Artist: 730 Michell
Album: 730 Michell
Label: 730 Michell
Rating: 5 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Straight outta the Bronx come one of the strangest named groups for a long time. The introductory first track lets us know that the “730” part means “being different, being crazy”, whilst the “Michell” part means “rocking the mic in a world of hell”. Sound weird? Hell, look how long Peanut Butter Wolf has got away with it!
Anyway… the first proper cut on the album is ‘Bigger Than U’. Over a beat that would sound right at home on a Mobb Deep album we’re introduced to the two group members. John Peele spits first, before handing mic duties over to his partner Shawn Watson a.k.a “Shawn Dead – bigger than Tyra Banks forehead.” The way these two guys trade verses is similar in style to that Broken Language cut by Smooth Da Hustler. Quickfire lyrics, dope beats – a top notch joint.
Unfortunately after such a bright start, things start to go wrong. The next cut ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, has its heart in the right place, with its social commentary on the devastation that crack is doing to inner city communities, but Public Enemy did this much better over ten years ago with ‘Night Of The Living Baseheads’.
Moving on, ‘Bread Apple 2000’ and ‘Cum’ both feature dull, uninspiring beats – its hard to believe that the producer Taj, is the same cat who produced the earlier banger.
‘Back From Hell’ lifts the gloom temporarily, with production handled by Jessie West (the same 3rd Eye cat who had that ‘Ease Up’ cut on the “Who’s The Man” soundtrack. ‘Source Model’, the next cut raises the tempo again, although it has to be noted that both group members are outrhymed by a blazing verse from Al Hawkins.
The final couple of cuts on album serve to sum up the whole problem. ‘Marvin Gaye and Jay Talk To You’ has quite a bouncy beat, but when you’re blasting this, its hard to actually hear Marvin singing on the chorus – the levels need turned up on this one. The sad thing is that this is quite a good idea, and although this was probably completed first, its always going to be compared to Erick Sermon’s new Marvin-flavoured cut, ‘Music’. ‘Sleep No More’ completes the album – a cut telling us where these cats came from, what the saw and did growing up, and how its influenced them. This kind of a joint has probably be done by every rapper at some point in their career, and this one is average at best.
And there you have it… it looks like these guys have went all out to make an album that appeals to everyone – you’ve got the battle/brag rhymes, the comments on society cut, the ladies-come-do-me joint, the commercially targeted song, and the ‘product of the environment’ track. The only trouble is that a lot of other rappers are doing exactly the same type of album, and doing it a lot better. I don’t like to knock anyone, especially when they have worked to actually get into a studio and lay tracks down, but there’s nothing here that really stands out. And its for this reason that 730 Michell get an average score.