pay close attention to as we're taken right into a track which has Rhymefest showing his great storytelling abilities. Here he comes with a tune where he awakens not knowing what happened the night before and he asks a number of questions regarding what exactly could have led to him getting into the situation he's found himself in here. It's a quality piece and stands right out.
13. "Give It To Me"
With both Adad and Saigon on this one, I found that this was a massive track from the album and one that draws in a lot of attention as we find that he gets up very hyped-up beats with a feel unlike much else you'd get anywhere in the game in the time. It's made up of well-composed vocal samples and this, along with the raps, makes for a raging tune which is bound to get the listeners in a lively mood.
14. "Intermission: No Help" (Lude)
15. "City Is Falling"
Another interlude is followed up by a track, and here the results are just as nice as ever before. Here 'Fest takes people away with a soulful tune and one where he tries more to show how he's able to pull together things which sound as though they don't fit in with the beats that he's chosen but are valued as they will surprise you in the way that he presents them in a sarcastic manner that uninformed listeners may not notice.
The album comes to a close with a track which seems to do just as you expect from what the tittle gives. I thought that it was a suitable way to draw things to a close here as he just gets loose with it and does whatever seems to work for him and whatever comes to mind. An interpolation of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is just one of the unexpected things which is packed into this final tune and altogether it makes for a nice way to draw things to a close.
Considering how long the process was to put this album out, I thought that much more would go into it and it felt as though it was good, but there was little really to make things stand out and force people to pay attention if they weren't into his work before. I didn't think that it was as good as his debut and although he's clearly improved with the lyrics (not that he was ever weak at that) it still wasn't quite as I thought it would be.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Into: The Agent 1:55
2 Talk My S**t 3:20
3 Say Wassup 3:45
4 How High 3:51
5 Chocolates 3:33
6 One Hand Push Up 3:16
7 Prosperity 3:17
8 Truth On You 4:18
9 Intermission: Juan Carlos 2:18
10 Chicago 3:34
11 Agony 4:42
12 Last Night 2:56
13 Give It To Me 3:08
14 Intermission: No Help 0:39
15 City Is Falling 4:54
16 Celebration 4:05