Features: Edem,C-Real,Dex Kwasi,Joey B,M.anifest,P.K,Gemini,Sarkodie,Stargo,Shaker
This man is a problem. Not just because he claims to be the ‘’Best African Rapper’’ (B.A.R), but because the claims are laid with such fierce confidence, as if it is a fact that you ought to know. And the weird part is, you kind of start to believe him.
A thousand rappers will say a thousand times ‘’I am the best’’, (this is a hiphop prerogative, we don’t judge them) but the way E.L says it, you may find yourself lacking argument at the very moment. The BAR mixtape is a clever example of the concept of compiling hiphop songs but without the term ‘’Album’’ attached to it. A mixtape aims to proclaim these 4 words… ‘’Chale……I CAN RAP”.
In the opening track, E.L (which stands for Existing Legend) warms up for word play by stating that his momma raised the B.A.R…get it? Raised the bar? And then he further states ”if I dey lie God strike me’’…he listens….silence…and then he keeps rapping. Now you get curious as to what in the world he is about to say on the next 13 tracks.
The lyrical content of the mixtape will manifest as we uncover reasons to be frightened of this bar-brandishing bar-barian (see what I did there?) But concerning the beats on which the rhymes were planted, they came unique on all 14 tracks. For example the beat of ‘’Over’’ Featuring Edem(produced by E.L) sounds like a tune to be banging when marching to war. Heavy drums that feel like they urge you to pick a weapon and SOUND THE CHARGE!!
Over Ft Edem
A distinct dissimilarity of songs offers the chance to enjoy every track with a different vibe, and the features brought some asylum worthy verses like Sarkodie on ‘’Spoil Der’’(produced by Slimbo). It was total madness!
Be wary of this young African. It would be unwise to underestimate his capabilities. Better yet, be frightened. And here is why;
1. If E.L tells you to jump off a building, you might do it: The self-proclamation on this mixtape is not hammered. E.L is not trying to force feed you an opinion, rather he is stating matter-of-factly. On track 5 Boorle, his remark that he is the best ‘’and it is no debate’’ was stated as plainly as would be a statement about the weather.And apparently the chances of being doper than him is like winning the lottery…..twice (Hey I’m not making this up, it is right there on track 10)
With that solid conviction in his words, if E.L tells you that you can fly, you might jump off a building without worries.
2. He is a workaholic with a microphone: Now besides telling us at the end of track 11 My people, that he just got off a plane and went straight to the studio to make the song itself (with his luggage in the car) it seems E.L has a get rich or die trying vendetta. We hope to God he was kidding when he described suicide as the answer to being poor.
He postulates that being broke and famous just don’t cut it on track 6 ‘’Work’’(Featuring C-Real and Dex Kwasi,produced by Mike Mills), and shares his hustle routine with us. Which is sleep, wake, puff a few and get back to work.
Work Ft C-real,Dex Kwasi
You still don’t think he’s a workaholic? Try this line from ‘’Go to Church’’ ‘’ She give me head while I’m writing rhymes on my iPhone’’. Like seriously…who does that?
3. He will steal your girlfriend: ‘’Your Girlfriend Anaa’’ Featuring M.anifest is one of the moments where E.L’s 360 lyrical expertise manifests (pun only intended if you wish it to be). Another is on Saa Na Etie where he tells his story, from graduating to working and quitting up until studio sessions and singles.
But on ‘’Your Girlfriend Anaa’’, he breaks down the tactful art of stealing your woman from right under your nose, and once again….you will believe him. DJs may dare to spin this in the club and fly it will.
E.L and M.anifest dropped their lines one after the other through the G-Mo produced song, thereby turning the feature into an immorally smooth lyric orgy. Yes that’s how perfectly they synced.
4. He summons a deadly squad: The features on The BAR Mixtape are memorable all the way, and not a single verse on any track fell below average standard. On ”Work” he barely stood his ground with C-Real bringing the tension, while Dex Kwasi came through trapping like he was straight out of ATL.
Gemini on Go to church was in dire need of a leash to control that verbal savagery. E.L designed his features to suit the mixtape. Contrary to album features which look to ride names that hit the market, the heavy hitters on the BAR were assembled for the sole purpose of lyrical homicide.
5. The man can bloody rap: Pick any random song in no order and press play. What you will find if you repeat this exercise is that E.L’s rap technique can function on 14 tracks without strain. You won’t find wack puns and desperate attempts at quotables on this project. But you will find a persistent description of his thoughts and opinions, expressed in crude lyrical structure.
His message is not very different from what every rapper is preaching, but his sermon is just sweeter than most, because the sensibility of his words are offered impeccably in rhyme…….kickass rhyme.
Verdict: For the ferocious and unrestrained performance on the project, we hereby grade this mixtape B for B.A.Rbarian.
By Brandon Bridges