Eon MC Etc. – Southern L.O. – Album Review
United Statements presents Eon MC Etc.’s new record Southern L.O. – and for that, we thank them. Seriously…all hands/ears on-deck and involved…anyone from a head nod of approval to professional assistance…you all deserve a round of applause for bringing Southern L.O. to fruition. Full-props of course to the main-star of the show, Eon MC Etc. who has already flexed an incredible amount of skill on the mic in the past and put lyricism at the forefront of his focus…it’s a known thing around the studio here that when this guy drops a record, it’s a record truly worth listening to.
And that’s because this guy seriously has SO MUCH to say…the name says it all – Eon MC Etc. – this guy’s lyrical-skills, talent and style are straight-up infinite, immeasurable and damn-near otherworldly. How he fits in everything that must be going on in his mind onto a single record must be an impossible task – but I’ll take what I can get without a doubt. Eon MC Etc. moves through immense ideas and grounded material that reflects on society…on the personal…on the music-scene – and it all comes through sounding impressively real, precise and sharply on-point & relatable. Almost all of it…I MIGHT think one of these tracks is straight out-to-lunch and I MIGHT have beef with Eon MC Etc. somewhere along the lines of this record…MAYBE. You’ll have to read-on to know for sure…
Beef certainly don’t come from the first track – this much I can tell you. I was set on this being a solid candidate for record of the year from the moment I heard the beat kick-in on “Criminal Manifesto” and Eon MC Etc. shouting out a lyrical-threat: “Yo – I heard you got bars. I got soap.” It was a quick familiar hit of the signature attitude, insight and approach you can expect from Eon MC Etc. and I was hooked right back into the world as he sees it. Twisting and turning through tales of what it takes to survive the grind – the vocabulary comes roaring through the mic as he keeps the verse sharply loaded with imagery & genuine swag you can hear in the intensity of Eon MC Etc.’s words. As impressed as I was with the precision wordsmith once again – I’ll fully admit to being equally impressed with the beats themselves. “Criminal Manifesto” is wildly clever and creative in its composition and gives the emcee a really unique canvas to work with – and he makes the most of every moment, right off the bat on Southern Lo.
The music also keeps-up solidly as “Fire” starts blazin.’ Another wild idea that works a seriously hypnotic groove both musically and lyrically; Eon MC Etc.’s behind the mix in a few spots of this tune…which I think might mask some of the words a bit too much for some, for others they’ll appreciate the rest of what’s going-on in the mix during those times. For the most-part, he’s right up front with what he’s got to say…that verse around just past the second minute is the most affected with the sample coming in just a bit too hot for the surrounding vocals to compete – BUT…there’s also something to be said for the way that Eon comes out of the mix on the other side of it once it’s finished. He sounds incredible once the sample ends and delivers ferociously right to the end. The main-hook of “Fire” is one of those hooks that makes more impact over time and repetition…I think it’s certainly strong enough for the handful of times I’ve heard it already, but I have the feeling my brain will be revisiting this hook time & time again as the year rolls on.
Where the REAL hooks in the music Eon MC Etc. makes are consistently, are in the consistently amazing, highly-stylistic streams of words he ties together in the verses he writes. Clarity is key to separating the men from the boys when it comes to the rap-game – and this emcee is one that knows that, understands that…THRIVES in that world. You can hear every word out of this guy’s mouth and everything you hear sounds entirely impressive. The beat on “Southern L.O.” is another inventive and creative one…definitely excited about the amount of definition I’ve heard in the music on this record. The simplified hook in the chorus is perfect for this cut and creates a real anthem for the people – but MAN…Eon MC Etc. just SLAYS the mic on this track bar-after-bar with real attitude, character and skill on display in every syllable. As impressive as everything in “Southern L.O.” is throughout its first three-minutes – hang the fuck on because this track is about to hit the gas and leave you in the rearview if you ain’t ready to ride with it. A highlight example of Eon MC Etc.’s most extreme flow – again, you can hear EVERY word, no matter how quickly he raps – he’s a master of confidence, precision and making sure that when he steps up to the mic, you hear what he’s got to say. Rolling through bar after bar – the hooks in Eon MC Etc.’s music all come down the roots of that confidence; he hasn’t stepped out of place once and kept everything we’ve heard on this record moving at a highly creative pace that should really be putting pressure on the rest of the emcees out there to raise their game if they wanna compete.
I mean…he put a grin as deep as a hammock right in the middle of my face when “Elevate” started. The words are one thing…but again…the MUSIC has been equally impressive the entire way through and “Elevate” is a HUGE WIN. I’d never recommend blocking out Eon MC Etc.’s words…but just try it for a brief moment and listen to the complexity, minimalism and clever structure that leads this cut to being a true example of innovation. All the elements that combine to create this cut…I bet if you laid them all out to a person one at a time and said, ‘I’m gonna use these sounds’ and played them all individually…that whomever listening might just say ‘yeah – good luck with that’ and get up to leave. That being said – what makes this music so successful and satisfying to the ears is the incredible ability to sequence and edit these sounds to just the right places in times; “Elevate” has huge contrast, pulse, definition and texture as it plays and it’s definitely a pleasure to the ears. The natural rhythm and melody that Eon MC Etc. finds for the words he’s written in the verse of this song absolutely blows my mind – amazing to listen to and full-proof of his verbal skillset. Was fifty-fifty on the main-hook of the chorus at first…but I dunno…something about the looseness to the approach there contrasting with the tightness you find in the verse seemed to work for me. It matches the lyrics and energy switch in the music really well…it sounds like the ‘release’ it’s intended to be in my opinion…I dig the inclusion of the R&B-vibe put into the atmosphere of “Elevate.”
Coming out strong with the hook of “Where They Do That At?” breaking into some of the best verses and clear descriptions of the history behind Eon MC Etc.’s personal life growing up. Everything about this track is INTENSE – the verse is supercharged and even the anthem-chant of the chorus sounds like the whole place is going to break-out of that chant and go storm the capital – this track gets me AMPED! Lyrically one of the most impressive on the record – I find myself continually impressed bar-after-bar with the skills and talent that Eon MC Etc. has…like…emcees really just can’t compete with this guy. Beefing-up his ideas even further and drawing himself out even further creatively – listen to the way that “Where They Do That At?” evolve and shift into something even more incredible on the inside of its final minute – Eon MC Etc. loosens-up the intensity and puts real soul into the final moments of this cut and MAN does it work! The pacing, structure and layout of this track was the blueprint for success and Eon MC Etc. came prepared & ready to execute – everything is going right for him here on “Where They Do That At?” from the moment it begins and it never lets up. That final switch constantly hit home for me every time I heard it though, gotta admit…right at the 3:05 mark the whole mix begins to swirl like an audible LSD-trip in one of the most genius moves I’ve heard in a song this year, no questions. Huge finale on “Where They Do That At?” – it’s just damn brilliant no matter which part you examine.
Be the change you want to see in the world – that’s what ‘they’ say right? Lead by example, ‘they’ say. Well – if it’s a leader you’re looking for, Eon MC Etc. has put his application in with “Coulda Been.” Now…understand that I’m in the fortunate position whereby exceptional tunes are something that come my way frequently…so lyrically, I’ve never really felt like there hasn’t been anything out there for me to listen to. Immersed in the amazingly diverse and creative ideas of the independent music-scene in all genres – it’s hard for me to ever get behind there not being ‘enough’ of anything good out there. That being said…lyrically, he’s 100% nailed how he sees the genre in particular – and I think he’s put forth incredibly valid insights, observations and view-points in looking at the rap-game as it’s changed over time. With one of the most poignant examples you’ll ever find on a record – listen to the switch in the flow right around 1:25…because THAT my friends…is a freakin’ brilliant move right there is what that is. For a moment…you might be taken-in before you’re in on the joke…I’ll fully admit, as soon as it started I had a huge smile on my face once again – half of it was in disbelief that he’d switch it up to a trap-style just to make the point, the other half was from listening to how easy he makes it all sound. Compared to the bars and bars of complexity Eon MC Etc. has spit over the course of his career already – what else could trap BE other than a complete joke to this highly proficient emcee? Even when he’s doing his best to mimick the trap-style, Eon comes through about a million times more clearly than any of the rest in the genre because he just can’t sink that low – his talent won’t allow it. “Coulda Been” delivers on its point and message by being about as direct as music can possibly get; the music is smooth, clean and widely-accessible…another great combination of real hip-hop and soul fusing together in the chorus. Overall…he makes incredible points throughout this song on the state of rap in general…as positive as I might try to remain about the independent music-scene – I can certainly understand where he’s coming from if I turn my attention to what’s happening in the mainstream at any given moment in any genre. Anyhow…I’m sure you get the point – “Coulda Been” was easily one of my favorite tunes on this record; the rebound into the flow and roll of his verse coming out of the trap-segment immediately prove that articulation, creativity and style will always be more satisfying to listen to – genius execution on this cut.
Hear a true-wordsmith putting out the confidence from the lefts & rights on the short but essential track “I Am Legend” – ‘he don’t write bars, he writes songs’ – and this is all the proof you need; there’s barely a bar on this two-minute cut that doesn’t have the blazing stamp of a verbal beatdown making an impact. From the moment Eon MC Etc. grabs the mic, he starts spittin’ and rhymin’ with no intention other than to finish out the length of this entire cut. Focused, hungry, determined and exuding a controlled-intensity; the grip he has on his talents & skills have led him to victory at every turn. “I Am Legend” is a gritty track that sounds every bit as menacing & threatening as it does innovative as it grinds out an organ/percussion-led melody that is once again unique and captivating to listen to & bang-on the money for being attention-grabbing in all the right ways to the ears. Short spans continue to serve him well on “Hollywood Heist” – which being so massively different from everything else we’ve heard completely stands-out even at just two-minutes in length. No question about the ability Eon MC Etc. has for establishing a memorable impact in two-minutes or less – this song is bound to stick right to your chin to the point where you might just need a Kleenex or two to clean yourself off afterwards. I freakin’ LOVED this cut…the jazzy nature of the music, the off-the-wall & free-spirited performance on the way into this song before Eon MC Etc. puts on an audible clinic of what real hip-hop music is truly all about. Everything about these two short cuts back-to-back absolutely hit the mark – but I gotta hand the Oscar to “Hollywood Heist” for best performance – it’s so entirely different from the rest, loaded with humor and buckets of skill – what the hell is not to love about this track? Lyrically this track is so damn sick he had me holding my stomach laughing or raising curious eyebrows to the rafters of the studio as it played – unreal lines flowing so fluidly that you’ll want to listen to this one over and over to make sure you catch it all.
So…I hinted that we might have some beef somewhere along the lines didn’t I? It’s been so quiet on the beef-front and nothing but genuine love for an amazing record so far right? Well…we’re not done yet…because here at the end of the record, you can hear the sound of “Thunder Up, Yeah!” cracking the walls of this perfect-fortress of an album just slightly…
…because wait one hell of a minute here…am I missing something here or is this track not designed to be an anthem of the Oklahoma City Thunder? I mean…don’t get me wrong…the track’s pretty damn good and puts the same amount of passion and precision you’d expect from Eon MC Etc. right on the mic at center-court…but like…OKC? Homie? Sir? How on earth is a bearded man like myself supposed to be able to support this track when I bleed red for the Houston Rockets and the REAL MVP of the league Mr. James ‘the beard’ Harden right now? His main ‘competition’ in the running for MVP is of course OKC’s Russell Westbrook…and anyone that knows the history between them knows that this is truly a battle for all-time…I seriously hope they end up playing each other in the playoffs somewhere down the line just to set the record straight once & for all!
Because even though I’m assuming OKC will have adopted “Thunder Up, Yeah!” as their official team anthem and be super-charged and ready for the game…because that simply makes sense for them to do; but I promise ya…no matter how good this song truly is, even with its Mr. T vocal-sample…you can’t keep a good beard down for long. So “Thunder Up, Yeah!” all you like homie – we’ll be seeing you on the court real soon and it’s gonna take a lot more than Westbrook to rumble the Rocks, best believe it.
Of course this is all in good fun…just passing out a hard time cause that’s what I do best. Reality is – this album is high-level entertainment at every possible turn from its first track to its last. The idea of OKC beating the Rockets might be like nails on a chalkboard to me…but even I’d admit “Thunder Up, Yeah!” is one hell of an anthem and a great way to end what’s been another wicked set of tracks from one of the most reliable, skilled & talented MC’s we know of out there in the independent music-scene today.
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