Chicago's Gilead 7 begins this album with 'Rules Of Darkroom', a track of hard old skool drums and an extremely noisy Scottish vibe thanks to the awfully loud and annoying bagpipes which are even more of an annoyance for being balanced to only the right speaker. The rhyming on top is pretty lose but the beat is of such an aquired taste that it doesn't leave much room for reflections on the vocals. Things improve with 'Star' featuring Listener. The production is relaxed and of a typical underground vibe. The rapper, that can now be listened to with ease, has a cool expressive and slightly conversational style which he uses to drop solid sets of words.
'Lonely' is an emotive, perhaps spoken word approach with a really laid back beat care of Wu-Tang's 5th Element. 'Art Institute' is another laid back highlight with a quite understated beat on which Gilead 7's rapping ability shows itself in its best light. 'Evil Laughter' has a drawn out intro and a pretty dull drum pattern but uses some cool piano and strings throughout the track that Gilead crams many lyrics into. 'The Message' begins with some sampled in dialogue which builds a pretty strong atmosphere. Once the track's in full flow it's perhaps one of the better head nodding moments of the album. 'Overtime' featuring Lord 360 has a slightly faster tempo to the earlier tracks which is refreshing, whilst the last four songs, besides the almost DnB number 'Solinari', drag the LP listen out a little too much and don't provide much entertainment, unless that is you like the rappers style which is pretty samey throughout the whole project.
Overall, this certainly isn't a weak effort, but isn't going to be to everyone's tastes. At points tracks require a couple of rewinds to get a strong grasp of what topic the rapper's trying to explore, whilst the beats vary from a mixed bag of the unlistenable, to dull, to dope. For more information check out www.reservedrecords.com