Change is the only constant. But, that change operates in really interesting ways; it doesn’t always have to go forward, it can also appear to go backwards. While newer artists either irritate or innovate, the Divine Suns take it back to the essence of Hip-Hop with their new release, Real Life Rap.
Produced entirely by Encornelious bka Encore, Real Life Rap, is a nostalgic romp into the times where beats and lyrics were king. It represents a maturity and focus, due in part, to Dan Johns and Plex Long sharing duties of dueling MC’s. Much like Conscious & Cadillac, Real Life Rap can be viewed as a concept album, tightly crafted with intentionality and a keen ear to time and track placement.
Pulsar ominously invites the listener into the arena with two seasoned gladiators. The volley of bars are almost effortless, as is the way each emcee bounces atop the beat. This scene is repeated many times throughout the album: no choruses, no sugary vocals: only heavy lyricism. Fathers and Suns, for example, plays like a soulful relay race with The Hunchpunch Champ and Akshun aggressively handling the mic and the duality of the song’s title. Encornelious’ classic chops, paired with lush keys and strings create a soundscape with appropriate space for each bar to hit with resonating power. While Steve Kerr and Core Horsemen toe the line of lyrical bravado, songs like Trust No One and Gave You Voice reveal an introspective analysis of the power of Hip Hop and the purpose of the album. This truly is Real Life Rap.
There is also a slightly subtle reason behind the timing of the project. This political season has been rife with mud-slinging and negative propaganda. The masses have been divided into two warring factions. Artistically, Real Life Rap represents a call for unity. While still a Divine Suns project, the leadership and collaborative effort of Dan Johns and Plex Long are centerstage. The supporting efforts of fellow Suns, Black Box, and Magnum Opus affiliates combine to form a cohesive and purposed product.
So, treat yourself. Whether Blue or Red, Donkey or Elephant, there is something on this project for you. Ease your Indignation in the reality that there is not a currently scheduled Apocalypse. Neither she nor he will send the nation into a tailspin.
The old heads say, “Don’t talk about it, be about it,” with Real Life Rap, Divine Suns are about that business of upholding a time-honored American tradition: the rights and responsibilities of our voice.