The Third Eye – The Third Eye
The Third Eye – The Third Eye – Album Review
I’ll give you the backstory I got on this crew, so we’re all on the same page here…
“The Third Eye began as a joke, The producer Namasteez and Producer/MC Plaedo were working on a song and they decided to bring in Zen Tempest and Maxwell Davis to do guest verses. While hanging in the studio passing time, the three mc’s began to freestyle over one of Namasteez’s beats, afterwords Namasteez joked, what if we recorded an album as like a hippie Wu Tang Clan. Thus The Third Eye was born, a collaborative project recorded over a few years amidst busy lives among 4 individuals from very different walks of life.”
Then there was an album description…which might be handy for you as well…
“Imagine a psychedelic cascade of surreal and cerebral poetry, poured over an urban underbed of alternative hip-hop beats. A little deep, a little dirty, a little sultry, a little goofy; The Third Eye is a bit like what the Grateful Dead would sound like if they fell through a wormhole to an alternate universe, and came out as a groovy rap crew from the Pacific Northwest.”
From there, the details and instructions on how to listen & what we might find got stranger…
“So, please do yourself a favor:
Brew yourself a strong cup of tea, roll yourself a spliff, invite your grandma over, do some stretching in the living room, find yourself a cozy seat, and then throw on this absurd, next level, mind expanding freak fest.”
And perhaps yet, stranger still…
“Peace to all you sweet babies out there, keeping the world beautiful and nebulous. May the sweetness of this nectar feed the inner lotus inside your funk chakra.”
Strange to some I’d imagine, enticing to others. I’ve got a tiny bit of experience that might help me navigate this new collaborative record – I reviewed ¼ of its genetic makeup back in 2016 when we checked out Plaedo’s album Tribal Hop Raptivism…I know enough to know we should all brace ourselves for what’s undoubtedly a full-on trip through wild ideas and knowledge bombs of all kinds. Dude spits it smart, know what I mean? There’s perspective in Plaedo’s rhymes…you might find it skewed, you might completely relate to it – but the bottom line is that he raps with a purpose, and I dig that. So while this record from The Third Eye might have ‘began as a joke’ – I have a feeling it didn’t take long before this whole collective likely realized they were actually onto something much more powerful overall. That even as loose and crazy as they could get on the m-i-c – the charismatic personality, endless confidence, and straight-up capabilities to bring their A-game so consistently were bringing this crew far beyond any joke from where it once began & into a record that really offers depth, dimension, & serious good times.
“The Beginning Is The End (Scratch On You Crazy Diamond Part 1)” gets those chakras aligning and sets the stage for what’s to come by easing you into the wilderness of your mind and enticing you to take that trip with The Third Eye immediately by the clever edits & scratches that have this first intro cut spinning straight into your soul to pull ya in. LISTEN to the texture & tones will ya? Namasteez is bending the sitar tones and bass notes, cuttin’ up them vocal samples, rippin’ up record scratches – all subtly…it’s not until the very end that he’ll kick it into overdrive and give you a bigger taste of what the man is capable of on the decks, but even with it being an intro, the progression of this tune is well thought-out. The ending of “The Beginning Of The End” also provides that perfect step towards the punch of “The Pinecone Prophecy” and that dynamic switch into the first track that features all four.
They start this record out brilliantly and put that art & craft in their words on display immediately as they flow through the strong bars you’ll find on “The Pinecone Prophecy” while also bringing a lot of their purpose, mission, and what drives them to the surface through the spoken-word samples surrounding their words to tie it all together. They dive deep into what The Third Eye is all about here, which of course is a subject that rarely gets discussed without pulling the pineal gland into the mix and, as they do here, DMT as well…these are essential parts of the conversation. I’ll have to type up my own DMT story for ya one day…but to keep it short & sweet, basically the gist is that I’ve never once done any kind of drug or stimulant without first knowing exactly what I’m in for by reading past trip reports and researching what I’m about to be in for. With DMT, almost all the stories you’ll read are fundamentally the same in how they start, producing wildly different results between those daring enough to take the trip – but at the beginning of each story, they almost all start the same way: ‘I thought I was going to die.’ And this coming from those that could handle their shit too, fully knowing that within fifteen minutes or so afterwards, they could stroll right into work if they had to without any issues at all. Yet there I was, taking that first hit, knowing all that, and STILL saying to myself as I slipped away from reality ‘I can’t believe you went out like such a punk’ – and then pretty much all-white blurred vision for me and a blissful state within the ether thereafter until it was done – and I was fine, of course. ANYHOW – “The Pinecone Prophecy” doesn’t actually go too far with that part of the story – you’ll get most of those tie-ins from the samples and a few bars here & there – but it IS a factor, no doubt, within the lives of those behind the m-i-c here. I sincerely doubt this crew is rapping about anything they’re not living and breathing, you feel me? That becomes a real part of the magic in The Third Eye – that’s WHY these tracks all feel like they come out so naturally smooth – because they’ve all got a genuine interest in what they’re rapping about and the art itself…it’s the perfect combination to actually get an artist or collective like this firing at the top of their game from track to track, and they instantly start this trip in a positive direction with “The Pinecone Prophecy” stringing words together so perfectly & precisely to the metering, showing that they’re still in full-control even if tripped way out. Spittin’ with confidence, character, and high-doses of authentic charisma shared between them all, The Third Eye immediately comes out swinging on a stylistically chill cut guaranteed to peak your interest.
Lightening-up the vibe right afterwards, “Psychedelic Service Announcement” puts that more playful aspect of The Third Eye on display while still dropping intense knowledge bombs and insightful rhymes along the way as well. For real – LISTEN to the complexity in the words here and you’ll seriously appreciate just how much these guys actually have it all together. A track like “Psychedelic Service Announcement” really draws from the best of Hip-Hop culture…it’s got that uplifting vibe in the air while still delivering line after line that’s brilliantly constructed and has something real to say to ya. Whether or not it’s a line packing humor or straight-ahead facts, everything you’ll hear comes out backed by such a curious sound supplied by Namasteez supporting it so subtly that you get every opportunity to hear the effort that’s truly been put in here to entertain ya on all-levels. Like…I think the way that this song both starts and ends with such a loose & fun vibe – yet shows just how focused they are in every bar in between, was a freakin’ great way to approach this cut. The words are a freakin’ masterpiece and spit with such impressive doses of high-energy enthusiasm that you can tell they’re all 100% invested in even their craziest ideas, which in many ways, the bizarre-but-playful vibes of “Psychedelic Service Announcement” would qualify to be – but like, damnnnnnnnnn if the art of the wordsmith ain’t on display all the way through this cut, don’t you think? Each set of bars and verses gets progressively better on this third cut from The Third Eye…first one’s good – got the most jokes there, second one’s great – you get the real flow of a wordsmith in action, and the third one to join in the third minute of “Psychedelic Service Announcement” is off the charts cool with how slick these bars sound and the wild speed everything’s being spit at with such accuracy & deadly sound. To some extent, I think this track finds out who’s on their side and who’s not…if you’re sticking with The Third Eye from here, you really hear that skill underneath the jokes and light-hearted approach to this vibe and recognize that the skill in this crew and what they choose to rhyme about is gonna entertain you one way or the other, no prob. Like for myself personally, I loved the ending of this cut and how they drag the harmonica into this whole situation, kicking and screaming, but the way they work it into the mix is seriously smart, fun, and ultimately, it’s clear that harmonica has no business being in The Third Eye on the regular perhaps, but in a moment like this, it’s 100% badass to have included this in the method that they have.
Spittin’ hot FIRE as they get some thangs off their mind and off their chests right out into the open, The Third Eye proceeds to “Burn It Down” on their self-titled record as it continues on. Scorching the earth right from moment one – they’ll go from conspiracy theories to solid facts and blur the lines in between; it becomes about what you do & don’t believe. Is there fluoride in the water? Does Rupert Murdoch control the world? Are nukes hanging over our heads waiting to be dropped? For some people out there, this kinda stuff is a daily reality within the thoughts of their minds – if they’re still lucky enough to be WOKE that is, right homies? The rest of us are already sheeple without even realizing it. So here’s the thing…whether you do/don’t believe in everything they believe in or not, what’s important is that when THEY spit it, that WE believe it – and we totally do here on “Burn It Down” – you can tell they’ve put thought into the details, references, and imagery in the words…that this is genuinely where they’re at and what they authentically think about. As a result, “Burn It Down” comes out fully-loaded with burning passion and relevant points being spit; the second set of bars is likely the most controlled when putting these thoughts over the mic – but LISTEN to the intensity on every set of bars. Just might be that the mid-section keeps it focused & tight, but the surrounding verses get seriously amped up in a great way that contrasts & complements the vibe with a seriously insightful approach. Like, Plaedo’s right out of breath after raising the stakes on the first verse, and the final bars of this cut are spit in much the same way…as if these entertainers are completely spent in their energy & efforts to educate ya. Like I’ve said from the get-go though, they ALL bring something important to the m-i-c and it’s the combination of this entire collective at work that really makes the magic happen in the results of their efforts – they’re all crushin’ “Burn It Down” in their own style as individuals, and making their mark as a group without question due to how much variety & perspective you get from the combination as one.
How badass are the opening bars of “Chenga Jam?” Everything about the way this track finds its feet and stands tall is absolutely killer – the flow on these beginning bars is 100% sick as sick can be. Words are flowing so slickly on “Chenga Jam” you’ll swear they’ve greased each and every syllable to slide right into the mic without hesitation. Overall, I think this was a great example of what the collective as a whole has going on – you’ve got Zen Tempest, Maxwell Davis, and Plaedo handling their business like the professional emcees they are – but you also really get to appreciate what each of the four pillars bring to The Third Eye with each voice on the mic adding its own personality, attitude, and style to the flow, nailing their part on this highly imaginative, colorful, and audibly-enticing Namasteez beat. Flexing his skills on the scratch, Namasteez for the win here – he puts the personality into the music just as much as the emcees do with the microphone on “Chenga Jam” – as far as immediate pull into a song is concerned, this cut brings it right from those first seconds and invites you right in to listen closely. Lyrically, they’ve got their lines here…and you’ll find more than one from each of them that has something brilliant to contribute to this cut – that being said, it might be one of the cuts that drifts more towards a wider range of topics and ideas compared to the way the first tracks focus in more directly on their targets. Nothing wrong with that though…album-wise, it’s more than cohesive overall – highlight bars from Plaedo as well to bring it home on this cut at the end, smart effects on his vocals to add even more of a psychedelic vibe to the whole sound and create a strong finish…they’re all feelin’ the flow of this cut and working the rhythm & flow of their words with exceptional strengths on display.
‘Do you wanna smoke with me?’ – I mean…don’t mind if I do homie, I thought you’d never ask! Excuse me while I consult briefly (extensively, I’m lyin’) with my bong and write the rest of my thoughts out on “10 Weed Shops” here. I swear I never *puff write these reviews *puff stoned but since I was *cough *cough invited to, I mean, I feel like I should *puff *puff *pufffffffffffffffff probably honor their request. Fun fact for those that read on the regular – the real truth is that you would be far less likely to find an article on this site that hasn’t been written in an altered state of mind…if you were able to find any at all. Most people don’t know that…because I can hold a sentence down without errors for the most-part – what can I say other than my man Hunter S. Thompson schooled me well on the man I wanted to be? So on paper, I suppose I look legit enough…but man…if y’all could see me behind the scenes and the cloud of smoke I’m usually sittin’ in…it might just be a whole other story. Sounds like I’ve got competition on that or at least some damn good friends in the mix here – they start this cut by tellin’ ya exactly how much weed is around them on “10 Weed Shops.” I try to keep at least a few strains onhand at all times, but they’ve definitely got me beat there…so make room on the couch homies, I’m bringin’ my bong over to get down wit’ ya. Solid bass-lines give that rubbery bounce and magic to the vibe, smart flute-like melodies soar over top, crisp beat on-point…these emcees have everything they need to succeed in smokin’ their trees and inspire the vibe they’re workin’ with. “10 Weed Shops” is one of the more chill vibes you’ll find on The Third Eye, and it’s got that real G-Funk era sound to the beat, while still bringing in their own genuine style & sound to the mix…quite an impressive combination really. At nearly seven-minutes long, it’s the lengthiest cut on their record – BUT…damn…that vibe is so smooth and this whole track is built to be such a *puff you know, smokin’ *puff *puff anthem & all that it’s like, *cough *puff, hard to resist this tune and like *puffffffffffffffffffffffffffff why would you even want to? Great punch on the bars and emphasis in the words of the flow of this cut that really hit the mark 100%.
It’s all about finding that right vibe and approach to the music that makes everything come together as it should be, you dig? So like…take “Chenga Jam” or “Fairendipities” for example – and LISTEN to how this crew puts themselves in a strong position to succeed by having things start off so strongly in the flow. Namasteez continually plays a huge role with the innovative and inventive beats the dude has come up with – but DAMN has he gotta be happy with what these emcees surrounding him are bringing to the music he’s come up with. “Fairendipties” is absolutely awesome when it comes to the verses…I’m probably 50/50 when it comes to the hooks of the chorus, no complaints really, they’re alright, they work – but for real, in my opinion, no matter how good any hook in the writing of these tracks may be here, or in any song, the real hook that pulls you in is the brilliant amount of character they bring to the mic each time. That being said, I also think that this cut marks a decided shift towards ramping up the material even further as they head into the second half of this record. Lyrically, I think there’s more than a good chance that this is my favorite cut from the collective effort so far…I mean, everything about this track seriously fits the mysterious vibe and puts the art & craft on display when it comes to how they write & deliver bars. Tons of imagination and personality in what The Third Eye does – they can bring it seriously or work in the humor at any time and these tracks roll seamlessly from mood-to-mood with ease from emcee-to-emcee as they pass the mic. The depth of the vibe in the music here from Namasteez again seems to point this crew in the right direction…it’s hazy, it’s wavy, it’s a consistent drift in & out of reality as they stroll through the words of “Fairendipities” – but it really does end up being just as stunning for its composition and clarity just as much as it is wildly entertaining through what they say & how they say it. In some ways, “Fairendipities” comes out sounding more serious overall maybe…but if you’re listening closely, they’ve got great balance between intellectually driven lines and a good mix of humor as well. You might like one side of the personality more than the others perhaps – like for me, it’s all about the second verse of this cut…that’s the vibe right there – but undeniably, they all continue to display what a collective is really all about, and that’s each bringing something unique of their own individually into a whole experience that combines their strengths.
I would definitely be taking a hard look at “Rainy Day Love Song” and everything that’s going RIGHT for this crew here…in fact, I’d be considering whether or not to put this cut out as a single to bring people into this record – it’s a seriously strong cut on this record. Again, serious credit to Namasteez – the dude has outdone himself here with this jazzy cut – the beat & bass-groove of this cut hit the mark without question…you’d have to be stronger than steel to resist this vibe. What I love about The Third Eye – and this applies to this whole record, truly – is that these emcees have ALL brilliantly found the heart of the energy & atmosphere of each of these tracks…they’ll switch between insightfully tight flows and a hazier style that completely mirrors and complements the vibe of “Rainy Day Love Song” with flawless transitions and mic hand-offs between them as they share the space on this cut. But you gotta figure that, with such endlessly gripping vibes pouring out from the lefts & rights & from the mic on this cut, that with the right video – this could end up being a big deal for The Third Eye. Didn’t matter how many times I’ve spun this record this week – and believe me, I went AT IT – “Rainy Day Love Song” continually stood out on those repeat spins every time – it’s a freakin’ genius cut. It shows the poetic style they’ve got, it reveals they can make their material both personal and relatable – and wherever they got that vocal sample for the jazzy hook of the chorus of this cut, like WOW – props to that, perfect addition. It’s cuts like these that really have you appreciating just how tightly this all comes together when they’re all feelin’ the vibe and letting that dictate their energy & flow…subject-wise as well, you can hear these varied directions, styles, and sounds have all had an impact on what they choose to rhyme about – which it should. Like the pros they clearly are, no matter how wild they can get, they’re finding impressive ways to work with the music…and it’s totally because they’ve really honed in on that, they’re consistently coming up with ways to make a bold impression, even on a track as smooth & chill as you’ll find like “Rainy Day Love Song.” People will remember this tune – it stands out in all the right ways without seeming like it’s making any effort at all to get in your face about it…you just start slippin’ right into the hazy vibe and atmosphere of this cut without any hesitation…and then ya just wanna stay there.
The ONLY thing that might stop me from putting out “Rainy Day Love Song” as the single right away would probably be the track that follows it, “Sacred Snow” – which is pretty much built to be a hit from moment one. There’s an undeniably bright & beautiful energy in the music & beat of this cut, and as we’d expect at this point from The Third Eye, this whole crew of emcees make the magic happen on the mic to suit this uplifting style & sound bang-on. In terms of accessibility, in terms of what’s relevant for the right here & now of music, in terms of hooks that have crossover appeal – “Sacred Snow” gives you all that & more…I highly approve of this whole vibe and would be willing to guarantee the people out there will be feelin’ this remarkably chill & smooth joint they’ve got goin’ on here. Essentially the last track you’ll hear before the final exit from the album that mimics the way this whole story began on “The End Is The Beginning” to follow – The Third Eye has used this last moment on the m-i-c perfectly. I ain’t gonna lie…I’m pretty damn addicted to this cut myself – it’s hard to resist a cut like this that has such a bulletproof & positive sound to it…you feel refreshed by the approach they’ve taken to this finale – it’s a blissfully uplifting vibe they’ve created on “Sacred Snow.” We ALL love a snow day don’t we? They capitalize on that dreamy feeling of “Sacred Snow” coming to save your day from the 9-5 and just let you be how you wanna be, doin’ whatever it is you love doin’ most…you put this on as your soundtrack to that moment in time and you’ve got yourself a perfect one. Tip a cup or two and celebrate with The Third Eye on “Sacred Snow” – these rhymes are all about good-times, the music is insanely awesome, the main hooks are freakin’ gorgeous – and every emcee, Plaedo, Zen Tempest, and Maxwell Davis all prove one last time together that this decision to house all their talents & skills on one record was one incredibly smart idea. Namasteez as well of course too…that dude’s essential.
You can call me crazy all ya damn well wanna – I love what Namasteez has been doing throughout this whole record musically…and it’s because of this that “The Beginning Is The End (Scratch On You Crazy Diamond Part 1)” and “The End Is The Beginning (Scratch On You Crazy Diamond Part 2)” are both important parts of this whole experience and album. I mean, I’ve tripped so hard in this lifetime that I’ve been that kid with his whole face pressed up against the speakers trying to absorb every note & tone of songs like these in my lifetime…and they’ll likely have me being that dude again in the future at points when listening to this record again – there’s so much supreme texture and tone in the intro/outro of this record that you just wanna eat it like an audible edible. They’ve definitely got something magical happening in The Third Eye…these are four pillars of strength flexing every muscle from the mic to the music…I’m not just excited about this record, I’m excited for everything they’ll go on to do from here on in and definitely hope this collaborative effort continues on just as strong as it is here.
Listen to The Third Eye at Bandcamp here: https://thethirdeye.bandcamp.com