Throughout the past few years, there have been few record labels that are synonymous with rap/hip-hop music. Beatmart Recordings, fronted by producer Todd Collins, is a fairly young label that joined the short list of indie hip hop-specific record labels.
Now, knowing full well of Todd Collins' work with KJ-52, TobyMac, and many other artists, I expected this record label to be near phenomenal. Todd has a way of really knowing talent when he sees it, just like Toby has with Gotee Records. However, after a few listens to this new two-man rap group, picked up by Todd himself, I sadly have my doubts.
Fresh Digress' debut album is, in a word, odd. Starting off with an intro that totally mimics KJ-52's Soul Purpose radio show skit, along with announcers that continually get the group's name wrong, they say "Basically we're here to make hip-hop fun again." Well they may have tried, but they basically made me scared of what else Beatmart has to offer.
The entire album is full of party songs, which to some extent is okay. The beats are decent on occasion, but that isn't necessarily enough to carry a song. Tracks like "Brr! It's Cold" include somewhat of a good message, but also bear an annoying chorus that consists of "Brr! It's cold out side, everybody come in!" over and over, and a man whining/rapping about it being cold. Fresh Digress' major problem with almost every song is that each one has a strikingly brief chorus that is repeated a few too many times. In addition, the lyrics lack almost any substance at all, with the best coming in the form of witnessing Christ in their lives. "Princess" has a great message of boys needing to treat their girls like "princesses," but the chorus is monotonous once again, and if they wanted to keep this song as serious as it seems, they should have kept the lyrics serious all the way through. The best part that comes in "That's My Jam" is not the group's rappers, but in M.O.C.'s guest rap. "Shake Dem Keys" has a great beat, but the lyrics ruin the entire song. It's a song strictly about shaking keys, clearly written ONLY for concerts.
Overall, the album is made solely for party goers, but even they might see through this album and realize that currently the group has little talent to show. They've ripped off other rappers' ideas, and even used their lyrics sometimes (as in "I Know," where the line "hindsight, it's a beautiful thing" is pulled straight from John Reuben's 2002 album). As they would say in the hip-hop world, there definitely are "wack emcees," and this group definitely falls under that category.- Review date: 7/3/06, written by Justin Mabee
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