Artist: Deepspace 5
Album: The Night We Called It A Day
Label: Uprok Records
Rating: 8 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Its certainly unusual for a collection of artists to come out pushing an album, and find that they’re all in this together on the strength of their religion. Yup, despite sharing a love of Hiphop and God, this is another one of those albums that you can tag as “wack Christian rap” at your peril.
My earlier reviews of Tunnel Rats, and Mars Ill, and Ad’s review of Too Bizzy MC, should stand as evidence that the majority of “Christian rap” should just be labelled plain ol’ “rap”. Its not preachy, and its definitely not wack – and after all no-one went off on Chuck D and Lakim Shabazz for pushing the Nation of Islam on us 12 years ago. Maybe its time to stop with the labels?
Uprok Records is rapidly establishing itself as a home for dope, intelligent Hiphop artists, and this release from Deepspace 5 is no exception. DS5 is a collective made up of some of the dopest artists on Uprok – Mars Ill, Sintax, The Recon, Listener, IllTripp 1, Stu Dent, Sev Statik, Playdough, Fred Bruno, and The Beat Rabbi. Comparisons can be drawn with the early work of the Native Tongues clique, as all these artists pop up all over each other’s work, in a similar manner to how De La, Tribe and the JB’s used to do it.
The Deepspace 5 project is a chance for all these artists to wreck shop on one album – best described by the words of ‘Elementary’ –
“You can call it elementary, blend with symmetry,
Periodically we all come together like it was meant to be.”
This album definitely has a more laidback feel than the other two Uprok releases I’ve checked out. The morose, Indian-influences of the title track sets the scene, as each emcee spits some thought provoking illness, wrapping it up with simple but effective choruses which captures the essence of emceeing as a metaphor for life.
“Day or night, wrong or right,
Spill my guts with every breath of the mic,
And hope you call it tight,
If its blind give it sight, if its wrong make it right,
Some call it music, Deep Space calls it life.”
Also worth checking out is the old school boom bap of ‘Stick This In Your Ear’, which seems to be a close cousin of Jurassic 5’s ‘Jayou’, the rootsy feel of ‘Winter In Manhattan’, and the acoustic beauty of ‘Take The Rhythm’.
The production throughout this album is top notch – a hallmark, it seems, of the majority of Uprok releases. So many different styles of production are displayed here – its hard to give credit for them all. The Mexican trumpet flavour of ‘Ziontific’ had me wide open, as did the ‘Joywriting’ banger.
There’s a Company Flow alert on ‘Murder Creek’, and this had me reaching for skip. Damn El-P and his cruddy beats and emcee style – why do people still wanna jock this style of production?
The last couple of tracks again serve to illustrate how this collective can flip totally different styles and still sound dope. The almost lazy sound of ‘Thinking By Numbers’ and the twanging guitars of ‘If Tomorrow Starts Without Me’ are like chalk and cheese, and yet on both tracks, the emcees rip the mic from start to finish. There’s a nice female vocal hook on the latter track too.
Overall, this is another commendable Uprok release. Again, another display of totally sick beats. Another display of ill mic skills. Hell, even another little Co-Flow inspired track just to piss me off. This is definitely worth picking up.