The Left “Gas Mask” Review

I actually had no intention to review this album I was going to just post the bandcamp link and let ya’ll stream it on here. But if after really getting a chance to sit down and absorb the release, I had to review it. This album is easily one of the Top 3 of last year (the other releases being The Roots “How I Got Over” and Sean Little and Wonder Brown “A Love Aphiliated). The Left was released under the Mello Music Group Label (one of my favorite labels, just dumping out classics for us). The Left is made up of Journalist 103 (emcee), Apollo Brown (producer) and DJ Soko (uhhh…..DJ). The trio dropped their debut group album “Gas Mask” and well…..let’s talk about it.

Everything about this album screams classic, from the lyricism of Journalist 103, to the dirty-grimy sample filled production of Apollo Brown. The title track “Gas Mask” is the perfect intro to the album, killer snare track with dark sounding vocal samples. Journalist is an emcee scorned, he’s seen everything and on this track he vents his frustration with the hip hop industry. Apollo and Journalist go together like pancakes and syrup, video games and music, Duke and losing (I’m watching the Sweet 16 as I type this and Duke is losing MWAHAHAHA!!!).

“Binoculars” is my favorite track on this album Journalist covers a wide spectrum of topics on this album. Love, religion, politics, society, hip hop, the ghetto everything and I think “Binoculars” is the defining track of this album. The track allows for introspection and for those that follow my blog, Journalist takes a Sev Statik approach on this track and actually most of the album. Like I said this track combines all of that and Apollo Brown lays down a beat that is perfect for Journalist to drop some knowledge on us.

To explain Journalist with more detail (and without comparisons): Journalist is an emcee that has seen a lot, been through a lot. But at the same time he’s not a cocky emcee, he’s confident. He paints pictures of what he sees in the society around him whether they’re pictures of Detroit or the US as a country. “Chokehold” is a track showcasing the confidence of the Detroit emcee and they even brought Detroit emcee Paradime along to rip his verse.

“Homage” is another one of my favorite tracks on this album. Journalist talks all about the people in his life that have passed away and had an impact on his life. Frank West (a vocalist who I’ve never heard of) kills the hook on this track. Journalist is a versatile emcee and this is yet another subject that the emcee tackles.

“Gas Mask” is a classic period, end of story, if you don’t buy the album after reading this review; I strip you of your title of hip hop fan! I don’t want to at all undermine the work that Apollo Brown put into this album either. I listened to “The Reset” when it came out and thought it was a solid release. But after listening to “Gas Mask” this guy is somebody that we will be listening to for a long time. I’m trying to think, but I believe that Apollo Brown might be the best producer that we have around these days, with “The Reset” “Gas Mask” and his newly released “Clouds” (a dope instrumental project) there’s no reason you shouldn’t be listening to him. “Gas Mask” is a classic so go freaking buy it suckers!

Rating: 5/5 (Classic, period. Buy It The Minute You’re Done Reading This)

BUY THE RECORD IT’S ONLY $7.99!!!

If You Can’t Buy The Album Go And Buy These Songs

  1. Binoculars
  2. Gas Mask
  3. Homage feat. Frank West
  4. Real Detroit feat. Marv Won
  5. How We Live feat. Hassaan Mackey

~ by Michael Stover on June 9, 2011.

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