REVIEW: Thought Breakers – Episode 1

Episode 1

Artist: Thought Breakers

Album: Episode 1

Label: Soul’d Out Ent

Rating: 6 / 10

Reviewer: R.Stewart

Hailing from the performance poetry scene, the debut EP from the Thought Breakers (Skeptik and Zach Lost) came packaged with some information promising socially charged lyrics and fresh beats (all courtesy of DJ Stealth). Perhaps in an era when heads are privy to the likes of Immortal Technique, the words “socially charged” conjure a standard and expectation that few efforts could satisfy; unfortunately, this particular project doesn’t quite deliver on that boast set forth by the group’s namesake. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the mix of lyrics and beats on this set don’t quite break one’s thoughts; granted, it’s a decent EP, but it’s not quite riot-inciting classic PE, either.

The opening tracks are by far the strength of this album. ‘Pack A Pen’ and ‘Telepathic’ feature both emcees working seamlessly between each other’s verses, with social commentary on education, drugs, and economics. The beats here aren’t overwhelming, and given the subject matter, the ability to focus on the lyricism is rather welcome.

In case you weren’t aware, Thought Breakers hail from New Jersey, and midway through the EP, we get the home state shoutout track ‘Jerzey’; it’s not bad, and it marks a transition in the strength of the backing production. DJ Stealth seems to have decided to place some emphasis on giving adequate contrast between the track and the two emcees.

On the downside, these guys are caught by the same trap that seems to befall approximately e’ery other artist in the midst of making a quality EP/LP/demo/whatever: the pointless sex track. Seriously, if there was an international college on how to avoid hip hop ruin, the bachelor’s, masters, and doctoral programs would all teach courses in cutting stupid sex tracks; you could even have guest lecturers (no shortage of those :). Add to that, ‘The Sex Track’ (that really is the name of the track) is sandwiched between two of the four (!!!) skits on a half-hour long EP, and you can see how this doesn’t help matters.

‘Hip Pop Stardom’ closes the set on a decent note, with a cynical take on today’s mainstream commercially-driven hip hop lifestyle. Underneath the wit is some gentle rebuke, with Skeptik and Zach Lost rhyming nicely over the beat that, works here with additional keyboard flourishes.

All in all, this is a decent debut, which hopefully offers a glimpse to the potential this duo has together. The rapport and delivery between them is solid, and the potential for more quality cuts on a forthcoming second effort is definitely there. One might want to hear them stop the all-too-common fence straddling that can cripple artists (it’s often hard to be enlightening and entertaining at the same time, and one suffers for the other), but at least you may want to hear them again.

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