Jurassic 5 rapper Marc 7’s debut solo album, Food Clothing & Shelter, which dropped in March of this year, is enjoyable, yet thought-provoking, angry at times, and always heartfelt. Born in New Jersey, Marc 7 moved at the age of 14 to California, perhaps the reason why the sounds of both east and west coast hip-hop scenes can be heard in his album.
A member of J5 for more than 20 years who has recently decided to embark on a solo career, Marc 7 is clearly talented and comfortable rhyming about even the most difficult of topics. The passion in his voice translates easily in the mind’s eye, as long-winded sessions where he just closes his eyes and improvises his heart out. His rhyming is smooth and tight; no glitches can be found in his cadence, no extra words that weigh the entire verse down. Quite the contrary. Every word is well placed and expertly interconnected.
Even when set in lighter melodies and beats, the lyrics are heavy, even bordering at times on a dark side. The album’s socially charged single “I Who Have Nothing” focuses on the injustice and hypocrisy in the world, while keeping a hopeful attitude.
The album opens up with one of many skits peppering the album that place the songs within some context. “Runaway” begins with an upbeat, electronic, 1970s-inspired beat that gives is an old school flavor. It features very smooth rhyming that flows without any glitch. It is a solid opener followed by “Inhale”, another strong track that features an old school vibe from the 1990s. The rhyming is slower but features the same smoothness of its predecessor. Zaakir joins Marc 7 in “Right About Now”; their rhyming weaves and interlocks together in a way that none of the previously set smoothness is lost.
The slower beat of “Blow in the Breeze”, which features Abstract Rude, has a bit of an R&B flavor to it, featuring a mellowness that adds to the overall smoothness of the rhyming. The reggae tones of “Ghetto Streets”, featuring Tippa Irie and Orlando Royal, contrast with the darkness of its lyrics, which discuss the pressures of living in a ghetto.
“I Who Have Nothing” is yet another dark track, set in a calm melody but featuring a significant increase in the tempo of the rhyming. The sharp contrast in beats makes the melody all the more ominous, especially with the addition of a staccato violin in the background and a female voice blanketing the song with an almost quiet, wail-like chant. The contrast seems to mark the fence between hope and despair; one hears at times the potential light at the end of the tunnel in her voice, and other times you hear the darkness of despair in his.
“Sensational”, featuring Akil (Jurassic 5) and Saint Mark 923 also builds off a slow beat; this mellow track is the simplest one of the album with only a couple of layers including the vocals. The closing “Time” is another strong track, the tone of which is set with the plucked guitar and helium-high voice that kick it off.
Featuring great rhyming, a variety of beats and melodies, and clean production, Food Clothing & Shelter is a strong, radio-friendly debut album by Jurassic member Marc 7. The album is available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about Marc 7 is available on his Facebook page.
Pictures provided by Working Brilliantly.
First published here on Blogcritics.