United Statements Presents – Truth Hurts – Album Review
If there’s a crew we’ve come to know pumps out quality rhythms & rhymes – it’s the posse of talent housed over there under the umbrella of United Statements. Some of you regular readers will no doubt recognize one of these emcees by name from our pages in the past – Eon MC Etc. – who incidentally, went on to secure a nomination to our top-ten list back in 2017 for his record Southern L.O. and for good reason, the dude’s a mic slayer. Our ears have been on Eon MC Etc. and his homies in United Statements even longer than that – we jumped on this bandwagon back in 2016 with the release of the record Fighting Demons, which also featured the finesse & flow of Adduci, who’s featured on this new record Truth Hurts as well. If I’m not mistaken…we also get introduced to a couple emcees/artists we haven’t had up here on the pages from the United Statements crew, with Eon MC Etc. and Adduci being joined by MC Learic and Bamboo MC on Truth Hurts. Game recognize game, as they say y’all – you can bet that anyone connected with this whole empire of talent can bring it to the bars & beats – that’s facts; I ain’t biased – I’ve listened to this record & it endlessly jams with REAL Hip-Hop from wall-to-wall.
The man we know best starts up the show, Truth Hurts begins with a pensive & thought-provoking mix of perfect beats and powerful vocal samples on the “Intro” – exposing the raw vein that runs through the theme of much of this record. For reals though – this is entirely interesting to my ears, right from the get-go…the amount of chilled-out sound & smooth vibes in this one cut alone warrants listening to this record – for being an “Intro” & all, what you’re actually going to find is a cut that you continually want to turn UP. Eon MC Etc. has designed a wickedly artistic & poignant beginning to this record that smoothly sets the stage for what’s to come, allowing for the first main track on the album, “Everest” to make an immediate impact by raising the energy & stakes from the “Intro” & get this crew climbing quickly to the top of your playlists with the set-list you’ll find contained on Truth Hurts. Eon MC Etc. will take on the first set of bars on this next mountain as the full crew steps up to pass the mic and demonstrate the full strength & potential of this unit combining forces as one. Adduci makes his first appearance since the last time we heard him back in 2016 on Fighting Demons – and THIS is a voice we’re always stoked to hear return to the mic & our speakers – ain’t no doubt that he brings his own wild personality to every cut we’ve ever heard him on, “Everest” is no exception to that golden rule. Bamboo MC & MC Learic take this track to the end and reveal the balance you’ll find between the strengths of each emcee, on a cut that displays the full scope of what they can bring to the game between them. Stoked on the beat, stoked on what all four rappers pour into the mic – from the words to the music, everything you’ll hear with pique your interest & have you feelin’ the vibe of Truth Hurts.
MC Learic makes his presence KNOWN through a confident non-stop flow through the rhymes he’s rippin’ in the “Freestyle Interlude ’12.” The first of multiple short-cuts that seem to contain a date or number attached to them…even from the sound of the cut itself, it’s safe to say that they’re mining some gold out of the past here. Like for real – whoever caught this performance from MC Learic essentially caught lightning in a bottle here – dude sets it OFF on the mic – and you can hear from the slight voices in the background that he was making an impression at the time of for sure. No doubt that this performance holds up strong to this very day…and so the legend prevails, preserved on this record.
I’d be taking a serious look at “Bored To Death” as a lead-single to be the gateway into this record for the masses out there – this is electrifying, real, authentic, old-school-inspired, tried, tested, & true Hip-Hop. SLICK gentlemen…straight-up, I don’t see how the people out there would even stand a chance against resisting this vibe, nor would I even comprehend why anyone would wanna – “Bored To Death” is completely my jam and I can pretty much guarantee it’ll be yours too. Displaying serious finesse, they effortlessly share the mic on this cut, right in the thick of the flow & feelin’ it, transitioning with supreme confidence & precision. “We’re livin in the era of the wack-ass emcee” – LISTEN to the words y’all, because United Statements are callin’ out the rest while putting their skills all-in against the best of the best in ways that seriously stack up. All of what they’re railing against…what they point out is absent from much of the Hip-Hop being made out there today, they make sure to bring in full-force – I mean, they couldn’t preach it if they couldn’t really bring it right? “Bored To Death” proves this crew can create seriously catchy material that is capable of weaving humor in & making multiple relevant points that would make people think…but like…without HATIN’ on the fact that they’re thinkin’ – you feel me? United Statements put their insight & knowledge into their rhymes in highly-accessible & welcome ways.
Flexing lyrical muscle, they keep the bars sharp & smooth as they slickly move through “On The Road.” As I’ve maintained from the get-go, this entire crew is fully-loaded with undeniable talent – back-to-back, “Bored To Death” and “On The Road” one after the other is bound to be a serious highlight moment in this set of tunes for a whole bunch of listeners out there. Musically, they’ve put incredible sounds & styles of music into this record’s lineup of songs, and “On The Road” is definitely included in that – for as subtle as this track is, it remains remarkably intense by the way all four emcees deliver and the vocal-samples surrounding them. While I’d still be much more in support of a cut like “Bored To Death” being the choice as a single, it’s tracks like “On The Road” that might best represent & reveal what this crew is capable of on an even deeper level. Smart assembly & structure, flawless beat & vibe – and emcees that are “makin’ STATEMENTS bitches” – you can take that to the bank, they certainly are – tracks like “On The Road” spotlight the high-level of thought, talent, & innovation they bring to Hip-Hop.
Adduci takes on “Time” solo, rockin’ a spoken-word cut in under a minute-ten, bringing a completely rad dimension to this record and taking it in a poetic & artistic direction, with completely rad old-timey-style music in the background to help make the magic happen on this short & impressive twist on Truth Hurts. With the mix on the vocals…and the brilliance of the lyrics here, enhanced totally by the way that Adduci gets these words bouncing off the atmosphere…it’s tracks like this that make me love the creativity you’ll find in art-music combos…you get subtle highlights like this that come out entirely unpretentious and real. I dig “Time” – I get that it’s not like, maybe meant to be a main-staple of the record & all at just over a minute-long total…but a lot of these cuts are super-short like this, and they ALL contribute.
Like listen to how the chill vibes of “Time” allow Eon MC Etc. to make an extra impact as he pumps up the party-vibe on “Big Bang” and brings the energy surging back to the record with a beat that’s wildly accessible and single-worthy. The continually impressive flow on the mic from this emcee sounds as reliable as ever and the vibrant hooks in both the music & vocals come out strong, confident, and highly-memorable. “Big Bang” has a brightness & charm that people will completely dig on – Eon MC Etc. is spittin’ out his words exactly as he wants to spit’em, sayin’ exactly what’s on his mind…and in the case of this particular cut, it gives it a rad authenticity listeners will connect with. That X-factor, if ya will.
Then Adduci be all like, YO – you want personality on the mic? HOLD MY BLUNT. Then goes on to crush bars on “Ignite Interlude ’07” in another short cut, completely different style than the last one he was on, but once again a massive victory for this emcee, record, and crew all-around. “Ima give you an earful” – Adduci makes good on his promise here, lighting up the mic and gettin’ straight WILD with the bars, maxing a maximum impact within a minute & ten seconds, pumping up the charisma through the roof with the spark & character he brings to “Ignite Interlude ‘07” – it’s short, but still a highlight, 100%.
“I got the taste of happiness to know what heartbreak meant.” The next track, “The Difficult Part” puts the posse back together in full-effect, all four emcees on the mic, handlin’ their business with style & swagger that would rival Jurassic 5. Great editing on the beat & throwback vibes gets this tale of life & love gliding off on all the right notes…Eon MC Etc. eases you in, weaving his words effortlessly through the smooth sound of “The Difficult Part.” Adduci steps in to add in his own experiences – and you get the idea from there forward, each of these emcees will give ya a taste of what “The Difficult Part” was like for them personally…because y’all know it – like/love and the balance between definitely ain’t always easy. MC Learic puts that flexible flow right into the mic with confidence, struttin’ with vocal swagger & thrivin’ on the mic. There are cuts on this album where you can really hear these four emcees join forces and focus-in – “The Difficult Part” is definitely one of’em – each of these verses contribute to an overall concept and greater set of ideas, thoughts, and insights on all this relationship & love-stuff. Individually, they’re all sayin’ somethin’ – but together, they’ve given you a case study.
“Karma” sounds deadly right from the drop…this catches EARS y’all – the beat has pure charisma and these emcees make the most of the bars at every moment. Bamboo MC comes out gunning, armed with lyrical knowledge-bombs, handing it off to the magnetic pull of Adduci on the mic next, Eon MC Etc. flexes rhythm and flow like you wouldn’t believe, and MC Learic takes this cut home confidently – all forces combine here, proving yet again, when they’re united as one, no crew can touch the skill-level & talent you’ll find in United Statements. Highlight performance from Bamboo MC for sure – he starts “Karma” with a gripping turn at the m-i-c, backed up by a beastly sound from deep down below – keep your ear on this cut because all-that creativity enhances what they bring to “Karma.” Adduci, sharp AF, the dude puts in WORK on this cut, making sure the standards don’t drop from where Bamboo MC set’em, handing off to a supercharged rhythm & flow from Eon MC Etc. – you can hear from pass to pass that every emcee on this track knew the potential for this cut and made sure to bring IT. MC Learic anchors this cut like the last runner of a relay team sprinting to a victory – massively impressed by the complexity of the lyrics and the way they make this cut continually stand out in a vibrant way of its own, even on a record like this full of outstanding material.
Tracks like “Chitterlings Interlude ‘01” add that artistic dimension to this record, similar to how “Time” did, but like, in the completely opposite style. A lot of the difference here, aside from the obvious ways each cut is different in sound & overall approach to the bars, is from the choice of production on “Chitterlings Interlude ‘01” – it’s textures like this and quick minute-plus tracks they’ve got on this album that bring a ton of character & depth to Truth Hurts. The distant sound of this cut brings you in close to listen…and in my opinion, the decidedly unique way a cut contributes to a record like this greatly assists its movement like a mix-tape. Is it a single? No, of course not – but it’s not designed to be; like the frame of your house, a record needs a solid foundation – tracks like the short minute-long cuts on Truth Hurts are the concrete mix of what holds this album together as it switches gears in sound & style.
Being a fan of the old-school, you can definitely believe I get into “No Place Like Home” – because this is the sound, the style, the roots, spit with conviction & high-doses of deserved confidence. Minimalist beat, emcees that can carry the weight…words that make an impact through swagger & lyrical prowess…it’s a lot more traditional & classic in that sense, but it’s certainly a strong tune that gets the personality of each member in the spotlight. I do think there’s an element or two of this cut not quite having the full-smoothness or more forced than you’ll find in the majority of the other tracks on Truth Hurts, but there’s still zero doubt about “No Place Like Home” being well-worth your time. At the end of the day, they’re mixing plenty of mayhem & menace into this dark-alley vibe, flexing yet another dimension of sound on the record and adding in a real soulful hook to the chorus of this cut. Definitely highlight moments for sure…but you’ll hear the occasional clash between the music & vocals that can be a bit distracting at times…like at the end of this track’s final verses, you’ll hear some of the most impressive speed & skill on the mic that you’ll find on ANY song on Truth Hurts…and there’s a chance that a bit of the impact that could be made there is gettin’ lost in the mix or buried in the contrast of the music alongside it all. Still a rad tune in many ways – but in terms of attention to detail & a smooth ride from start to finish, “No Place Like Home” was missing a bit of the maximum potential it could reach.
Even in their inboxes the United Statements are receivin’ love y’all! Listen to “Voicemail Interlude” for further evidence of that. So there you have it, right there in an audio-recording, full proof that it ain’t just me in this crew’s corner – they’ve got love comin’ in for what they do from all over the place and justifiably so. The amount of killer lines & lyrics & knowledge-bombs these four emcees drop all over this record has been endlessly impressive…so don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to have further confirmation here on “Voicemail Interlude” – but the dude ain’t gonna tell ya anything I haven’t been SHOUTING OUT about already yo!
Man. Sometimes…I tell ya…when these guys find a beat that inspires them, you can definitely feel it. “Keep Pushin’” is a solid example…this is music that leaps from your speakers. Eon MC Etc. actually ends up keepin’ this one professionally controlled…he’s out to inspire through the words, and he makes sure every moment of his vocals & message are heard as clearly as possible here, in a sincere effort to inspire YOU to get out there & do what you gotta do. “Your dreams don’t care if you’re tired” – like, for real y’all – never a truer word spoken as far as my ears & experience are concerned – so get after it y’all! United Statements are a crew of wordsmiths with extremely capable talents – hearing them use that for the greater-good as often as they do, “Keep Pushin,’” included – is always inspiring. “What you waiting for – ideal circumstances?” “When you gonna realize everything that you need is inside yourself?” I could quote this soulfully creative & inspiring cut ALL DAY LONG folks – how much time you got? Damn good chance I make “Keep Pushin’” my morning anthem for the rest of my LIFE folks – this is a lesson on how to go about seizing the moment and gettin’ your best into the life you’re leading – pay attention.
“Outta Control” is another killer example of the beat taking this crew right over in all the right ways, inspiring the full-collective to come out with one of their most amped-up anthems you’ll find on Truth Hurts. The DRUMS in this cut…I meannnnnnnnnnn…I don’t have to tell these guys how off-the-charts awesome this beat is – not only is it seriously sonically INCREDIBLE, but it’s actually highly, highly unique. When you consider the amount of straight-ahead beats & minimalism out there these days, hearing something as involved as this and how it brings out such an electrifying performance from the entire crew…like…I know the phrase ‘less is more’ is a thing & all, but “Outta Control” proves the opposite is equally true. Sometimes MORE is MORE – and “Outta Control” shows you that’s the case with single-worthy sound comin’ atcha at all times – this song is STUFFED with entertainment and like an audibly ticking time-bomb of awesomeness, ready to detonate as they surge into the chorus, every time. Like truly great Hip-Hop – it’s the VERSES that keep you as engaged and on the edge of your seat on “Outta Control” overall – ain’t no doubt they set FIRE to the chorus, but LISTEN to the true statement each emcee is making on this cut with the confident tones of voice & sharp verbal skills they cut this up with.
Gut tells me they pushed it just a bit too far with “Word Interlude ‘98” – performance is good, production is a much tougher argument to make here with this one, it’s a bit on the blown-out side. I appreciate the idea behind bringing these moments back & all…but there’s no doubt that the sound of this cut detracts from the rest of the record and that United Statements make a questionable call in including this track on Truth Hurts, no matter how good that flow may be (and is).
“Don’t laugh – I’ve never been more serious.” – word homie, sounds like it! “These four flow veterans stay ahead of the trend” on their title-track…and that’s facts, for sure – this is another wicked example of the full array of talent on display and the insightful way the combine skill & messages into their art & craft. “Truth Hurts” reveals a cut with the depth, magnitude, and ambitions of a title-worthy track – and together they bring this one to its full potential. Lyrically, they’ve completely nailed it here once again – this is the sound of four focused emcees, all unified in their vision and set on what they wanted to communicate and accomplish with the album’s centerpiece. SO STOKED on what I hear in this one – when United Statements zero-in on what they really want to say like they do here, and you hear how each individual rapper’s contribution complements the others and suits the strengths of the overall song – again, they put skills on display that show true respect for the old-school while reminding you constantly that they can’t be beat today through the passion they put into every word they write & spit.
I believe…if these credits are any indication, United Statements bring out two more emcees in the final cut from Truth Hurts, “Sodie With A Free Straw Outtro,” with T Diddy & Oedavoice making an appearance. And…hmmm…alright…okay…where am I at with this one? I’ll put it to you this way – I’ve pretty much ALWAYS got time for a track like this that wants to start wild’n’out lyrically and thematically…it’s clear they’re out to liven things up at the end of this album. Does it belong on this particular record? There is definitely a debate to be had about that…as much as I like it, as much as “Sodie With A Free Straw Outtro” makes my eyebrows continually raise-up to the ceiling with genuine ‘wait…did he just say what I think he said’ entertainment…I’m honestly not so sure that this final track might not take away a bit from what’s been accomplished beforehand. I wouldn’t say that Truth Hurts has been punishingly serious overall…but it is a serious record…or at the very least, more serious than what this final track seems to contribute to the lineup. So while you do get a good introduction to the personalities of T Diddy & Oedavoice at the end here…I have the feeling it might have been suited for a better time & this cut could have had a better opportunity as a single or as part of the next record. There’s a couple head-scratching decisions when it comes to what made the final lineup here – the vast majority is bangin’ and shows United Statements are still fully at the top of their game when it comes to their skills and songs…now it’s all about tightening that up even further and keeping that full-record’s cohesion intact…if that’s the overall goal. If it’s to help introduce the next-generation of United Statements, then hey, right on – I’m all for it & mission accomplished…I have the feeling a few people out there will question the ending of Truth Hurts with “Sodie With A Free Straw Outtro” – they could be wild’n’outside of the lines here in these final moments, you feel me? But at the end of the day, the strength of the material that runs through the core & majority of this record will keep’em coming back.
Find more music from United Statements at Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/unitedstatements
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