Hip Hop Album Reviews (05/2017)

Asylum

ASYLUM

Maniak10 - Asylum (Front Cover)

An album by Maniak10

Review presented by Warren Peace

Listen to “Asylum” by Maniak10

Any artist(s) interested in having a review done should check out the offers provided by The Write Reviews or contact The Write Reviews.


THE INTRO

Mr. Trevor Michaels and I have discussed several different topics when it comes to hip hop, from the music itself to plans for expanding the reach of our brands. When he finally brought me an album on his label’s behalf to review, I cannot deny the fact that I was eager to hear what was in store. Well this is that very album, titled Asylum by the artist known as Maniak10, and these are my thoughts on the project…


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THE ALBUM

1- Dangerous Fly

You can hear Maniak10’s accent within the hook that opens the album. It isn’t so thick that American hip hop heads will have a hard time distinguishing the words, but it is thick enough to make listeners take notice, which is something I appreciate because it proves hip hop is truly a worldwide movement. The cleverly written hook uses repetition to effectively stick with listeners. His multiple rhyme schemes are on point, causing his flow to come across smoothly. Both of the verses showcase several elements of lyricism well as he bombards the beat and challenges emcees to prove he doesn’t have a place in hip hop or, at least, prove they deserve to have a place of their own. Maniak10 has my attention with this opening track, successfully landing a Featured Track for Asylum to start the project.

2- Hip Hop

Just in case American hip hop fans question Maniak10’s appreciation of the culture and history, he makes a smart move by paying homage in the second track of the album. Of course the best way he could do this would be to explain how he became interested in hip hop and speaking about his personal connection instead of rapping about articles he’s read, and he does exactly that. The hook, consisting of well-known lyrics from famous artists being combined through the scratching of a turntablist. Maniak10 uses a little bit of a storytelling approach, mixes in some imagery, and even mentions some of the elements behind writing lyrics. Two tracks into the album and both have hit the Featured Tracks list.

3- Get Gone

This one goes out to those that have judged a verse but have never penned a rap. I guess it’s a good thing that I’ve penned several thousand in my life because judging is exactly why I’m here. He continues using multiple syllable rhyme schemes effectively for a smooth flow. The message comes across clearly, but I feel his punchlines aren’t as hard hitting as he had hoped they would be. Solid track overall.

4- Till You Know

So far the instrumentals haven’t really been my cup of tea. This one takes Maniak10 back to his younger years and has some great imagery. He says he is letting us know who he is but talks about what he’s done and how ‘we’re incredible’ (I’m assuming by ‘we’ that he is talking about his brother’s). Some fantastic multi’s close his verse. An unnamed featured artist takes the second half of the track and doesn’t have nearly as smooth of a flow, but does include some good imagery of his own. The hook leans on repetition to be catchy, but cannot match the effectiveness of this same strategy that the first track had.

5- The End

This track is titled “The End” but we are only halfway through the project. Once again he makes great use of multi’s. I like the intensity of this beat. A couple lines don’t really connect for me. “Turning germs into memories” (who does that?), and comparing a paper plate to a spaceship? While the hook is interesting, it will have a hard time sticking with listeners. I feel he tried too hard to keep the multi’s going in this one, although I found it clever how he called out several different groups of people during the course of the track.

6- Don’t Need Nothing

I hate how particular I can be sometimes, such as when a line in a song is ineffective to me because it isn’t as clear as it should be. “Feeling like a dog barking” could mean a hundred different things, because dogs bark for a hundred different reasons. In this case, growl would have been a more proper term. This is what I call ‘sacrificing content for the sake of flowing’- any time you begin rhyming just to keep the rhyme scheme going, the content typically begins to suffer. You never want that. If you must, switch it up and change the rhyme scheme. The flow ends up becoming lost around the one minute mark anyway. Maniak10’s verse is head and shoulders above e erything else.

7- Illusions

The hook comes together nicely, but the title of the track might be a little more fitting than anticipated. This is beginning to feel more like a collaborative album than a solo project from Maniak10. Once again, Maniak10 stands out like Donald Trump in the Middle East (but in a good way). The multiple rhyme schemes from the featured artist are much better, though. Also, I feel like the content of the songs are starting to run together.

8- We Ain’t Stopping

We have the same subject matter yet again, but this time it is presented differently enough to separate this track from the others. I do feel the hook should have tied in a more fierce, aggressive tone behind the delivery. Maniak10 throws some notably solid punchlines here, and the flow is dope like drugs inserted intravenously. The Featured Tracks list hasn’t been forgotten after all.

9- Broken Poetry

The woman’s voice on the hook is a welcomed change of pace for the album. The content could have gone many different ways yet Maniak10 and the unnamed featured artist choose to use an all-out lyrical approach, or do they? I’m not even sure if they know the answer to that question.

10- Wycombe’s Doors

My favorite instrumentals of the album, hands down, can be found on the closing track of Asylum. If you had to bet your life on the angle of approach used by the emcees, or what this song’s content contains, I have no doubt whatsoever that you wouldn’t die today. Maniak10 should probably have taken the last verse of this one, since it is his album. Or is it?


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FEATURED TRACKS

Dangerous Fly, Hip Hop, and Wycombe’s Doors


THE WRITE UP

The first two tracks were strong enough to make me an instant fan of Maniak10. Unfortunately, the rest of an album made me feel like I was a bit baited afterward. If I hadn’t been told differently when this album was submitted for review, I would believe this to be a collaborative project by the time I finished hearing everything. Overall, Maniak10 is impressive as an emcee but would benefit by including more personal material on his next project. More often than not, featured verses brought the caliber of a track down instead of maintaining it’s level or bringing it up. To be quite frankly, Maniak10 would have benefitted Asylum more in its entirety if he had stayed solo throughout the project. Regardless, Maniak10 has still acquired a new fan and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for his next release.


STAR STATUS

🌟 🌟 .5

(2.5 out of 5 stars)


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