Honestly
label: birthwrite

producers: maker

guests: adeem, qwel, thawfor, lord 360, pugslee atomz, psalm one, josh martinez, sarcazm, governor bolts, thaione davis, others.
year of release: 2003
The argument can be that there are more exceptionally good producers in the world of hip hop, than there are as good emcees. The argument however does not take anything away from the quality of the beatsmiths, as well of the difficulty to get included in this illustrious circle. An add on to this argument could also include that these exceptionally good producers don't always originate in the hot beds of this art. Maker for example calls Aurora, Illinois his home. And while the ballot is still out, this reviewer voted yey to the question if this producer should be considered for a place in the circle. Note, we don't just yet want to jump the gun and have Maker be included in this pantheon. Despite his track record, there are still some more evaluation steps to complete. But with his papers now including this album here, the chances for his initiation are excellent.

tracklisting
1. Hello
3. Jumpin Lilly feat. Adeem
3. Ten
4. Honestly feat. Qwel
5. Tomorrow By The Ocean
6. Abandon All Cargo feat. Lord 360
7. Call Center Anthem
8. 54 Bucks Per Minute
9. Nacrology feat. Nacrobats (Pugslee Atomz, Psalm One, Cosmo, Thaione)
10. Dead Of Winter
11. Uphill Climb feat. Sarcazm, Josh Martinez, Governor Bolts
12. How About This
13. Enter The Mind
14. World Of Shadows feat. Thawfor
15. Lost At Last
16. Reflection
17. Intended For feat. Costume
18. Funk Up The Place
19. Goodbye
As Maker's solo debut "Honestly" is quite a revelation. With a good mix of instrumentals and songs with words, this album never lacks, and never comes with a song that's short in anything. The strength then often is in the sample selection, be it the singing at the beginning of "Hello" or "Goodbye", the "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" monologue of the same "Hello" track, or further on, "54 Bucks Per Minute" gets a marketing guy trying to sell us something, with the instrumentation telling part two of the story. The selling is continued on "How About This", where the drum sampling or programming takes away the attention though. Another impression Maker secures, is that he's versatile, as the vibes also change. Hence a "Ten" is rather quick and a "Enter The Mind" is eager, "Tomorrow By The Ocean" is moody and content, "Call Center Anthem" is floating, "Dead Of Winter" is sad, while the positive spirit of "Lost At Last" turns the mood again. There's a little bit of Drum'n'Bass in the funky "Reflection", with "Funk Up The Place" then going way back to the 70s to get some serious funk laid down.
But when there are words, the rhyme and the beat more than once click. Not too surprisingly on "Jumpin Lilly", where Maker and Adeem team up again (after already being excellent on "Maker Mine"). Adeem takes us on a road trip, with the tiring straight lines of interstates being relieved of their dullness by a happy spirit in beats and words. Further down, Qwel makes "Honestly" his, while he speaks with a sarcastic tongue. And knowing how interested this cat is in everything, you can understand how he transports all his thought into the open with songs like this. Sarcazm, Josh Martinez and Governor Bolts then have it easy, because the beat for "Uphill Climb" is just very good too. Plus these reflective words are only undermined by Thawfor going even deeper on "World Of Shadows".
Then there's also the gritty "Abandon All Cargo" with Lord 360, the jazzy posse effort "Nacrology" with Pguslee Atomz, Psalm One, Cosmo and Thaione (Davis), and Maker teams up with his partners Vertebreaker and Concept of Costume on "Intended For" again. No rhymes, but still words are on the hidden prank call track. And different to so many failing efforts to make something like this humerous, this here is belly laugh funny. Not just because we can laugh with the guy on the other side, instead of laughing about the guy.
And thus this album ends as well as it starts, with everything in between being equally good. The words of praise don't give it that much justice, and too much praise would only delude it to something sounding as corny as press sheets. But without a rating, it needs to be stated in plain letters, that this album is a thorough enjoyed trip through the work of the Maker.
review: tadah
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