"Death of Adam" is the debut album from the producer-turned-rapper, 88-Keys. As a result, this New York rapper does alll the production, alongside another who fits this description, Kany West. In the past the two have worked together, and a collabortion between the two, featured on this album, is what attracted me to his work.
This is a concept album and 88-Keys himself stated that this is how it works:
"The entire album is about the power of the punani, if you will. The album follows the story line of my man Adam who passed away and basically how he died. It all started off with him catching a boner one morning, morning wood, and his life starts to spin out of control from there."
1. "Morning Wood"
To get things going, you have a pretty poor start where Keys sings the opener about how good your day will be if you girl "...take[s] care of the 'Morning Wood'". I was far from impressed by the lyrics, and it was a distasteful starter.
2. "Nice Guys Finish Last"
Luckily, the quality is brought up in the second track as you get the artist rapping, instead of singing in a very poor way. Interestingly, whenever he does this, he does it as if he's talking down a phone with some distortion t his voice. You get a strong cut here, where he refers to show you have to fight for quality goods, espcially when it comes to girls.
3. "The Friends Zone"
At first when I heard some great syth-lead production, I thought that I was to be in for a treat of a trakc. However it all flops when the guest collaborators, Shitake Monkey, give a strange Alternative Rock take on the piece, and it put me right off the thing as he does one about the infamous "Friends Zone" in a relationship.
4. "Handcuff 'Em"
I felt that this one was only as good as it was because of the fact that 88-Keys was able to take a secondary role in things and give up responsiblilty to the more experienced XV and Izza Kizza, who come up with a strong flow to help things go according to 88's plans on this concept.
5. "Stay Up!"
Here is the track which attracted me to the music from 88-Keys, in knowledge of the fact that this one has the sub-title, "Viagra", you should understand what this one is about. Here Kanye comes out with some of his funniest rhymes ever alongside this newcomer (as a rapper), all revolving around the fact that they are unable to "Stay Up".
6. "There's Pleasure in It" (Lude)
7. "(Awww Man) Round 2?"
On this you have him expressing annoyance when offered "Round 2" from his nympho partner, who he clearly can't keep up with. The sample used was perfect for the piece, and the way that it is performed fully expresses how he hasn't got the stamina to satisfy her needs.
8. "Dirty Peaches"
The duo of J*Davey, who I can't say I had heard of, join the artist for this one and seemingly take over as they go in and do all the Neo-Soul singing which has the album take on a different direction. I wasn't fond of this soulful change in the album, so it wasn't my thing.
9. "Close Call"
As one of my favourite underground MCs, I was very pleased to see Phonte of Little Brother get on this one, and he seems to really make things work as he comes out with an amazing flow, allowing the standard of the piece being improved when rapping about when girls trick you into getting them pregnant
10. "The Burning Bush"
Redman jumps on this one and he comes out in a big way on some original beats, which once again take another direction on things within this release.This is one of few which increase the tempo, and it has to been a good thing.
11. "Ho' Is Short for Honey"
The "Day 'n' Nite" Hipster Rap artist, Kid Cudi joins 88-Keys on this one, and with such a fresh face, I would have thought that it would come up with the goods for this tune, however it didn't really turn out this way as Cudi sings in the track, and it put me completely off, since he is a decent MC.
12. "No. I Said I LIKED You" (Lude)
The Neo-Soul singer Bilal takes over for this one, and it definatewly makes a big jump in the quality of the record as he abolutely takes control with his smooth vocals ona suitable produtional arrangement. The content of it, in regards to the lyrics, refer to the greed of Adam, and how he would even turn to such pepel for his needs.
14. "Another Victim"
88-Keys retunrs to rap once again for this one, as he had been absent for a short while, and this return isn't really too dramatic as he enbds things ambiguisouly, but in a way which I can't say I'm too interested in descovering the answers to.
I have to say that this concept album was too good, and not one that I would recommend to amny. All expect the single, "Stay Up!" feaure a short interlude at the end where the story of Adam is told to us, and I can't say that I enjoyed listening to these short words, as it means that they only really make sense when you listen o the album all the way through, and so indivudal tracks have strange endings to them.
I expected a lot more from this album, but now I can see why he only just turned to rapping, as he can't really do it, and the few times he actually does it in the album are amongst the worst times in the album. The production for me was quite avaerge, and never really impressed me as I expected it to.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Morning Wood
2 Nice Guys Finish Last
3 Friends Zone - 88 Keys & Shitake Monkey
4 Handcuff 'Em
5 Stay Up (Viagra) - 88 Keys & Kanye West
6 There's Pleasure In It
7 Awww Man Round 2
8 Dirty Peaches - 88 Keys & J'Davey
9 Close Call - 88 Keys & Phonte
10 Burning Bush - 88 Keys & Redman
11 Ho' Is Short For Honey - 88 Keys & Kid Cudi
12 No I Said I LIKED You
13 MILF - 88 Keys & Bilal
14 Another Victim