Deepspace 5 never slows down. Though it's been five years since their last label release (which was their final with Gotee Records), they haven't really been out of the studio. They did the raps on Beat Rabbi's project Deepspace5oul; they made an album called Bake Sale, the profits of which went toward their upcoming studio album; and they borrowed some unused Jay-Z beats to create an impromptu mixtape called The Blueprint 3 Outtakes. Now the hip hop crew is with Mega Royal Records, with whom they're releasing The Future Ain't What It Used To Be.
Deepspace 5 successfully evolves with each consecutive release (with or without a label). With their last release being The Blueprint 3 Outtakes, some of the style used on that album seems to have carried over onto The Future..., bearing the New York-style hip hop beats like that of Jay-Z. Rest assured, it's still Deepspace 5. But it almost seems the crew's two DJs, Dust and Beat Rabbi, took the beats into more raw and gritty territory. The first actual song on The Future..., "From the Outside" (for which they also recorded a music video) is a good example. While Alex Goose did a good job with the beats on The Blueprint 3 Outtakes, I think Dust does it better. Plus, "From the Outside" features all of the emcees of DS5 throwing in their two cents, starting in similar fashion to DS5's last studio album Unique, Just Like Everyone Else. The beat and music of "Black Magic" and "Punch Drunk" seem like tributes to old school hip hop like Run DMC and the '80s Beastie Boys. "Natural Selection" and "All You Can Eat" also have slight throwback feels to the beats as well. With the older style beats, and even the verbal references to the old school here and there, it's apparent that Deepspace 5 has the appropriate appreciation for the forerunners of the genre.
It's refreshing to hear that the Deepspace 5 members' faiths carried over to their Mega Royal Records debut with them. The most prominent example is the second-to-last song, "And It Was Good." The entire song is a hip hop recounting of the seven days of creation. It's got a more mellow beat, with each verse representing one day of creation. Before each verse there's a clip of a pastor's sermon saying what God created on the verse's respective day, followed by a different rapper spitting about that day. Each verse ends with Listener saying "[number of days] down and He saw that it was good." It's seven minutes long, but it's not one of those songs that drags out the seven minutes. It's a definite highlight to the album.
Of the emcees in this supergroup, it's Playdough and Manchild that are arguably the most recognizable and most popular (Playdough as a solo artist and Manchild as the emcee for Mars ILL). And while it's plain to see why, as they're incredibly talented rappers, the crew also has some underrated talent. Sivion, Sev Statik, Freddie Bruno and sintax.the.terrific all seem to get better with each new Deepspace 5 album. On Unique... they only came off as alright. But The Future... showcases them as having somewhat cleaner flows, giving me the urge to check out their solo stuff (as each member of the group has his own solo career as well). One of the members I always seemed to be very pleased with though is Listener. His style is different, as it's not so much flowing as it is just on-time poetry set to hip hop beats. He shines on any track that he makes an appearance on with his creative lyricism and the melody that he throws in sometimes.
Some artists pump out music like they have nothing else to do, and the quality tends to take a beating. Deepspace 5, on the other hand, seems to be able to put out a lot of raps and be on top of their game each and every time. With all the recent DS5 albums and mixtapes (not to mention most of the emcees having new solo albums out about the same time as the release of The Future...), you may think they're using up all their talent. But this is a crew of extremely talented emcees and DJ's whose passion for hip hop shows. The future may not be what it used to be, but if the future involves Deepspace 5, I can live with it. This is definitely one that hip hop fans should pick up, especially hip hop fans that are becoming more and more disenchanted with the Lil' Wayne's and T.Pain's that are polluting the radio waves these days.- Review date: 7/22/10, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Mega Royal Records
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