Mind Over Matter
Mind Over Matter is the first release to come out of the
enigmatic MSS Records empire. Featuring the sermonic work of
dread-head rapper Reality Odio, the project comes hard-hitting
with consistent sombre tones and serious lyrical statements, wrapped
in very hip-hop, urban production. Producers: Reality Odio, T.Boy
album release date: March, 2000
AKA John Aaron Robinson, Reality paints his stark Nureau
perspective on a soundboard that includes 14 tracks, many of them rife
with guest shots, some notable, some not. No doubt, the heads of holy
hiphop will flock to this CD, eager to feast on the phat tracks and
flows. They will not be disappointed. Those looking for vocal grooves
and song will not find much here that satisfies.
Select tracks include “The Day God Called”, which is a testimonial
flow with a short vocal loop from Anthony Church (of the
crew Divine Order) travelling underneath. It also features a
mid-track groovesome beat break that deserves a longer ride.
“Can’t Be Idle: Idol” is a cut with a disjointed feel, partly due
to the interspersion of spoken scripture segments without accompanying
beat tracks. However, the repeated, multiply-stacked vocal chorus
of “can’t be idle, drop the title, ‘cuz what we have is vital” is hype,
with nice horn loops and bells. Topic? An strong appeal for unity in the
church. I didn't like this one at first bob, but repeated play slowly revealed
that the unusual structure of the cut contributes to its effect.
“Touch That One” is a short interlude which samples Evangelist
E.B. Williams on preaching vocals and Tonéx on track,
from “Untitled”, which was the final cut on the Tonéx’s
legendary Pronounced Toe-Nay album. Reality produces.
“Seduction” warns that television can trap and deceive even
the children of saints. Spoken by Black Wife in poetic
format, it’s packaged with a baby laugh loop. Black Wife
appears again on “Until I’m Done Singing”, this time offering
up backing vocals in support of her husband (Reality), who rides
his projects’s smoothest flows and tightest rhymes over a
pop-ish instrumental track. It’s perhaps the most upbeat and
encouraging track of this project.
The combo of T.Boy and 5’0 take production
control of “Soul Control”, opting for a sound that's heavy on light
guitar and loaded with scratches from Mazzin’ Feats.
Highlighting the lyrics and explaining the essence of the
cut is the line, “I give you the key to my skeleton closet,
and pray that I don’t make a brand new deposit”.
The same production duo also handle “True Knights”, which
is positioned as the lead single. It’s a slammingly powerful
call to spiritual warfare, a battle cry against the evil
adversary that brings the combined forces of Reality, T.Boy
and the Divine Order crew to the mic. Starting off symphonically
with urgent strings before the trippy beats kick in, the
exhortation and explanation begin in earnest with alternating
solo and chorus presentations.
The project is supported with various marketing measures
considered normal in mainstream hip-hop world, but still rather
a novelty on the righteous side of the elements. “True
Knights” remixes have been released on 12" vinyl (a Club Virtue mix and a Euclid & Federal mix, plus instrumental dubs of both), which is sure
to twist the ears of the DJ society. The same
cut is represented in concept video, and with top-scale filming, is
aiming to find itself rotating with mainstream hiphop. Shot at night, “True
Knights” features a strong ‘guerrilla warfare’ concept approach
combined with gritty realism, and includes a cameo from a
Absent from “Mind Over Matter” are party tracks, because
that’s not where Reality puts his focus. His message is a
true, but often thought-provoking and uncomfortable. Yes,
this can be a good thing (check out O.T. peeps like Amos, Obadiah, Hosea and
the like), but hardly the stuff that jeepy, hands-in-the-air
hip-hop jams are made of. The lyrical content of Reality's rhyme is Word-breathed
and leaves no doubt that his Source is Jesus Christ.
Never self-righteous, his message is as equally confessional and
self-directed as it is directed outward. And while his rap
flow doesn’t always perfectly fuse with the tracks,
Reality’s production skills are evident throughout.
Call him a 'new mill' prophet in the pattern and lineage of the
Old Testament notables. Reality has an undeniably relevant
message for those who have an ear to hear God’s
reviewed by Stan North —
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