The Signal Magazine – The Duality

Publication
Author
Publish Date
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The Signal Magazine
Metafork
September 5, 2012
The Duality

The DualityRapper Jermaine Wells is known to be a smiley sort who sends nothing but good vibes towards anyone he meets. Much the same can be said for the fresh, yet old school sounds of Ill Funk. This album is brimming over with warmth and a genuinely welcoming flavour, as if Jermaine is saying. “Hey there! Come on in! Grab a seat, man! I’ve got something to show you! No pressure, though!”

This is a very playful album, chock full of catchy grooves, brilliant rapping from Jermaine and talented singing from BJ FitzGerald (who also plays guitar and produces). The rhymes bring me back to the days of Young MC, or even Kool and the Gang.

The samples are well-used; some reminded me of theme music to old sitcoms from the seventies and eighties. I can tell that this Albany-based group has a love for the good old days. This makes sense, because those old school styles would have been somewhat mainstream when Jermaine and the boys were tots or teens.

There’s a huge focus on the message of harmony in this album. The members are clearly family-oriented people, and respect is paid to immediate family through some of the lyrics.

I personally connected to the song “Find A Way.” It’s very inspiring and encouraging, instilling in me the hope that more artists like this could wiggle their way into the mainstream. This reviewer believes that the world is in dire need of some harmony and unity. A band like Ill Funk could surely set those wheels in motion.

Another memorable track was the uplifting “Fearless.” This song has a very relaxed feel with great transitions from verse to chorus. Ill Funk’s lyrics are sometimes simple, but often memorable: “She was fearless. Rest in peace, Mama. She kept her boys safe. Sarah Connor. Just knowing you, it was an honor. Now I’m cutting up these tracks like a katana.” There’s a simplicity to the writing, because there is nothing esoteric about such subject matter. It’s straight to the point.

“My Gosh.” is a soul-searching tune about personal struggle, working for the man and barely getting by, but growing from such experiences. Seriously, how many freaking rappers share such a positive message on TV? They don’t, because they don’t rap about real life. Real life is not a mattress made of hundred dollar bills, with plenty of room for a variety of “ho”s.

The title track kind of shocked me, for one specific reason. Some of the music is almost identical to “Sail” by AWOL Nation. Is there some plagiarism at work here? And if so, from what side? I don’t know. As far as I’m concerned, Ill Funk used this sample more effectively. It served as a great compliment to their rhymes.

In summing up, I can gladly sing the praises of Ill Funk. This record has so much heart, it makes me wonder where all the other artists of this nature are hiding, and why nobody will sign them?

GREAT album. Almost all the tracks are standout tracks. Ill Funk’s “The Duality” is well worth the money.

PRODUCTION: 90
MUSICIANSHIP: 90
LYRICS: 93
VARIANCE: 89
LASTING VALUE: 87
Overall Score: 90

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