I first heard about Che Grand when he had a guest verse over Jay Electronica’s song “Hagler.” His verse was right after Jay Electronica and for music fans who are not familiar with this supreme lyricist, let me enlighten you and say up front that this is no easy task. Jay Electronica is like hip hop’s Descartes with the pad and pen, the guy is ridiculous. However, after listening to “Hagler,” I was both unexpectedly and pleasantly blown away by Che Grand’s verse. I felt that his bars were definitely up to par if not better than Jay Electronica’s verse. Naturally when I heard about Che Grand’s new album Everything’s Good Ugly, I was interested in what this talented rookie emcee had to offer. Well frankly, I’m disappointed.
Che Grand’s album doesn’t consist of sub standard material, but it’s just mediocre. The production quality didn’t captivate me and the beats aren’t diverse in terms of their sounds, samples or textures. To make matters even worse, Che Grand maintained the same rhythmic flow over every track. I completely appreciate superb lyricism and over the top punchlines, but a rapper’s flow and rhythm is what will ultimately transform a basic mixtape cut into a bonafide hit record.
In addition, I feel that truly unique and standout rap records are loud and meant to be played loud. Some artists such as a Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul have built their careers on lacing together mellow and chilled out tracks, but they’re a rare exception. If one listens closely to their production quality and beats, they utilize multiple layers of samples and beats so that the mix ends up more complex than what the ear initially hears or picks up on. Everything’s Good Ugly lacks the loud and intricate production sounds that I enjoy hearing on rap records. It’s nothing I want to proudly stick in my car stereo, blast at loud volumes through residential neighborhoods and feel like King Kong is locked in my trunk.
Overall, I’m bored with Che Grand’s album and this is unfortunate. He’s a very talented rapper, but he released a mediocre and banal cd. If I was not familiar with his previous works, I would write him off as another average emcee and keep moving. Despite this current misstep, I’m certain that Che Grand has lots of potential and will release more intriguing material in the future. Readers, keep your eyes and ears peeled out for this rapper.
Final grade: C-
For more about Che Grand, be sure to check out his tracks at http://www.myspace.com/chegrand