Ice Grill – “The Book Of Life” Feat. AZ – Single Review
Plenty of skill & potential in the music & rhymes from Ice Grill of Rochester, New York; like many excellent writers out there, he’s kept this one close to what he knows and has put an immense amount of detail and imagery into the words of his new single “The Book Of Life” from the upcoming record #BlackChalk2. It sounds gritty, sounds raw, sounds REAL…and I appreciate that when listening to this kind of cut with a dangerous & menacing sound to the atmosphere. Ice Grill puts much confidence & conviction into his words – and you can hear it in his tone and approach; you can hear that hunger of an emcee that’s ready to start stormin’ with lyrical-guns blazin’ ready to claim his moment in time. Armed with the beat produced by DJ M-80 and enlisting the assistance of fellow homie AZ on the mic – there’s lots working in favor of Ice Grill’s new cut, “The Book Of Life.”
For starters – the wordplay, structure and metering are all dead-on. What I really liked was that the words themselves are complicated, complex & thought-provoking yes – but the fact that these emcees are choosing such impressive wordage and fitting it all into the rhyme-scheme & timing is really what makes this cut work. Ice Grill & AZ work with tone, attitude & charisma within each syllable as opposed to always seeking out words that rhyme together one after the other – and the end result in listening to a verbal composition like that ends up being really enticing to the ears. “The Book Of Life” finds the majority of its strength through the mic with both key vocalists trading verses and delivering impressively on their bars; you can hear the genuine connection to the words in the way they sound as they come out. Whether in the flows of the verse or the hook of the chorus, “The Book Of Life” keeps the movement rolling along with dynamic versatility in the words and clever choices, instincts and confidence dominating the atmosphere at every possible turn.
That being said…almost too confident! You gotta admit, this collaboration isn’t holding back whatsoever and this song is a LARGE one when it comes to its sound and overall idea. I’ve had several spins through “The Book Of Life” at this point…and that low-end is just BARELY under the cap of the red Mr. DJ M-80 sir! I have the suspicion that the slight distortion we hear at times throughout the track are more of an edge/effect that’s being applied to the vocals and not actually within the music itself – just keep in mind to the average music-listener, effects like this can often be misheard as rough production. From my own personal perspective, this one was right on the line…after many listens that slight peaking was something I found I always heard in the mix, but not something I felt truly hurt the idea or song overall. Aside from potentially dialing the settings on either the low-end rumble or the threshold on the mic-effects to even it out just a bit more, I’ve got no complaints about what I hear; the beat is tight, charismatic and entertaining – enormous in its ambition and would certainly be a tough cut to mix. DJ M-80’s done a competent and capable job here reigning it in as much as possible for the most-part in my opinion…again, I think you can hear the majority of the cut comes through clearly, which is what leads me to think it’s either a vocal-effect or potentially even like, a record-scratch sample that we hear on occasion throughout “The Book Of Life.”
Bottom line is the idea is intact, the skills are on display and the words come out incredibly real and sincere – but let me explain what I mean by that. Even on personal cuts like this, emcees tend to lose their cool and overstate their abilities, exaggerate their stories or start wild’n’out lyrically, losing their focus along the bars of a track – but you won’t find that here with Ice Grill’s writing. “The Book Of Life” contains a ton of impressive rhymes, but nothing that leaves reality or affects that suspension of disbelief…what he & AZ are rapping about are real experiences and objective observations on the world they’re living in – and I think it’s that kind of confident subtly that people will respond to & connect with. Ice Grill’s found insightful ways of making reality entertaining – and really, at the core of the rhyme’s message and center – that’s exactly what he’s done with this song, chapter & verse.
Find out more about Ice Grill and stay connected on the details of the upcoming album #BlackChalk2 at the pages below!
Twitter: @icegrill585 @DjM80
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