Artist: Knowa Lazarus
Album: Jose Rizal
Label: Q-York Entertainment
Score: 3.5 / 10
Reviewer: Nick D
When an artist continually shifts identities, genres, and messages from track to track, the resulting album is usually convoluted and without a specific purpose. Add to the equation the fact that this album is named after one of the most realized reformers in human history and the listener is left with a lethargic, confused record that completely fails to live up to the lofty ideals set forth by the album €™s namesake.
Such is the case with €œJose Rizal, € the release from Q-York Entertainment emcee, Knowa Lazarus. The album, which is apparently designated to pay tribute to the renaissance man Rizal, comes off as an attempt to do too much with too little skill on behalf of Lazarus and the rest if the Q-York crew. Consequently, an air of superficiality is exuded in the shadow of an extremely consequential man.
The first track, on which Lazarus limps through the talents and deeds of his hero over a particularly awful beat, does more than merely acquaint the uninformed listener with Rizal and his works as it also presents the listener with the cheap production and emotionless rapping that taint the majority of the album.
Almost all of the background music and beats on €œJose Rizal € sound very much like the demo music one might find when fiddling with a low-end Casio keyboard. The beats, then, are distracting and come across as unprofessional and artless. Even the relatively nice €˜Hotel California €™ sample on the album €™s ninth track €˜Let It All Out, €™ which stands as one of the more entertaining songs on €œJose Rizal, € is almost ruined by the tinny beat.
Lyrically, Lazarus suffers as well as he tries to keep up with the beats that are often too fast for his optimal flow. When this happens, the subject matter of the respective song is not very pointed. This is exemplified the track €˜Get Up €™:
Never let yourself get jaded
Live your life and celebrate it
Watch the game, I €™ll commentate it
Liquor, yes I €™ll tolerate it
Needs to be inoculated
Don €™t get discombobulated… €
Lazarus often changes his flow from track to track and is really only successful on the slower tracks such as the aforementioned €˜Let It All Out, €™ on which he actually shows some feeling and, therefore, does an admirable job. This effort is rarely matched, with €˜Hater-Aid, €™ a song most likely intended to be a club anthem, being the only other worthwhile track on €œJose Rizal € provided the listener likes club hits.
The rest of the album is extremely inconsistent. Once, on €˜Divide & Conquer, €™ Lazarus even alters his voice and comes off lightly sounding like a sped up Grym Reaper from The Gravediggaz or even B-Real from Cyprus Hill. This change, however, just comes off as annoying and out of place.
Because Lazarus skips around, experimenting with different flows and sounds, €œJose Rizal € is not very cohesive. No matter one €™s taste in hip-hop, the listener is sure to be disappointed with this record.