Red House Reviews – The Duality

Publish Date
Red House Reviews
Julien Alexandre
September 15, 2012
The Duality

The DualityThe Duality is the most recent album from the Albany based hip hop/soul band-“The Ill Funk Ensemble”. For Ill Funk fans the album could not have come soon enough as it has already been closed to two years since the release of their first studio album entitled “Catching Wreck”.

For myself this album was a blend of fresh hip/hop with some old school late 80’s to 90’s funk. Rising up to the occasion and perseverance where the main messages on three of the album’s songs (Afraid of Heights, Find a way & My Gosh). Rising up to the occasion is exactly what the band did on this album. If you’re new to the Ill Funk expect colorful tones and melodies in every instrumental department of the band; and superimposed on top of these is the smooth voice of lead singer Jermaine Wells. Their style oozes the American Grammy Award winning hip hop/soul band “The Roots”. If it’s not evident enough Wells even spits a line on “She’s Fearless” that goes: “I got Roots flow coming from my Black Thought”.

The lyrics and the vibes of this album are deep but yet easily digestible. Common themes on The Duality are: love, success, rising to the top, overcoming racial predjudices (all positives) and then all of a sudden they leave you at the end with “The Duality” (the negative aspect). The Duality is the dark side to the light. It’s a song with a heavy beat, and the main hook and verses hold an intensely dark and negative energy to them. This is a nice spin on the album as it turns it on its back right at the end. I thought this was a really cool twist you don’t often see. Despite this, I still find the beat for the song sounds a lot like the band Awolnation’s song “Sail”.

Overall, The Duality was a feel good hip-hop album that had me reminiscing of the 90’s (when hip hop had seen better day). Upbeat rhythms, fancy instrumental footwork (especially the guitar and saxophone instrumental exchange on “The Streetbeater”), real lyrics with soul, make The Duality and album definitely worth checking out.

Songs to Listen To On The Album: “Afraid of Heights”; “The Streetbeater”; “The Duality”

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